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What is CC's GDK Program and How Does It Grow Young Men?

Few academic institutions invest in their student’s future or spend time equipping students with the tools they need to build their character and succeed outside of the classroom.  

Catholic Central’s GDK program teaches valuable life lessons to young Shamrocks, helping them grow into future leaders and enhancing their success in the real world after graduation.  

It’s one of the many ways CC goes above and beyond for its students, proving that a young man’s high school years are highly formative and instrumental in shaping his future.  

Read on to learn more about the GDK program at Catholic Central High School, and how it helps turn young men into future fathers, husbands, and leaders.  


What is the GDK Program? 

The Goodness, Discipline, and Knowledge (GDK) program at Catholic Central is a program that teaches valuable life lessons to students in addition to the academic knowledge they already learn in the classroom. Students benefit from learning valuable lessons from qualified men during their formative years instead of figuring it out on their own later in life. 

“The GDK program is meant to articulate what it means to be a man of Catholic Central; to distill the values and virtues of our Christian faith and Catholic identity, and to provide a vision of Character, Service, Influence, and Leadership — here at our school and beyond,” stated Theology Teacher and GDK Program Committee Member, Nick George.  

During the program, students meet twice per month – once, in smaller groups to discuss important topics, and a second time with whole grades in the chapel to hear from leaders within the CC staff and community.  

They also participate in a GDK service day by volunteering at social and service opportunities, such as soup kitchens, homeless shelters, and elderly or veteran assistance, allowing them to practice what they’ve learned in the program.  

Each grade level focuses on a different topic, meant to build on each other over four years. The goal of the program is to send the graduates of Catholic Central out into the world better equipped to handle situations requiring them to be men of character.  


What Do Students Learn in The GDK Program? 

Here is the breakdown of the GDK program by class: 


Freshman: Character 

The first-year level of the program focuses on character. As students are new to CC, this topic allows them to learn what is expected of them as men of Mary, Alama Mater. 

Discussion topics include:  

  • Self-identifying important values and how to demonstrate them in actions 

  • How values relate to character 

  • What values are important for CC men? 

The main topic of character is broken down into several sub-categories and discussions, including: 

  • Success and failure 

  • Honor and respect 

  • Stress 

  • Words and integrity 

  • Goals and habits 

  • Emotions, including gratitude 


Sophomores: Service 

The 10th-grade class learns about service, which is an expansion of developing character they studied the year before.  

Discussion topics and reflections include: 

  • Defining character as taking responsibility for ourselves and people around us 

  • Giving back to our school, families, and beyond 

  • Difference between formal and informal volunteering 

  • Ways to serve your family, teachers, classmates, coaches, and community beyond projects that count for service hours 

  • Personal strengths and passions that contribute to CC and beyond and can be used to give back 

  • Examples of practical, personal, spiritual, and emotional service  

  • Giving back outside of school hours  

Sub-topics and categories include: 

  • Focusing on others 

  • Self-knowledge 

  • Priorities  

  • Relationships 

  • Mental health 

  • Social justice 

  • Friendship 

  • Resilience  


Juniors: Influences 

The 11th grade student body discusses the topic of influence as young men. During this year, students learn how they have a tremendous impact on the school’s culture and surrounding community. 

Discussion topics include: 

  • How to influence our culture and individual brothers for the better 

  • Identifying issues at CC that need to change and developing ways to do something about it  

  • Identifying ways to help others and become more active members of the school and community 

  • How to have a positive impact on others 

Sub-categories of influence include: 

  • How people grow 

  • Culture 

  • College and careers 

  • Conflict 

  • Relationship pitfalls 

  • Family and homelife 

  • Drugs and suicide 

  • Life at work  


Seniors: Leadership 

During their final year at CC, Shamrocks study leadership, preparing them to go out into the world to make a difference.  

Discussion topics include: 

  • How to serve CC by being men of character that influence and invest in younger classmen 

  • Identifying how CC operates as a whole in terms of dedication to seeing results 

  • Identifying the eight cultures and which ones work at CC 

  • Identifying good things that help with achievements and building relationships at CC 

  • How to improve CC’s focus on value and achievements as a championship culture  

Sub-categories include: 

  • Senior leadership 

  • Mentoring 

  • Personality 

  • Sacrifice 

  • Vocation 

  • Moving on 

  • College and beyond 


What is the GDK Service Day? 

The GDK service day is typically held the day before Thanksgiving as an opportunity for students to practice what they learn from discussions in the GDK program.  

Students break off into their grade-level homeroom groups along with two or three faculty members. Some groups are bussed to neighboring communities for volunteer work while other students stay on or near campus to complete projects, deliver to those in need, or complete general community or park cleanups.  

For a list of non-profit organizations and service opportunities CC students typically volunteer at on GDK days, please visit the Catholic Central High School’s service day page.  


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