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Posted 11/21/2016 10:36AM


All students in both third grades participated in a geography exercise using Skype, a video-calling application used around the world.

Girard teachers Kara Freeman and Rebekah Weeks made a connection with another school, and the students in both schools asked questions aimed at determing the other school's geographic location. Skype allows each group to display the image of the other students and to hear them speak.

The students referred to global maps and jotted questions on notepads, conferring as a group before posing their questions, such as:

"Are you north of the equator?"

"Are you in the Eastern part of the continent?"

A cheer went up in the room when Girard students correctly guessed Columbia, South America. But their work was not done. Zeroing in on landmarks such as rivers and mountains, the students had to identify the city: Manizales, Columbia.

Good job, Girard students!

TOP CAPTION: The large screen displays the "other" classroom and students as Girard third-graders work with maps and their teacher to create productive questions.

BOTTOM CAPTION: To control the tempo of questions, each classroom has a sign indicating the status of their thoughtful work.

Posted 11/21/2016 10:15AM


On November 10, several students attended a "Meet Philly" activity called "Night Skies" at the Franklin Institute’s observatory.

The students engaged in hands-on activities related to space, astronomy and cosmology. They visited the fourth- and fifth-floor observatories (note city skyline in background of photos) where they gazed at the craters on the moon, Albireo, Deneb and globular clusters in the constellation Pegasus.

Some students made LED night lights and viewed a model of the Pegasus constellation. The entire group attended a live presentation by Dr. Mark Devlin, professor in the University of Pennsylvania's Department of Physics and Astrophysics, regarding the Balloon-Borne Large-Aperture Sub-Millimeter telescope. They also met Derrick Pitts, Chief Astronomer and Director of the Fels Planetarium at The Franklin Institute, who spoke with the students about the beginning stages of his exploration in astronomy.

Students at Girard College frequently take advantage of their proximity to art museums, the Free Library, the Franklin Institute and many other educational institutions in Philadelphia.

Posted 10/27/2016 11:05AM


On October 20, members of the Girard College World Affairs Council attended the International Career Night sponsored by the World Affairs Council of Philadelphia, where they discussed career and academic choices with Philadelphia-area professionals in a range of fields including government, science, law enforcement, education, business, journalism, volunteerism and international development.


When asked what they learned, Ebony W. (left) said, "I was strongly advised to study a global language."

Daryus W. (far left) said, "Before I went to this event, I knew I was interested in accounting or some other business field, but I was convinced that I could do that on an international level."

The Girard College World Affairs Council brings high school students to numerous workshops, lectures and other events that keep them informed about topics of global importance.
Posted 09/20/2016 03:06PM


Girard College enrollment rose to over 300 in September, up from 269 in the fall of 2015. Following three years of reductions in numbers of students and staff, the entire Girard College community has welcomed this news.

In January, the Board of Directors of City Trusts chose not to appeal the Orphans’ Court decision to deny the board’s recommendation to temporarily suspend the high school and the residential programs. This decision allowed school leaders to make plans for both areas with confidence and renewed energy.

Additionally, the school hired a Vice President of Enrollment Management and Institutional Advancement, Henry Fairfax, formerly Director of Admissions at The Haverford School.

Fairfax made some essential changes when he took the helm in November 2015. He updated the admissions process to align Girard College with other selective independent and private schools. Additionally, Fairfax developed partnerships with local organizations such as A Better Chance to create more sources of feeder programs.

In redesigning the admission process, Fairfax and the rest of his team identified three primary entry points; grades 1, 6 and 9. Focusing on these grades and adjusting the process and schedule have resulted in increased demand and higher selectivity; 302 students enrolled on September 6, of which 1/3 represent brand new families.

“Last year we had 414 applications, and in August of this year we had 819 applications,” said Fairfax. “Our process has become more selective because we have been more strategic and aggressive in our recruiting of mission-appropriate students, and we plan to continue to move in that direction.”

The Will of Stephen Girard directed that “at least 300 students were to be accommodated at the college” each year, and Fairfax aims to honor his legacy.

Posted 08/31/2016 04:31PM


In August, all in-coming Girard College ninth-graders participated in a seven-day experience called "Summer Bridge." Designed to prepare the students for the new Girard High School, Summer Bridge was part orientation, part leadership training and part fun. The students remained on campus overnight, a first-time dormitory experience for our new enrollees.

This program allowed our students to create goals for the upcoming year, to build their skills in academics, to forge a collaborative ninth-grade team, to engage in passion projects and to have fun.

Enrichment activities included creating claymation videos, building a boat, working in the garden and doing yoga. The students spent some time in academic classes for English and math skills, and traveled to sites in the city where they would learn more about the school's founder, Stephen Girard.

Enjoy the photos below. Registration is 5:00 p.m. on Tuesday, September 6, and the academic year begins on Wednesday, September 7.

All in-coming ninth-graders spent seven days at
Summer Bridge this August.
 Among many enrichment activities
were learning yoga ...
 making claymation videos ...
 and boat building.
 Students were exposed to the ninth-grade curriculum
 for part of each day.
 They managed to have a little fun playing kickball
 and going to movie night at the Dell.
 Working in the garden was satisfying.
 It produced a great harvest ...
 that was later sliced and diced ...
 and enjoyed as salad!
Finally, the students traveled to Stephen Girard's farm
in south Philadelphia to learn more about our founder.
They also went to the Philadelphia Museum of Art to see
Mr. Girard's staue at that location.
RAs and students worked together in the Outward Bound experiences. Outward Bound exercises teach us to draw on inner strengths.


Posted 07/20/2016 02:53PM


Girard students are gaining valuable experience in clinical research working full time this summer as paid interns at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. Left to right: India W., Khiyyiel S. and Tiyanna B. are working in the Rader lab studying the "Etiology of HDL Cholesterol."

Good students with a special interest in science, these three young women took college-level classes while still high school juniors or seniors, taking advantage of the dual enrollment program between Girard College and CCP (Community College of Pennsylvania). The summer program at Penn is one more opportunity for increasing their understanding of science and gaining hands-on experience.

India will be a freshman at U Penn in the fall, and Tiyanna will attend the University of Pittsburgh. Khiyyiel will be a senior at Girard College.

Posted 06/13/2016 04:22PM


Girard College promotes a strong college-bound culture.

Year after year, the college/university enrollment rate for Girard College seniors remains consistent at 98%, and our retention rate (the rate of students who stay in college after enrolling) regularly surpasses the national average for first-generation college students.

In the 2015-2016 school year, 100% of the graduating class applied to and were offered admission to at least one college. 26 seniors generated nearly 400 college applications of which 83% of those applications resulted in offers of admission (for an acceptance rate of 83%).

That means that our students are being offered admission to the overwhelming majority of the schools to which they apply. This statistic points to excellent advising.

We congratulate our seniors on their college and university choices:

Cassandre A. – Mount Holyoke College
Christopher B. – Drexel University
Jai’Lyn B. – Pennsylvania State University
Aleem B. – West Chester University
Malik B. – West Chester University
Tiyanna B. – University of Pittsburgh
Aaron C. – Temple University
Te’h F. – West Chester University
Jamoni H. – University of Pennsylvania
Coretta H. – West Chester University
Danielle I. – Pennsylvania State College, Shreyer Honors College
Muqtadir I. – Rutgers University
Sudahn J. – Rutgers University
Jabrea K. – Neumann University
Makayla L. – University of Pittsburgh
Nashawn W. – California University of PA
Omotara O. – University of Albany
Brandon P. – Harrisburg University of Science & Technology
Tennyson R. – West Chester University
Ismail R. – West Chester University
Diana S. – University of Albany
Takira S. – Clark Atlanta University
Kyri S. – Lock Haven University
Mariama T. – Kutztown University
India W. – University of Pennsylvania
Paris W. – Centenary College

To see a nine-year list of schools to which Girard College students were accepted, click here.

Posted 06/13/2016 01:29PM

Alumnus, Author and Academician Spoke at Girard Commencement

Marcus Anthony Hunter, Ph.D. was the Commencement speaker at one of Philadelphia's most historic and unique boarding schools, Girard College, on Thursday, June 9 at 10:00 a.m.

Twenty-six seniors graduated in the Girard Chapel in front of family, friends, teachers, residential advisors and other staff. President Clarence D. Armbrister introduced three student speakers: Jamoni H., Salutatory; India W., Valedictory; and Class President Tiyanna B., Reflections.

Student Body President Reginald M. introduced Dr. Hunter. Hunter, a Girard alumnus of the class of 1999, received his Ph.D. in sociology in 2011 from Northwestern University and is currently a

member of the faculty in the department of African-American Studies at UCLA. Previously, he was a member of the sociology faculty at Yale University where he received the prestigious Poorvu Family Fund Award for teaching excellence.

Hunter's first book, “Black Citymakers: How the Philadelphia Negro Changed Urban America,” revisits the Black Seventh Ward neighborhood immortalized in W.E.B. DuBois’s “The Philadelphia Negro,” to document a century of urban change.

Hunter talked to the students about his experiences at Girard, and told them three things to help them move forward:

  1. Be brave; look beyond what you know.
  2. Be kind; the universe is a circle, and we are all connected.
  3. Be conscious; to BE something you have to DO something. Elevate your consciousness about what you should be doing.

Girard College is an independent, coeducational, college prep boarding school in North Philadelphia. Endowed in the will of Stephen Girard in 1831, Girard College has educated students in grades 1 to 12 since it opened in 1848. All students successfully enrolled at Girard receive full scholarships.

100 percent of the 26 seniors who graduated from Girard College on June 9 have been accepted into a college or university.


Posted 03/04/2016 11:58AM


The north and south doors of Founder's Hall, Girard's most historic building, have been undergoing restoration since last summer. The project is a big one, both literally and in difficulty and importance.

Completed in 1847, Founder's Hall is a National Historic Landmark and considered the finest example of Greek revival architecture in the country. It was the first building completed for our unique school, and the doors are original to the building. Nearly 32 feet tall and 15 feet wide, the doors are made of soft, white pine. Restoring them required the skills of highly trained specialists.

Bruce Bekker, Director of Institutional Giving, and Elizabeth Laurent, Director of Historic Resources, nominated the Founder’s Hall Door Project for a Preservation Alliance for Greater Philadelphia award.

We very recently received the news that this project has been awarded a 2016 Preservation Achievement Grand Jury Award. It “was selected because it stood out as an example of excellence in the field of historic preservation.”

This year's selection jury was comprised of nationally recognized preservation professionals based in New York City, carrying with it an extra distinction for our achievement.

The Founder's Hall project will be highlighted during an awards ceremony in June and publized via regional and social media networks.

The entire experience has been a great example of collaboration between the Board of Directors of City Trusts, Girard College staff, Founder’s Keepers of the GCAA, the Girard Estate, the Project Architect and the Project Contractor staff and subcontractors.

Lead and principal funding for this project was provided by the Girard College Alumni Association’s “Founder’s Keepers” initiative, which made a generous award of over $200,000 and extended considerable planning flexibility to enable this project. Girard College and the Girard Estate provided an additional $28,000 toward project costs, along with extensive staff support for project management.

CAPTION ABOVE: Majestic Founder's Hall, considered the finest example of Greek revival architecture in the country, and its enormous doors.

BELOW: Doors during renovation.


Posted 02/29/2016 11:20AM


A freshman at Girard College, Thelma D. has been enjoying huge success in indoor and outdoor track. 

Most recently, she placed first in the PIAA state championship meet in the 100m dash, breaking a 15-year-old record set by Lauryn Williams, future Olympian. Thelma also placed first in the PIAA state championship meet in the 200m dash, tying the standing record.

Thelma has received a lot of attention for her standout season, particularly because she took part in her first competitive high school meet in January. Additionally, her record has established some impressive rankings as a 100m sprinter:10th internationally and 6th nationally (under 18).

This super-athlete is also a good student at Girard College, the historic college prep boarding school in Philadelphia where she trains with her coach and Girard alumnus, Diamond Woolford, class of 1999.

Scroll to read all of her current stats, and enjoy local press coverage immediately below.

Channel 10 TV

Channel 6 TV


Philadelphia Tribune


2016 STATS:

Season/current best times/distances:

60m – 7.37s

100m – 11.58s

200m – 23.85s


Pennsylvania Track & Field Coaches Association (PTFCA): Girls Athlete of the Year

Current IAAF (international) ranking Girls U18 100m dash – 10th

Current USA ranking Girls (wind legal) 100m dash – 6th

Highlights/records/state titles:

INDOOR Achievements:

  • New Balance National Track Meet – 4th place
  • National Indoor All-American
  • All-Time US Freshman Record – 60m dash (7.37s)
  • Pennsylvania State Champion – 60m dash, PA State Record holder
  • 3rd Place Pennsylvania – 200m dash

OUTDOOR Achievements:

  • PA District 1 AA girls Champion 100m, 200m
  • PA District 1 AA girls record holder 100m – 11.82s, 200m – 23.98s
  • Pennsylvania AA girls State Champion – 100m, 200m
  • Pennsylvania AA girls 100m record (11.58s), tied 200m record (23.85)

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