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The Talon

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The Student News Site of Our Lady of Good Counsel High School

The Talon

The Student News Site of Our Lady of Good Counsel High School

The Talon

From Classroom to Career: GC Alumni – An Ongoing Series

Mr. Collins and Mr. Kramer
Tim Mossholder on Unsplash
What draws a student back to teach at their alma mater?

Dive into the pages of nostalgia and achievement as we unveil the compelling stories of our alumni who have transitioned ‘From Classroom to Career.’ Picture this: former students who are now the architects of inspiration within our school walls. This exposé reveals the motivations, echoes of memorable moments, and the blend of personal experiences shaping their teaching methods. Brace yourselves for a riveting narrative beyond the ordinary, offering a glimpse into the profound connections between past and present. Join us as we navigate the corridors of inspiration and advice from these extraordinary individuals, paving the way for current students to create their own remarkable stories.

Navigating the Uncharted Path:

A Teacher’s Evolution from Accidental Beginnings to Inspired Mentorship with Mr. Collins ’82

Mr. Collins (Sydney Holmes ’24)

In the intricate tapestry of life, some find their calling through intentional choices, while others stumble upon it through a series of unexpected events. Mr. Andy Collins is a teacher whose journey from accidental beginnings to inspired mentorship exemplifies the unpredictability of life’s twists and turns.

“I got into teaching quite by accident,” Mr. Collins reveals, recounting the fortuitous sequence of events triggered by a knee injury during college. The injury led him to a small school in Boston on the brink of closure. Seeking guidance, he found himself at Good Counsel, where serendipity was pivotal in his transition from a college athlete to an educator.

Moving from a small public school to the private all-boys atmosphere of Good Counsel marked a significant shift in the quality of conversations within the school. Mr. Collins notes that the atmosphere encouraged more open and intelligent discourse, where teachers treated students as equals, engaging them with the respect and maturity they deserved.

Reflecting on the teachers who left a lasting impact, Mr. Collins fondly mentions Mr. Seel, his English teacher and now mentor, and the legendary Mr. Barry Trick. These educators not only imparted knowledge but instilled a deeper understanding of the world and the transformative power of great literature. Collins remarks, « They taught me what mattered, not just the reading and writing, but what you were reading and writing. Any good English teacher will help you look outward and open yourself to the world around you, and great literature does that. »

Specific classes also played a crucial role in shaping Mr. Collins’s perspective. Brother Daniel Brian’s Modern American Lit and Poetry class, in particular, introduced him to alternative poet E.E. Cummings and a play called “The Zoo Story,” leaving an indelible mark on his worldview as it taught him how to look at the world around him.

English and history emerged as Mr. Collins’s favorite subjects, and these were the very subjects he later taught in his first teaching job. He recalls Mr. Burns, his high school history teacher, who valued individual interests and inspired a genuine desire to learn—a principle Mr. Collins carried into his teaching career.

Beyond academics, Mr. Collins was actively involved in extracurricular activities. He contributed to Falcon News, now known as our very Talon newspaper, and pursued his passion for hockey as a club player outside of school. These diverse experiences enriched his high school years and contributed to his well-rounded outlook on life.

When asked about advice for current high school students, Mr. Collins imparts a profound insight: “Everyone wants your money, or they want your mind and don’t give either cheaply.” His emphasis on looking outward and engaging with the world underscores the importance of overcoming challenges and adapting to different experiences with others.

Despite facing challenges in subjects like math and science, Mr. Collins excelled academically, earning mostly A’s and even studying two languages, French and German, during his high school time. His commitment to learning laid the foundation for his later success in the field of education.

The young Andy Collins witnessed a significant change in location from a cramped 1950s building to a modern facility. The experience felt liberating, akin to a “lab chimp being let out of its cage for the first time.”

Reflecting on his initial goal in high school – getting into college – Mr. Collins emphasizes the importance of personal growth beyond academic achievements. For those considering a teaching career and returning to their alma mater, he advises remembering that students may not share the same enthusiasm or aptitude for the subject. The key is to teach essential skills that will serve them well beyond the classroom.

In essence, Mr. Collins’s journey from accidental teacher to inspired mentor showcases the transformative power of education and the profound impact that dedicated teachers can have on their students’ lives. Through unexpected twists and turns, Mr. Collins found his true calling, leaving an enduring legacy in the hearts and minds of those he has taught.


A Teacher’s Return: Embracing Roots and Building Relationships with Mr. Kramer ’07

Mr. Kramer ’07 (Sydney Holmes ’24)

In the cadence of education, Mr. Kramer shares a humble yet resonant journey from public middle school teaching to Good Counsel. The allure of returning was wrapped in the melody of teaching a more intricate musical repertoire, an invitation extended by the previous band director, encouraged by Mr. Kramer’s strong ties with former teachers and his summers dedicated to the marching band.

Raised in a family of educators, Mr. Kramer drew inspiration from familial footsteps to shape his teaching path. Having been a drum major and contributing to the life team (now Campus Ministry), positive interactions with Good Counsel teachers and leadership roles fueled his budding passion for teaching.

Mr. Kramer found harmony in education by prioritizing fundamentals and fostering positive relationships with students. This approach, rooted in understanding students’ lives, allows for better adaptation and support, creating a connection beyond the classroom.

While Ms. Centrone wasn’t Mr. Kramer’s teacher, her impact on his sisters resonated and inspired his teaching career. Her kindness became a guiding light for him.

Navigating a unique blend of interests, Mr. Kramer found his balance between math and music, carving his identity away from the choir. Participation in music ensembles and taking on the role of Drum Major enriched his high school experience.

Mr. Kramer offers simple yet profound advice for current students: let go of minor grievances and extend a helping hand to others. The beauty of his job lies in the extended relationships with students over four years, creating an environment for growth.

Reflecting on personal connections, Mr. Kramer fondly recalls meeting his best friend in the freshmen year of band, a friendship that withstood the test of time and stood strong as they served as each other’s best men at weddings.

In the heart of Good Counsel, Mr. Kramer appreciates the school’s nurturing of a close-knit community. Despite music not being a primary goal in high school, a last-minute switch led Mr. Kramer to become a music major by junior year. Overcoming self-doubt, he took private lessons with professors, showcasing the transformative power of dedication.

Mr. Kramer imparts practical wisdom for aspiring teachers: build strong relationships with colleagues for a reliable support system and focus on developing interpersonal and intrapersonal skills. His journey from a hesitant music student to a dedicated educator speaks to the quiet strength of following one’s passion and building meaningful connections.

Picture yourself not just as a student but as the architect of your destiny, inspired by the narratives of those who once walked the same halls. Their journeys aren’t just about teaching—they’re about seizing opportunities, defying expectations, and forging bonds that last a lifetime. As you reflect on their experiences, remember that your high school years are a chapter waiting to be written—a journey of self-discovery, growth, and endless possibilities. So, embrace the challenges, chase your dreams, and write your own unforgettable story.