Greatest Good McDonogh Showcase - News & Photos - McDonogh School

News & Photos

Impact of Greatest Good McDonogh on Display at Showcase

Students celebrate after the Greatest Good McDonogh Showcase. See more pictures below.


The incredible social impact work accomplished by students in grades PK-12 during the school year was on display at the second annual Greatest Good McDonogh Showcase on Thursday, May 18 in the Horn Theatre. The culminating event of McDonogh’s signature program demonstrated the students’ understanding of the best practices in service learning, philanthropy, community engagement, and social innovation.

Students spoke enthusiastically to the audience of parents, teachers, and representatives from local non-profit organizations, about how their experiences and the complementary coursework impacted the community.

Among the evening’s special guests was former Board member David Rothschild ’82 who brought the idea of Greatest Good McDonogh to the school. “The purpose of Greatest Good is to integrate service learning, civic engagement, and commitment to others into the curriculum. Greatest Good makes my heart really full,” he said, adding. “It is the embodiment of what a wonderful institution this is.”

Director of Greatest Good McDonogh Bridget Collins ‘90 spoke about the program’s impact saying, “The amount of time, talent and treasure our community has shared with the greater Baltimore community this year is so inspiring.” Greatest Good McDonogh Program Manager Artie Spruill who works directly with students throughout the year explained how the program taught them to be strong nonprofit partners. She said, “We emphasized the importance of asking what organizations need, instead of assuming we know what is best."

Incoming president of the Greatest Good Service Council Jai Bajaj ‘24 said the group lives by and embodies the core value: We give back more than we take, and provides activities for students to engage to help inspire passion for service. He explained that the group collaborates with McDonogh’s various service clubs and provides help to ensure they have a greater impact on our community. Jai concluded his message with another benefit of giving back saying, “Philanthropy also helps us better ourselves. Engaging in service can broaden our horizons and make us appreciate what we have.”

Other speakers included juniors from the Nonfiction Studies in Food Culture and Systems class, as well as representatives from the Eighth Grade Leadership Group. Upperclassmen, Kolby Brown, Alexa Klein, and Jon Salenger spoke about how the literature they studied throughout the year informed their efforts to create solutions for local food-related issues. Earlier in the day they presented their solutions to support the Baltimore Hunger Project. Kolby Brown ’24 acknowledged the scope of hunger in our community and the world and noted, “If there is something that currently seems too big for you to tackle, take that jump because you never know how many lives you have the ability to change.”

Eighth graders Ethan Davies and Alexa Gamber recapped the year and shared their experience collaborating on and learning to write a grant for Bunches of Lunches as well as their efforts to support the Baltimore Humane Society. The group’s faculty advisor, Cathy Schorreck, was recognized for founding and mentoring the Eighth Grade Leadership group for the past 23 years.

The final portion of the showcase was dedicated to the fourth grade’s efforts with Giving Square and the Kids for Kids fund. Over a period of weeks, the students gained an understanding of the challenges faced by children in our community and the nonprofits that address their needs. “The idea is that everyone has a story and that it is our responsibility to make life more fair for others” explained Amy Neugebauer, the founder and Executive Director of The Giving Square. “We humanize the needs of others.”

Through the program, each fourth-grade homeroom had the responsibility of determining which nonprofit would be the recipient of $1,000 to be used for the good of kids in our community. Neugebauer explained why the students were the decision makers saying, “Kids are experts on being kids, they know their community, and they are putting in the hard work.”

The recipients of the $1,000 grants were Roberta’s House (selected by two groups), an organization that offers support to children, teens, and adults grieving the loss of someone they love; The Ronald McDonald House which provides families a safe, comfortable, and free place to stay near the hospitals where their children are being treated; and the Cool Kids Campaign which is devoted to improving the quality of life for kids with cancer, survivors, and their families by focusing on the academic, social, and emotional needs brought on by a cancer diagnosis.

At the end of the showcase, students were presented with lapel pins in recognition of their transformational leadership and contribution to a signature Greatest Good McDonogh impact initiative. Collins concluded the evening by saying, “There is a tremendous joy that comes from serving others and lifting our voices for the things we believe in. To each student in this theater… you are the hope our world needs…your passion, your voice, your love, your intellect, and your incredible joy. Let’s go out into the world and do the greatest possible amount of good!”

Watch the Greatest Good McDonogh Showcase.

(story by Meredith Bower with Cate Hardin '23, photos by Mandy Wolfe)

View Photos