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Cecil County Life

‘Be who you are, and be that well’

Jun 29, 2022 02:10PM ● By Tricia Hoadley
Photos by Jim Coarse
Text by Richard L. Gaw

What began as the dream of Father William R. Couming 64 years ago to bring Catholic education to the young people of Cecil and Harford counties is today a dream realized.

Over the past eight decades, Good Shepherd Catholic School has grown from two classes taught by two nuns to a community of 90 students who receive an education grounded in the principles of the Catholic faith.

The magic of Good Shepherd Catholic School begins with its dedicated staff of 20 educators and the support of parishioners, friends and family and extends to a comprehensive curriculum that combines a modern education with the principles of faith, socialization and service.

“Seeing us in action is the best way to feel the best part of our school -- our community,” said Principal Jenifer Pileggi. “Our mission is to build a safe and nurturing environment, where our educators care for their students like they are their own, and parent involvement is very high. Within the framework of this community, we give our students what they need to succeed.”

Beyond the classroom interaction they have with their educators, Good Shepherd Catholic School students participate in annual events like Christmas bazaars, silent auctions, spaghetti dinners, Strawberry festivals and field days, geography and spelling bees and band concerts. They work together – older students assist younger students through a “buddy program” and provide after-school tutoring. From a young age, students develop their public speaking skills and embrace their faith through class prayer services, honors breakfasts, sacramental preparation and charitable outreach efforts.

“Because we have small class sizes, we are able to give a lot of one-on-one attention to our students, and they receive a lot of hands-on learning, so they get to experience what they are learning instead of just reading about it,” Pileggi said. “With the help of funding, we have been able to improve the technology we bring to each classroom.

“We also get to incorporate faith into our daily routine as well, which helps provide a nurturing environment.

If there is a spiritual guidepost that underlies the mission of Good Shepherd Catholic School, it can be found in a quote by Saint Francis De Sales, the patron saint of the diocese the school belongs to.

Be who you are and be that well.

The quote is on the signature line of Pileggi’s e-mail.

“It is what I also want our students to embrace,” she said. “A Good Shepherd graduate is well-rounded academically, socially and spiritually, and I want them to take those skills with them to the next level and be confident enough to use them and be successful as they continue through their life.”

Good Shepherd Catholic School is located at 800 Aiken Avenue in Perryville. To learn more, visit

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