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Project PRIDE Celebrates 20 Years of Academic Excellence at BMHS
Posted 05/18/2019 03:00PM

Dr. Marco Clark '85, President/CEO of BMHS, and Counselor, Ms. Tia Bell, along with student Giselle Rose '20The Bishop McNamara High School Project PRIDE Program celebrated its twenty year anniversary with a special celebration dinner and awards presentation on Thursday, May 9 in the Andy Mona '82 Student Center. Project PRIDE, established in 1999 as an admissions inclusion program and founded by former President/CEO Mrs. Heather Gossart and former Principal and current President/CEO Dr. Marco Clark '85, seeks to establish and maintain a standard of excellence whereby each student in the Program benefits from learning in an environment incorporated with support, concern, specialized attention and individualized goal setting.

Project PRIDE works with approximately 20 to 25 incoming 9th grade students each year who present one or more significant factors that may impede academic success.  Students in Project PRIDE enroll in summer school and begin with remediation courses in Math, English and Reading. Beginning in July and throughout the school year, students in Project PRIDE receive personal counseling, adjustment counseling, academic counseling, listen to guest speakers, attend workshops and field trips, and participate in team building experiences, which all serve as important components of the program.  Project PRIDE, therefore, instills in each student a drive and a determination to overcome any obstacle or happenstance that would deter him or her from being the absolute best student they can be at Bishop McNamara High School. It is during these years of important preparation, the foundations for self-esteem and success are permeated, enabling future achievements to be realized. As Mrs. Gossart notes, "Project PRIDE is a living testimony to the unlimited potential of young people who are supported, believed in and nurtured in faith, scholarship, leadership, service, and character."  Former BMHS Project PRIDE recipients Brandon Coleman '10 and Angela Noland '04 with Counselor Tia Bell and student Terrance Johnson '21

Project PRIDE has been led by several outstanding moderators throughout its twenty years of existence.  The longest tenured moderator was Ms. LaSandra Hayes, former Dean of Students and Assistant Principal and now current Principal at St. Mary's Catholic School in Landover Hills, MD. Ms. Hayes did a phenomenal job helping students to adjust to Bishop McNamara and taught them many valuable life lessons including the value of perseverance through her guidance and mentorship. Today, the program is led by Ms. Tia Bell, Freshman Counselor, who has brought her loving spirit and captivating personality to the Program and she has made a home for all her students in Project PRIDE.

During the special anniversary celebration, graduates of the program, including Angela Noland '04 and Brandon Coleman '10, spoke about the life lessons that they learned as a member of Project PRIDE and how the values instilled here at Bishop McNamara have continued with them as professionals in social work and athletics.  

Project PRIDE would not be possible without the generous support of a number of financial benefactors who endow the program to enable students to receive the gift of a Bishop McNamara education.  "The Clark Winchole Foundation gave us a seed grant to begin," notes Mrs. Gossart. "Individual donors stepped forward, including more than a dozen of our own teachers and staff - and the rest is history."   Today, Project PRIDE now has 14 scholarships devoted to the program, and more are developed each year thanks to the generosity of the community. Thanks to our generous donors, Project PRIDE has served more than 400 students in its 20 years.  Each graduate of the program has gone on to attend college and as Dr. Clark proudly boasts, "85% are college graduates. During a time in our history nationally when fewer than 45% of those who enter college graduate within eight years, these statistics are truly remarkable."  Thus, Bishop McNamara today is making a special appeal to have more generous benefactors come forward to endow twenty more Project PRIDE scholarships in honor of the program's success these past twenty years. To endow and learn more about Project PRIDE scholarships, please contact Mrs. Sandy Mammano, Director of Development at (301)-735-8401, ext. 295 or via email at   

In all, Bishop McNamara is proud of the success of Project PRIDE during these past twenty years and the School looks forward to it continuing to forward our vision to form empowered leaders, inspired by the Gospel, who transform the world.  

Enjoy a slideshow of the evening's events (Direct Link to Slideshow -


Bishop McNamara High School
6800 Marlboro Pike, Forestville, MD 20747
Phone: 301.735.8401
Fax: 301.735.0934


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