Building a Legacy
It is my pleasure and privilege to welcome you to OLGC, home of the Kodiaks. We are a vibrant school community with a 57 year history. In the early 1950’s Bishop Francois Morrocco introduced the idea of co-op housing providing average wage earners with opportunities for home ownership. The idea was attractive for many families. By 1955 a group made up of 23 families, bought 23 building lots in Sharon, dug wells and began to build homes along Morton Ave. Each family in the group was entitled to one share and drew lots for the properties.
The men worked regular jobs in Toronto during the day and were expected to put in a minimum of 35 hours per week on the building site. Financing the project was difficult, but ultimately they received funding, and the project took shape. By 1957 many of the homes were either constructed or nearly complete.
At first, the children of these homeowners were bussed to St. John’s in Newmarket. The co-op group, recognizing the need for a Catholic school in Sharon, and the challenges of bussing as well as overcrowding at St. John’s, formed the East Gwillimbury Separate School Board in 1957. Under the direction of a hired contractor, Our Lady of Good Counsel, a two-room school was built for the fall of 1959 and housed a population of 61 students.
Through the early 1960’s the Catholic population continued to expand not only in Sharon, but throughout Whitchurch-Stouffville, as well. Some Catholic elementary school aged children from Whitchurch-Stouffville were bussed to Sharon, so that they may attend Our Lady of Good Counsel School. A school section designated to accommodate overflow was established in 1965, and OLGC was expanded to six classrooms. There was no formal library and there was no gymnasium at this time. The school’s final addition came in 1981 and at that time, a library, gymnasium and 5 new classrooms were added.
In 1967 the E.G. Separate School Board and the Whitchuch-Stouffville School Board united with the Newmarket Group to form the Roman Catholic Separate School Board of Newmarket. Kindergarten to grade 6 students remained at OLGC. Grade 7 and 8 students were organized into gender specific groupings, and the girls went to St. John’s while the boys went to Notre Dame. In 1969, the Roman Catholic Separate School Board of Newmarket was amalgamated into the York Region Roman Catholic Separate School Board. Our students then returned to OLGC and our classes ran from JK to grade 8.
There were no major additions or changes to the daily routine afterward until the early 1990’s when OLGC became a holding school for students who would eventually settle at Good Shepherd in Holland Landing. When Good Shepherd School was opened in 1993 and boundaries were re-assigned Our Lady of Good Counsel returned to its more familiar demographic and has remained constant through to 2010.
Our Lady of Good Counsel currently boasts a student population of 260 students, 32 dedicated, professional staff members and classes from Junior Kindergarten through to grade eight. Our Catholic School Council is active and engaged in all aspects of school life. We are a practicing faith community, and we are proud to be affiliated with St. Elizabeth Seton Parish. We manifest our Christian faith by teaching and inspiring our children to be active, living examples of Christ in the community.
Our support of organizations such as Share Life, ABC for Africa, Free the Children, local food pantries, the Terry Fox Foundation, and the Heart and Stroke Foundation, to name but a few, demonstrate our commitment and concern for others. We live our faith through lessons infused with Gospel values, and our Christian virtues are celebrated through our actions.
Over the past 57 years, the school has consistently been blessed with superb community partnerships, an active parent community, a strong bond between home and church, a dedicated and talented teaching staff, and a thoughtful, engaged student body. Evidence of the many accomplishments are all around us, and all who have had the privilege of being a part of this school community directly or indirectly have much for which to be proud.
The school continues to distinguish itself academically, athletically, and as an active community partner. In April, 2010 and in April of 2014 Our Lady of Good Counsel received the York Region School of Character Award. We are recognized as a school that has systematically developed and sustained character development initiatives that positively impact the climate and culture of the school and the school community.
Our Lady of Good Counsel Catholic School is entering yet another chapter in what has been an exciting journey. Looking at the new coat of paint on the wall, the beautiful tile wall, updated lighting, new landscaping, student decorations, new logo, and time capsule, one cannot help but be impressed, because it is all visually appealing. However, the essence of Our Lady of Good Counsel and its most enduring legacy lies beneath the pretty wrapping and flashy decorations. Our Lady of Good Counsel is about the people who inspire and are inspired; it is about the people who motivate and who are motivated; it is about people on a journey, building a legacy, with a common vision, inspired by Jesus.