Mary McElroy
McGill-Toolen Class of 2011

By Rachel Robertson, Class of 2012

As a small town girl living in Robertsdale, Mary McElroy has always dreamed of living in the big city, and now she finally has her chance. Accepted to Barnard College in New York City, Mary has certainly made McGill-Toolen proud. Her hard work and leadership are exemplified not only through a rigorous course load but through varsity soccer and multiple clubs as well. Lettering in a varsity sport her junior and senior year, Mary has learned what balancing a schedule really means. Her commute to school takes an hour, and her soccer practice and homework often grow overwhelming. She explains that taking on so many responsibilities has taught her how to discover what is important in life: school, soccer, family, and friends. Even with athletics and academics, she always makes time for a social life. She credits McT for her Catholic education that readies her to face any challenge that may arise in the future. Devoted not only to God but to school as well, Mary serves in the Ambassador Club, National Honor Society, Scholars Bowl, Hi-Q Team, and The McGillian newspaper, using her impressive intellect to give back to McGill. She eagerly accepted the challenge of five AP classes her senior year, ultimately graduating with a 4.17 weighted GPA and 32 on the ACT. Becoming a National Merit Commended Student and voted Ideal Graduate of McT, Mary became the desired student of every college; she received an appointment to the Coast Guard Academy, was accepted to the Honors Program at Boston College, and was accepted to Fordham University where she was offered the Deanís Honor Scholarship. Despite all of her options, Mary was most attracted to Barnard College, where she will attend this upcoming fall majoring in environmental biology.

Grade Level Services



Freshman Issues

Introduction to High School and the Counseling Department:
Students will learn the who, what, why, and when of the McGill-Toolen Catholic High School Department.

High School 101

Preparing for Semester Exams:
Students will be introduced to the McGill-Toolen exam process, learn why exams are so important, and review basic study skills to get prepared.

Pre-Registration for Sophomore Year:
Students will be introduced to registration procedures, the sophomore curriculum, and how it relates to their individual goals.

Considerations for the end of Freshman Year:
Students will take a realistic look at where they are and redefine their goals for the remainder of high school years.

Sophomore Issues

Factors for Consideration
Academic Achievement
Social Maturity
Personal Responsibility
Activities Involvement

Preparing for the PLAN Test:
Through English classes, information is assimilated on physical and mental test preparation, testing strategies, and testing format.

Preparing for Semester Exams:
Students will receive testing schedules and review preparation skills for semester exams.

Review of PLAN Test Results:
Assimilation of test results, interpretation of test results, and use of test results. Also included is an estimation range of ACT scores.

Pre-Registration for Junior Year:
Review of registration procedures, junior curriculum, and placement for specific classes.

Preparing for Upperclassmen Status:
Students will review check their credit status and continue to build a basis for career and college choices.

Junior Issues

Interested students register with their grade level counselor. The PSAT is offered for those Juniors who wish to:

  • Assess their verbal, mathematical, and writing skills
  • Prepare for the SAT
  • Qualify for National Merit Scholarship Cooperation Program

Beginning the College Search:
Group guidance sessions prepare the students for the annual College Fair. These classroom presentations also include discussions of other sources of information available (i.e. websites, reference books) to aid in the college selection process. The aspects of a campus visit, as well as questions for admission counselors are included in these presentations.

Preparing for the ACT/SAT:
Juniors are introduced to the procedure of applying for the ACT and the SAT tests in early spring. Practical suggestions for test preparation and test taking strategies are also covered.

Pre-registration for Senior Courses:
The process and paperwork for senior year registration is discussed in small group sessions. Particular attention is placed on selecting courses needed to complete graduation requirements.

Senior Issues

Completing the College Search:
Group and individual guidance sessions help students to review graduation requirements, cover McGill-Toolen’s college visitation policy, and encourage students to continue ACT and SAT testing. College representatives schedule visits in order for Seniors to learn more about particular schools in which they are interested. Scholarship

Completing College Applications and Preparing for Interviewing:
Advice is given to students’ on filling out college applications, writing essays, and meeting deadlines. Interviewing skills are also reviewed in order for students to feel more at ease during the process.

College Fair:
Seniors who have not decided on a particular school are encouraged to attend the annual College Fair.

Graduation Information:
Graduation Procedures begin being discussed third quarter.

Finalizing Future Plans:
Fourth quarter is spent wrapping up the college application process. Students are instructed on the appropriate ways to accept or decline various college invitations.

Counseling Team - website

Bro. Lee Barker, S.C. - Counselor
B.S. - Spring Hill College
Masters - Loyola, New Orleans, La.
Years in Catholic Education - 55

Ken Bleicher - Junior Counselor
B.S. - University of South Alabama (Psychology)
Masters - University of South Alabama (Community Counseling)
Years in Catholic Education - 7

Robin Brown - Sophomore Counselor
B.S. - University of South Alabama, Elementary Education
Masters - University of South Alabama, School Counseling
Years in Catholic Education - 21

Ellen Falzini - Senior Counselor
B.S.- University of South Alabama (Special Education)
Masters - University of South Alabama (Special Education/Learning Disabled)
Masters - University of South Alabama (School Counseling)
Years in Catholic Education - 33

Cathy Seward - Freshman Counselor
B.S. University of South Alabama
Director of Admissions
Director of Summer School
Moderator of Friends of Exceptional Children/ Ambassadors

Years in Catholic Education - 17