What Gibbons Means to Me – Leo Pawelczyk

When people think of classic bars with a cordial atmosphere, the first thought is usually “Cheers.” Though Gibbons isn’t known as a great place to drink (although some may disagree if it’s before or after the annual Alumni Basketball Game), it is irrefutably a school where “Everybody knows your name.” I proudly made my decision to attend the Cardinal Gibbons School in the fall of 1999.

Even though everyone who’s a young Catholic male in the southeast Baltimore area usually attended Archbishop Curley, I guess I took the road less traveled. Since my first visit to the Fall Open House in November of 1997, I immediately fell in love with Gibbons. I remember my mother stated, “Some of the buildings need a little bit of paint, but other than that, it’s great!” And so I went and shadowed at both respective schools as an eighth grader, but CG completely outperformed Curley. It just reinforced my idea that I would need to attend a small high school similar to the grammar school I previously attended, Father Kolbe. Everything just seemed to fall right into place.

I believe the explanation why I fell in love with Gibbons so much is because I view the school as a microcosm of the American Dream. It is a place where you don’t have to be the most brilliant or the most athletic to become a “somebody.”  The down to earth family atmosphere enveloping the school welcomes everyone through its portals, where a student isn’t simply a number. Unlike some of our rival high schools, Gibbons makes sure elitism and one’s ego are checked at the door. And so it’s only fitting that I attend such a school, where I participated in an eclectic assortment of activities, including student council, the school newspaper, the yearbook, ‘It’s Academic’, High Adventure Club, basketball, football, and Varsity Track and Cross Country. There’s not a doubt in my mind that I would have been afforded the opportunity to engage in so many extracurricular activities at any other institution. Those experiences did not always show up in the win column, but they were instrumental in developing long-term relationships with some truly wonderful people. I am definitely ten times closer to the families and friends I have gained at Gibbons as opposed to any other organization in which I have been involved.

But it was also at Gibbons where I developed as a mature adult and learned the art of time management. It is at CG where I learned firsthand that morally reprehensible actions have drastic consequences. Gibbons held me accountable for my improper decorum when I truly needed it, andinstilled values that carry forth to this day.

Lastly, one of my fondest memories about Gibbons is the principle of starting and ending each day with prayer. It is through the incessant promotion of traditional Catholic values at Cardinal Gibbons that my moral compass has been shaped.  I simply cannot imagine life without Gibbons.  Gibbons is worth fighting for!

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