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  • Writer's picturewoehlckejohn

GBO - The Origin Story

Updated: May 31, 2022

As a child, I loved superheroes. I looked forward to Saturday mornings and The Challenge of the Super Friends, delighting in the opportunity to root for Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman as they took on the Legion of Doom. One of the most popular aspects of superhero mythology is the origin story behind each of the superheroes. Many of us can still recall the immortal words of Uncle Ben to Peter Parker, “with great power comes great responsibility”. This counsel directed the formation and value system of Spiderman. GBO has its own origin story of which we are very proud.

GBO was the brainchild of my aunt, Grace Opdyke. Grace and I come from a family of educators. Her path through education began at Gwynedd Mercy College (now Gwynedd Mercy University) and continued at St Paul’s Catholic grade school in Montgomery County. Blessed with the opportunity to start a family and raise four great kids, Kelly Anne, Colleen, Joe, and Matt, Grace temporarily left the profession. As a full-time mom, Grace no longer held the formal title of "teacher," but never ceased to be an educator. After helping the children of a handful of friends who were struggling with their academic work, it dawned on Grace how beneficial a tutoring business could be. She could still be an active participant as the matriarch of her home, taking care of her family’s needs, while also sharing her gifts and abilities to help students accomplish their academic goals.

In the year 2000, GBO began at a dining room table in her home in Worcester Township. Grace never invested in formal advertising (outside of supporting one of the members of our large extended family with an ad in the playbill of a student-centered drama now and again). However, the business grew by leaps and bounds just through word of mouth. More tutors were added to her staff so that GBO could minister to the needs of this growing academic community and she requisitioned office space in Blue Bell, PA. Even though GBO was growing, it never lost sight of the things that make it a unique tutoring company.

At GBO, your child is not another number, another billable hour, or a pathway to a paycheck. Your child is a unique individual full of promise that needs to be unlocked and directed in the pursuit of their goals, whatever those may be. We don’t teach subjects at GBO. We teach students. Often, when we have clients who decided to end a relationship with one of the big cookie-cutter, one-size-fits-all tutoring conglomerates, they will cite that they were drawn to GBO because of the family-oriented nature we project to our client base. We don’t just talk the talk; we walk the walk. Some of my proudest moments as an educator have come when parents of students I’ve tutored reach out to let me know that their children have been accepted to their first-choice college, or they have earned a scholarship to one of our local high schools, or they aced that paper I helped them craft.

When you work as an educator, you come to realize that change is inevitable. Your class is promoted and waiting on deck is a new group of young minds ready to grow and achieve. Our founder of the feast Grace is embracing change. She has successfully completed her Master's degree at Saint Joseph’s University (THWND!) and is currently the Associate Director of College Guidance at Holy Ghost Prep in Bucks County. However, Grace’s newest role as an expert educator is that of Gigi, the grandmother to Caroline, Nate, Theo, and Owen. She is now imparting wisdom and a love for learning to the grandchildren she loves (and of course spoils). Grace is pulling back on the day-to-day operations of a growing business, and I am so very proud and blessed to have been trusted to take her baton and run the next leg of this relay race. I have big plans and big dreams. Like many businesses, we learned much from the Covid shutdowns and were forced to get creative. It was at this moment, that we took our business to an all-virtual platform. This has created efficiency for students, parents, and tutors. We are expanding our offerings and our base of employed tutors. GBO wants to become your first choice for all of your student’s tutoring needs from the time they enter elementary school all the way through to the day they walk in cap and gown down the aisle with their high school classmates.

Despite this expansion and change, we are committed to remembering where we came from. Our values remain the cornerstone of our operation. Your child is not a data point or a customer profile. Your son or daughter is one of “our kids”. We remain invested in their growth. We are committed to being there every step of the way as support in your all-important role as the primary educator of your child. We have Grace to thank for instilling these values in our company. To borrow from the immortal Walt Whitman (Oh Me! Oh Life!), the powerful play goes on and Grace’s verse is the start of an epic worthy of any superhero. Thank you so much, Grace, for your leadership in this labor of love.

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