Category Archives: What Gibbons Means To Me

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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‘What Gibbons Means to Me’ – Jay Kane, ’10

Over the past four years, Cardinal Gibbons has come to be a place of family and comfort to me. As a member of the Class of 2010, seeing that I may just be one of the last people to graduate from the school, I now truly appreciate everything the place has been to me.

It was earlier this school year, at the Thanksgiving assembly, that I gave a speech to the whole school on the virtue of (you guessed it) thanksgiving. Writing that speech taught me a lot about the very topic. I learned that we take far too much for granted in our lives until we really stop and think about it. Gibbons has been the same way for me.

My speech included a portion where I discussed losing my grandmother and how blessed I had been to have her. We all expect to lose our grandparents, though. Losing my school has affected me so much more out of such unexpected loss, but that doesn’t take away the great blessings I’ve received from my time at Gibbons.

The greatest thing about Gibbons to me has always been its small size and community atmosphere. I know everyone in my class and a rather good number of the students in the other classes. Never can I forget the other part of our community, the teachers and staff. I have always loved how I can walk into the rooms of my teachers after school if I need help, if there are concerns, or if I just want to talk.

Perhaps even more important to making me who I am today is the fact that there is so much diversity at Gibbons. I’m sorry to be so blunt but having African American friends along with white friends has probably made me far less discriminatory than I would have been otherwise. I’ve met awesome people from both races, and when that happens you can’t help but be accepting.

I have wanted to be a teacher since the second grade. Gibbons has been so good to me that it became my dream to come back and teach at Gibbons. I loved the thought of returning to the community, instilling in children the same values and life lessons I learned, and working with some of the men and women who made me into a better person in life.

I can’t express how important the teachers have been to my experience at Gibbons. I surely could have made friends anywhere, but the teachers have always been so open and caring about each individual student. That truly impresses me, sets a standard for me, and will stay with me all of my life.

In the end, I know how lucky I am to graduate from a place like Cardinal Gibbons. I may never have agreed with Jim Malone’s, “The only reason anyone goes to Mount Saint Joe is because they can’t get into Cardinal Gibbons,” but I know that I got so much out of this school and that it would be a wonderful experience for anyone, on par with if not better than any other school a boy can pick.

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‘What Gibbons Means to Me’ – Tim Rose, ’68

Tim Rose, Class of '68

Cardinal Gibbons is not just a school, but an intregal fiber of my life.

Standing for the freshmen homeroom picture out by the flag pole, I remember feeling lost and alone with this group of strangers. I would soon find out that they would not only become friends but a part of my Gibbons family. It was with them that I would try, fail, get up and try again, because that is a part of the Gibbons fiber. Gibbons boys are never alone.

Emotion is a huge part of the Gibbons experience. I cheered the victories, cried at the tragedies, fell in love, and fell out of love. At one point I thought of Gibbons as Toy Land – once you pass its borders you can never return again. On the contary, it never leaves me. I am and will always be a proud Crusader.

Tim Rose
Class of 1968

Tim Rose grew up in Irvington, attended St. Joseph’s Monastery where he was an alter server, avid CYO participant and even a member of the stage club. At Gibbons he played JV football until he was injured and forced to the sidelines. He used the Red Guard as an outlet for school spirit. He was also a member of the Photography and Aeronautics clubs. He worked at the Maryland Shock Trauma unit and has been an OR nurse since 1988. He recently received his private pilot’s license and is ready to take to the air.

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‘What Gibbons Means to Me’ – Michael Broache, ’73

I guess the best way to explain what Cardinal Gibbons means to me is to share the impact of Gibbons on the key events in my life. I come from a family of five Gibbons graduates, including my son.

The education at Cardinal Gibbons is second to none. Beyond the academic environment Cardinal Gibbons provided, the opportunity to develop confidence, leadership and many life skills that I use every day. I was involved in many extracurricular activities and very seldom went home on the regular bus as there was always something to do after classes ended.

I graduated from Cardinal Gibbons in 1973 and went on to attend UMBC where I graduated with a BA in Economics and Accounting. I was the first Accounting graduate from UMBC. Cardinal Gibbons provided me the confidence, work ethic, structure, and time management skills that allowed me to succeed in college, blaze new trails, pass the CPA exam without the aid of a review course, and land good career opportunities. The skills to accomplish the impossible and the attitude that anything can be attained through hard work that were taught by my parents and reinforced by faculty and staff during my time at Gibbons, have followed me through my career in places like BGE, Zurich North America and currently the City of Baltimore as Chief Accounting Officer.

In 1976 I was married to the girl of my dreams in the Weber House by Fr. Richard Kuhn, a Marianist priest who was an advisor during my time at Gibbons. We have been married for almost 34 years. Continue reading


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‘What Gibbons Means To Me’ – Wayne McDowell, ’67

Wayne McDowell, '67, receives 'Businessman of the Year' award from the Catonsville Chamber of Commerce

This is the first in a series of stories written by those whose lives have been impacted by The Cardinal Gibbons School.

I was very fortunate to be able to go to Gibbons during the first 10 years when the Archdiocese subsidized each student by almost 50 percent of the real cost of tuition. Gibbons was $125 and St. Joe was approximately $250. It was tough to get in and at one time there were well over 1100 students at the school from all neighborhoods in and around the city.

The faculty of Marianist Brothers, lay teachers and coaches were outstanding and very dedicated to their mission of Catholic Education in mind, body, and most importantly, spirit. Continue reading

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