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#4EverZephyrs: Alum Brian Gullickson Reflects on Importance of Co-Curriculars, Making a Difference

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Small Business Owner, SMC Coach Gullickson Reflects on Importance of Co-curricular Activities and Making a Daily Difference
By: Abriela Thiel (’19)

Since the time Alexis (’14) and Katelyn (’17) Gullickson were in elementary school, Brian Gullickson coached his daughters’ softball teams. While Brian’s coaching career started because Katelyn’s softball team needed a coach one year, Brian learned to love the game, and he’s still coaching 14 years later, currently serving as the varsity softball coach at St. Mary Catholic High School for the past eight years.

“I enjoy softball. It’s a great sport. When the sport is played well, it’s a fun sport to watch and a fun sport to participate in,” Brian said.

Although he enjoys the game itself, Brian believes coaches have a unique opportunity to make a difference in young players’ lives.

More than the skills of the game, Brian believes there are life lessons that can be learned.

“It’s about more than just the game; there are life lessons to be taught. There’s one thing I preach to everybody every year – every day make a difference in someone’s day,” Brian said. “Open a door, smile at somebody, say hello.  You teach everybody to do that little bit, and you make a difference in a lot of people’s lives.”

Because of the life lessons that can be learned, Brian believes it is important that all students participate in co-curricular activities, whatever they may be.

Outside of the classroom, Brian believes sports are a real test of character and that teamwork becomes more important, as athletes are in situations that are not always positive, like losing a game.

“Sports prepare you for the real world. You get to learn about wins and losses and working together as a team, while at the same time working on individual things. It helps build character to have to work with people that you may not necessarily always see eye-to-eye with, but you have to find ways to for the betterment of the team,” Brian said.

In addition to coaching softball, Brian is involved in the SMCS community in many other ways. Brian started B&K Landscaping three years ago, which now leads landscaping at the high school and middle school campus. As a person who hates air conditioning and enjoys being outside, Brian loves what he does and likes to say he hasn’t worked a day since starting B&K Landscaping.

With B&K Landscaping, Brian makes it a priority to hire current and former SMC students, with nine SMC alumni currently on his crew.

“They are some of the best employees that I can find. From their education here at school, they are taught the right things to do, the right way to behave and all the stuff that goes with it. I hear compliments from customers all the time about how polite, hardworking, wonderful, how nicely they get along, how efficiently they work […] and it’s because they went to school here and got the education they did,” Brian said.

Through his involvement as a former SMC parent, current coach and employer of many SMC students, he says it is easy to see what sets the SMCS community apart. Brian says the curriculum and faith aspects of SMC are outstanding and help prepare students for the real world, but it is what happens in the greater community that he believes makes SMC especially unique.

“This community’s willingness to give of themselves for the greater good of the Zephyr community is what I think really sets them apart,” Brian said. “I have yet to run into anybody that you ever hear a ‘no’ out of. Everyone is always willing to help wherever they can to make things better.”

As a hole sponsor and supporter of the upcoming Greater Zephyrs Open, Brian says the event is a perfect example of the school community coming together to support students. He emphasized how important it is that students understand how blessed they are to attend or have attended SMC.

“I hope that the kids that go to SMC, whether it’s one year after graduation or 40 years after graduation, will have a moment where they look back and say to themselves, ‘I’m really glad I was in a faith-based education system.’ You suddenly wake up one day and realize how incredibly blessed you are to have this environment to help you grow,” Brian said.