A Message from President Armbrister
To the Girard College Family,
Honoring on our mission to develop students who are informed, ethical and productive citizens, we offer numerous activities that allow our young men and women the opportunity to grow intellectually, spiritually and socially. Here are several that have made us proud quite recently.
A group of 15 seniors traveled to Nicaragua with two faculty members in March. The whole group made a presentation to the Upper School student body, and two of these students talked about their experiences to the Board of Directors of City Trusts. It was clear to me that this trip was a milestone for these students, who stepped out of their comfort zones to maneuver through social situations so far from home.
Girard seventh graders are participating in Global Smarts-Model UN Program for the second year. Of the 40-plus Philadelphia-area schools that compete in Model UN, six were chosen to be part of Global Smarts. Grad students from St. Joseph’s University work with the seventh graders from all six schools, helping them to research the assigned topics and write resolutions for the final event in May. At that time, our students must work closely with boys and girls from other schools and support their positions with confidence in front of a large crowd.
University of Pennsylvania students are coaching Upper School students in Public Speaking for the third year. Led by a Penn professor, the college students teach Girard students what makes a good PowerPoint presentation, how to choose an interesting topic and how to engage an audience. Meeting weekly for about two months, the public speaking partnership culminates in a final day of presentations on Penn’s campus in May.
The Girard College World Affairs Council, now in its fourth year, brings Upper School students to speaking events sponsored by the World Affairs Council of Philadelphia. Our students have met world and national leaders and have heard them speak on a tremendous variety of topics. Most recently, Girard students heard Hank Paulson (Secretary of U.S. Treasury from 2006-2009, CEO of Goldman Sachs) speak about how China has become an economic superpower.
Our Mock Trial teams have enjoyed success for four years, and the students engaged in that effort have most certainly grown in poise and confidence as they prepare and present their cases in city-wide competitions. Begun in 2012, the first Girard team competed in the developmental league, won, and then advanced to the competitive league. We now field two teams each year, and have reached the city championships in 2013 and 2014, and the semi-finals in 2015.
We regularly celebrate the accomplishments of the students who are part of the Duke of Edinburgh Award Program, as well as the Boy Scouts in troop 400. As Girard “Dukes” and scouts strive to accomplish their goals, they too grow in confidence and leadership skills.
And finally, Student Body President and senior Brandon Dixon received notification that he is a recipient of a Gates Millennium Scholarship. He is only the second Girard student to be so honored since the scholarship program was established in 2001. From an applicant pool of 57,000 American high school students, Brandon is one of only 1,000 recipients and will benefit from funding for undergraduate, graduate and doctoral education.
I am proud of all of the Girard College students, proud to watch them pursue excellence and proud to see them emerge as are informed, ethical and productive citizens right before my very eyes.
Clarence D. Armbrister