I believe in the power of Stephen Girard’s revolutionary vision, words and deeds.
“My deeds must be my life.” These simple words were his credo and led French born Stephen Girard to a successful career as a mariner, a merchant, and a banker. He was able to build and support the infrastructure of the city of Philadelphia as well as that of the still new and struggling United States of America. However, these career accomplishments would not be enough, so that at his death, he left his entire estate, at the time worth approximately $7 million, to the city of Philadelphia for charitable acts. All of these ideas were revolutionary in their concept. In particular, he wanted to create and sustain a school for orphans. He could have left wonderful monuments to himself but he chose the path of education. His foresight, generous gift and support could and would have a lasting effect on generations of young people and the region. This legacy continues to provide opportunities for many children to be inspired, to discover their potential and to lead productive lives. Stephen Girard was a modern super-hero, with a philanthropic vision to make a true difference.
I believe it is the responsibility and obligation of the current generation of educators, city leaders and those who care about the future, to perpetuate this entrusted vision and mighty deed.
Girard College is indeed a unique place, the brainchild of a unique person, a legacy and inheritance for the city to nurture. The process to educate and to provide opportunity for the underserved must be protected. This charge is ours today to maintain and to continue the work to fulfill. The Girard College of tomorrow continues to focus its efforts on serving qualified students with diverse backgrounds. Our students, even in the elementary and middle school years, demonstrate that they have ability, and are willing to work hard and to learn. The faculty, staff and I believe that there are future generations of Girardians who will learn to live Stephen Girard’s vision and words. They will be moved to support the educational program, because they too will see that it is an investment in the future, their future as a promising young person of our great country.
I look forward to knowing you and working with you and your child and family!
Cannie C. Shafer
Elementary/Middle School Academic Dean
|At Girard College, we strive to challenge our students to grow in their academic abilities and to be college-ready by the end of their time with us.|
Stephen Girard devoted himself to the financial stability of this country and to the education of children, and we are incredibly proud to bear his name and continue his legacy today. Every day, we strive to lead through his example and teach our students to be empathetic and engaged citizens.
Our prestigious beginnings additionally allow us to offer some unique opportunities in education. We conduct research using the thousands of historic accounts and letters from Stephen Girard’s library, and encourage our students to get involved. This historic collection is located in an original building from the 19th century, Founder’s Hall, and represents the economic, political and social climate of the period spanning the middle of the 19th century to the early 20th century. Our students have the opportunity to tangibly compare the issues currently facing our country with the state of affairs when the nation was founded, and feel connected to our collective history.
Our students experience vibrant lessons (both inside our historic buildings, and outside in the neighboring communities) from teachers who spend long hours preparing rich instruction and assessments that guide your child’s learning. These classes are enriched by our proximity to all that greater Philadelphia has to offer. Our location, only eight blocks from the Philadelphia Museum of Art and twelve blocks from Center City, provides us with innumerable opportunities to connect what happens inside the classroom with activities and engagement in the community.
Here, you might fall in love with music, and learn to play an instrument in our spacious music media center, and/or explore the wonders of our universe in Astronomy, and finally learn the purpose of that tricky Oxford comma in our new Stephen Girard Writing Center. Outside of the classroom, you could play soccer, basketball, take a class at a local college, build a boat, learn how to garden, practice public speaking skills in Mock Trial, and participate in an International Summit with the Philadelphia World Affairs organization. Too many choices? Our Advisory program provides you with the personalized attention of an instructor who’s there to help shape an experience that is suited to your needs and interests, and our small learning communities ensure that your voice will be heard. The possibilities are endless!