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Posted 01/08/2016 03:18PM

Girard Students were Inducted into the National Honor Society

On Wednesday, January 6, six Girard College students were inducted into the National Honor Society at a special Chapel in their honor. Our proud and talented students are seniors JaiLyn B., Muqtadir I., Makayla L., Ismail R., India W. and sophomore Remiah H.

The National Honor Society (NHS) is the nation's premier organization established to recognize outstanding high school students. More than just an honor roll, NHS serves to recognize those students who have demonstrated excellence in the areas of scholarship, leadership, service and character. These characteristics have been associated with membership in the organization since its beginning in 1921.

The entire student body grades 1-12, staff and parents attended this Chapel to celebrate the academic accomplishments and superlative character of the inductees.

The NHS speaker was Kipp Bradford (left), an entrepreneur, technology consultant, and educator with a passion for making things. He is the founder or co-founder of start-ups in the fields of transportation, consumer products, HVAC, and medical devices, and holds numerous patents for his inventions. Read more about him here ...

Bradford talked to the students about his own ups and downs, the value of persistence, and the importance of character in all aspects of one's life.

The NHS ceremony and Chapel is held once each year in January. Members of the previous group of inductees who have not yet graduated from Girard College serve as hosts and participate in the event.

CAPTION, LEFT TO RIGHT: Clarence D. Armbrister, President of Girard College; Remiah H. inductee; Kipp Bradford, speaker; Tiyanna B. 2015 inductee; Omotara O., 2015 inductee; Makayla L., inductee; Ismail R., inductee; India W., inductee; Muqtadir I., inductee; JaiLyn B., inductee; Colleen Considine, NHS faculty advisor; Barbara Moses, Interim Academic Dean of Upper School; Kymelle Clark, Upper School Residential Dean.



Posted 10/13/2015 04:06PM


The Extended Day Program (EDP) was designed to expose Girard College students to project-based learning opportunities that foster the intellectual, social and physical development of the "whole student."

The Core Areas of Focus are:

  • Wellness
  • Advanced Learning and Academic Support
  • Community Service
  • STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics)
  • Performing Arts

The schedules have been organized by trimester following a pattern that combines:

  • Connections and Community Service
  • Curriculum and STEM
  • Personalization/Expression and Performing Arts
  • Wellness
  • Advanced Learning and Academic Support

The Extended Day Program offerings vary by grade level and core area focus, but the following represent the variety of experiences offered:

  • Community Service: SPCA
  • Community Service: Veterans Multi-Service Center
  • Community Service: Project Home
  • Community Service: GC Garden
  • Community Service: GETS/GCN
  • Swimming instruction and fitness
  • Girard College Big Brother/ Big Sister program
  • Yoga (photo above)
  • Fitness
  • Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts
  • Social Justice and The World Around Me
  • Intramurals (flag football, basketball and net sports)
  • Ethnic Drumming
  • Entrepreneurship classes
  • Life Skills classes
  • Cooking classes
  • Penn Research
  • Mock Trial
  • Dual enrollment classes at the Community College of Philadelphia
  • ACT/PSAT/SAT Prep and Study Skills classes

Recent successful activities are:

  • 1st /2nd graders were matched with their 7th/8th grade big brothers and big sisters
  • 3rd/4th graders wrote letters to local veterans currently residing at the Veteran Multi-Service Center
  • 5th/6th graders participated in the swimming and instruction program
  • 7th and 8th graders learned about entrepreneurship and bullying
  • Lower School students are learning to mediate using yoga
  • Upper and Lower School students cleaned out the Hoop House and have planted seeds in there
  • Upper and Lower School wrote letters to authors of books about hunger and homelessness
  • Upper School students volunteered at the Veterans Multi-Service Center, cleaning furniture that will be donated to local veterans
  • Upper School students were grouped into teams for the cooking program

If you would like to volunteer or get involved with the Girard College Extended Day Program, please reach out to Monet Thomas-Anderson, Extended Day Coordinator.

Posted 10/13/2015 03:22PM


As part of our ongoing commitment to support our students and enrich their educational experiences, Girard College has once again teamed up with The Center of Excellence for Diversity in Health Education and Research in The Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania (UPENN) for test prep, study skills training and a research methodology program.


During the extended-day program (EDP) from 3:30-5:30 p.m., students in grades 9-12 have the chance to improve their test-taking skills through test preparation classes for ACT college entrance assessments and to improve their basic study skills.

Seniors will start an ACT prep course in October, and students in grades 9, 10 and 11 will begin their course in the spring. Both courses will be taught by Kaplan, one of the leading test-prep companies in the nation, and all costs are being covered by the University of Pennsylvania.


Additionally, UPENN’s Center of Excellence for Diversity in Health Education and Research in The Perelman School of Medicine is sponsoring a select few of our 9th-12th grade students to participate in a Health Educational Research Series where the students will learn how to begin to conduct health-related research.

The eight students selected will be mentored by medical school researchers, faculty and students and will learn the concepts required to begin formulating research methodologies on health disparities that impact our community in Philadelphia and across the nation. The program will culminate when our students present a one page concept paper on their proposed research. The students who were selected had to complete an application and an essay to be considered for participation. The group consists of four freshmen, two sophomores and two seniors.

For more information on the partnership, please visit this site.

Posted 06/03/2015 10:54AM

Seventh-Grade Students Wrestle with World Issues

On Thursday, May 21, all seventh-grade students participated in the Model United Nations program at Temple University.

Of the 40-plus Philadelphia-area schools that compete in Model UN, six were chosen to be part of "Global Smarts," and Girard was one of those six. Graduate students from St. Joseph’s University worked with our seventh graders for many weeks, helping them to research the assigned topics and write resolutions for the final event. The international issues were "water scarcity" and "child labor," and our students represented Mexico and South Africa.

On May 21, Girard students worked throughout the day in teams that included boys and girls from other schools. As resolutions were formed, Girard students had to vote, ask clarifying question, stand and support their positions with confidence in front of a large crowd.

"They did a spectaular job, and I'm very proud of each and every one of them," said faculty advisor Bill Gallagher.

Posted 05/19/2015 01:59PM


Hilary Beard – award-winning writer, editor and book collaborator, specializing in health and wellness, self-help, parenting, psychology, spirituality, life and career transitions – inspired 32 seniors and their families at the Upper School Commencement at 10:00 a.m. on Thursday, June 11.

Beard is the co-author of eight books, including: "Mo'ne Davis: Remember My Name: My Life From First Pitch to Game Changer" and the 2015 NAACP Award-winning "Promises Kept: Raising Black Boys to Succeed in School and in Life."

Addressing the crowd, Beard shared her college and career story.

As an artistic girl who loved to write, Beard expected to study art and writing in college. Family and friends redirected her towards majors that were perceived as more practical and that would be more likely to result in steady employment. She heeded their advice, and followed a path that was better understood. But by age 27, she began to feel "stuck."

Beard told the students that some of the obstacles to her own success were internal. She was afraid to try something new. "Do not limit yourself to society's expectations of you or to your own internalized expectations," she advised. "Always have a plan B."

At about that same time, more opportunities opened up for black writers, and she took a "faith walk" towards these opportunities. Although less easily understood by her community, her new career grew and success followed.

"Build a good foundation of skills, and follow your own path," she said. "Stand up for your own dreams."

Beard had some very specific advice for the seniors - many of whom are the first in their families to attend college - about making the most out of their college years.

  • "Participate in every experience fully ... attend meetings, get to know your classmates, join organizations."
  • "Sit in the front one-third of the classroom, preferably in the center ... your physical position in class sends a message that you are here and you are serious."
  • "Start homework and readings immediately after receiving your syllabus ..."
  • "Ask lots of questions in class ... your classmates will view you as a leader."
  • "Schedule meeting with your professors ... develop a relationship with them because soon you will be asking them to write recommendations."
  • "Study in groups ... you will benefit from the group's knowledge."
  • "Practice the 'growth mindset' ... working harder makes you smarter."
  • "Be willing fail sometimes ... it means you have pushed yourself to the limits of your knowledge."
  • "Study abroad ... open your mind to another way of life."
  • "Have a tough skin ... sometimes you have to confront inaccurate assumptions, and other times you have to brush them off and keep moving."

In closing, Beard said, "You will be the leaders of our country, and you need to solve the country's problems. I look forward to living in a world where you run different aspects of our society."

A native of Cleveland, Ohio, Beard now lives in Philadelphia, where she enjoys yoga, swimming and preparing her pipes for her next life, when she hopes to come back as Cassandra Wilson, Liz Wright or Bonnie Raitt. She is active at her church, in her community and as a Princeton University alumna.

WATCH THE COMMENCEMENT VIDEO and heard Beard's speech (also speeches made by valedictorian, salutatorian and class president).

Posted 05/11/2015 05:03PM

Girard Senior Awarded Gates Scholarship

Girard College Senior Brandon Dixon received word that he has been awarded a Gates Millennium Scholarship.

Established in 1999, the Gates Millennium Scholarship (GMS) was designed to support American high school students who are African-American, American Indian/Alaska Native, Asian-American/Pacific Islander or Hispanic-American. Funded by the Bill and Melanie Gates Foundation, the GMS will fill any financial gap for these select recipients as they pursue their undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees. As undergraduates, they may pursue any field of study, but in the master's and doctoral programs, the scholarship recipients must study in one of these academic areas: Computer Science, Education, Engineering, Library Science, Mathematics, Public Health or Science.

This year, 57,000 high school students applied, and 1,000 were selected to receive the GMS. In the Greater Philadelphia Area, only 12 students were so honored. The selection process is based on achievement in the areas of academic success, community service and leadership skills.

Dixon enrolled in Girard College, a grade 1-12 school in North Philadelphia, as a fifth-grader.

"At my previous school, I competed for top academic honors with one other student," Dixon says. "When he went to Girard, I missed the competition, so I followed him here."

Dixon has an extraordinary record of activities during his eight years at Girard. He has been involved in Student Government since his first year at Girard, and he was elected Student Body President at the end of his sophomore year, serving while a Junior and Senior. He helped to structure the current Student Council and its emphasis on community service and student life issues. He has played badminton and tennis, and spent two years on the highly successful Mock Trial team. A Boy Scout for six years, Dixon is now one of the student leaders of the troop.

Academically, Dixon is one of the top students in the senior class and was inducted into the National Honor Society as a sophomore. He was accepted into all 11 of the colleges and universities to which he applied, and has chosen to attend Harvard in the fall. His longterm plans center on politics and eventually becoming President of the United States.

"I am very appreciative of the education and support I got at Girard College," says Dixon. "My college guidance counselor, my teachers, residential advisors and family have been behind me every step of the way."


Posted 03/19/2015 09:54AM



On Wednesday afternoon, March 18, approximately 80 Girard College Upper School students listened to a presentation by Elad Strohmayer, Deputy Consul General of Israel to the Mid-Atlantic Region.

Strohmayer’s visit came one day after the highly anticipated Knesset elections took place in Israel. His presentation served to educate the Girard students about the Israeli government and system of elections.

"In my World Cultures and Religions class, ninth graders have been learning about Israel and Judaism," said Girard social studies teacher Priscilla Kelly, who worked to arrange this event. "We were excited to have the opportunity to learn directly from an Israeli citizen and government official so soon after this historic election."

The students watched a PowerPoint presentation that explained the way Israeli citizens vote, the numerous parties representing myriad interest groups and religious factions, and the roles of the Prime Minister and President. They also learned that election day is a national holiday during which the government makes it easy for all citizens 18 and older to vote.

“Both Israel and the U.S. are committed to essential democratic values such as free and fair elections,” said Strohmayer. “I enjoyed meeting these students and improving their knowledge of Israel and sharing the importance of civic engagement.”

Students came away with a much better understanding of Israel's parliamentary system of government and its election process. Strohmayer made a point to encourage students to engage in the political process here in Philadelphia and to vote when they reach voting age.

The visit is a result of joint collaborations with the Consulate, Girard President Clarence Armbrister, Kelly and Todd Bernstein, CEO of Global Citizen.

Click here for CBS coverage.

CAPTIONS: Top: Ninth graders from Girard College pose with Strohmayer after the presentation.
Bottom left: Strohmayer shows a PowerPoint of the Israeli election system.
Bottom right: Strohmayer, student Remiah H. and teacher Priscilla Kelly.


Posted 01/12/2015 03:51PM

Students Finished as One of Top Teams in City Tournament


Last week, Mock Trial team 2 was eliminated from competition by a very few points. We applaud the effort of everyone involved!

In the words of social studies teacher and Mock Trial faculty advisor Bill Gallagher, "I just hope that all of you know how honored we are at Girard College to have Mock Trial students and coaches as gifted and as talented as you to represent our great school. More importantly, the way that all of you conducted yourselves as we encountered many challenging situations was a perfect example of your high level of sportsmanship, and that is certainly emphasized in this competition. We did win the morning round, but we did not get the final decision we were hoping to receive in the afternoon.


"The Girard Community is so proud of you! Thank you."

Team 2 members are: Aaron C., Danielle I., Omotara O., Jailyn B., Sabriya U., Muqtadir I., Tiffany B. and Satara P.

Posted 01/09/2015 10:49AM

Five Girard College Students were Inducted into National Honor Society

At a special Chapel on Wednesday, January 7, five students were inducted into the Girard College chapter of the National Honor Society. The students were honored in front of an audience consisting of the entire student body, family, friends and staff. Left to right, they are Omotara O., LaShae G.-S., Cheyenne S., Tiyanna B. and Danielle I.

Guest speaker Donald Generals, the sixth President of Community College of Philadelphia, encouraged the new inductees to "share the lessons you have learned on your journey to greatness." Generals referred to Girard's Five Core Values as traits that will serve them well today and in the future.

Students inducted last year welcomed each new member individually, and each of the five students lit a candle as a symbol of their induction.

The National Honor Society (NHS) is the nation's premier organization established to recognize outstanding high school students. Since 1921, NHS has served to honor those students who have demonstrated excellence in the areas of scholarship, leadership, service and character.

NHS chapters are found in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, many U.S. territories, and Canada. Chapter membership not only recognizes students for their accomplishments, but challenges them to develop further through active involvement in school activities and community service.

Posted 12/19/2014 02:05PM


5,000 Volunteer at Girard College as Signature Site

PHILADELPHIA, PA. – A national record 135,000 people of all ages and backgrounds throughout the Philadelphia region volunteered Monday, January 19, in approximately 1,800 service projects in the 20th annual Greater Philadelphia Martin Luther King Day of Service, according to Todd Bernstein, president of Global Citizen and founder and director of the Greater Philadelphia King Day of Service.

The 2015 Greater Philadelphia King Day of Service is again the largest King Day event in the nation and covers Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware. Almost 1,000 individuals participated in the first year in 1996; more than 1.2 million volunteers have participated over the past twenty years.

The national King Day of Service was created in 1994 through federal legislation co-authored by former Pennsylvania U.S. Senator Harris Wofford and Atlanta Congressman John Lewis, both veterans of the Civil Rights movement.

For the sixth consecutive year, Girard College served as the area’s signature site for 150 projects and 5,000 volunteers. Girard’s selection as the signature site coincides this year with the 50th anniversary of Dr. King's visit to the school where he addressed 3,000 protesters demonstrating outside the gates, calling for an end to its then-discriminatory admission policy.

“The Girard College community proudly welcomes thousands of MLK Day volunteers to our campus,” said school president Clarence D. Armbrister. "Established in the will of Stephen Girard, a man who has been described as 'The Father of Philanthropy,' Girard College has brought educational opportunity to generations of young people since its opening in 1848. We have truly epitomized community service for 167 years, and for that reason, we believe it is more than appropriate for our organization to partner with Global Citizen 365 for the MLK Day of Service year after year.

“And this year particularly, we note another point of significance and of connection. 2015 is the 50th anniversary of two momentous events: one is the passing of the Voting Rights Act, the primary theme for this year’s MLK Day of Service. You will hear and see much more about voting as the program continues.

"2015 is also the 50th anniversary of Dr. King’s visit to Girard College.

"In August of 1965, Dr. King spoke to Civil Rights demonstrators who were protesting right outside of our gates. Addressing a crowd of 3,000 people, he brought national attention to the issue of equal opportunities in general and desegregation of Girard College in particular. It would be three more years before the first four boys of color enrolled at Girard, but we all recognize the power of his presence and his words on that day.

"Much has been accomplished in the last 50 years, but much more needs to be done. And I am honored that some of that work is occurring right here," said Armbrister.

The primary theme of this year’s Greater Philadelphia King Day of Service was celebration of the 50th anniversary of the 1965 Voting Rights Act (VRA) outlawing racial discrimination in voting.

“We are celebrating the landmark law that fifty years ago reversed racial discrimination in voting,” said Bernstein. “However, since then some provisions of the Voting Rights Act have been reversed and continue to be challenged around the nation. As we mark this important anniversary, we must find more ways of encouraging voter participation.”

As the signature project at Girard College, encouragement of voter participation was led by Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter, U.S. Senator Bob Casey and other volunteers who worked on:

  • Making “Vote Here” signs in different languages, to be displayed each election day at polling places throughout Philadelphia where English may not be a voter’s first language;
  • Painting murals celebrating the 50th anniversary of the VRA;
  • and packing bags with voter information to be distributed later on King Day in a non-partisan voter registration outreach project in North Philadelphia.

Other projects celebrating the Voting Rights Act and voter empowerment included:

  • Training language interpreters to work at polling places on Election Day.
  • Training high school students and veterans to become poll workers on Election Day.
  • Holding workshops with female elected officials on empowering women to become candidates for elected office.
  • Publicizing "Why I Vote" video testimonials and social media campaign – #WhyIVote.
  • Demonstrating how to use real voting machines.
  • Directing a children’s art project constructing voting machines from cardboard, celebrating voting and the 50th anniversary of the Voting Rights Act.
  • Directing a children’s project making buttons with slogans that inspire voting.
  • Using computers for voter registration.

The King Day of Service hosted its fourth annual Jobs and Opportunity Fair. Five hundred prospective employees met with twenty-four local employers and AmeriCorps national service programs in two sessions. The Jobs Fair included soft skills workshops, such as resume writing, interviewing skills, starting a small business and providing a path to employment for military veterans and ex-offenders.

The Cecil B. Moore Philadelphia Freedom Fighters, the group of men and women who demonstrated in the 1960s at Girard College, held a workshop to share their experiences.

The MLK365 Civic Engagement Expo provided information on the mission and work of more than forty local community organizations and opportunities to volunteer throughout the year.

Girard College Student Council members (photo left) collected warm clothes, personal hygiene products and food for "Homeless Backpacks."

McNeil Consumer Healthcare held a Health and Wellness Fair featuring an American Red Cross blood drive, CPR training, and thirty more organizations providing expert advice, testing, and screening in areas including cholesterol, hypertension, diabetes, sickle cell anemia, HIV/AIDS, nutrition, eating disorders and fitness.

Enon Tabernacle Baptist Church presented a Kid’s Carnival for children ages of 5-12, which included reading stories about Dr. King, "I Have A Dream" mobile-making, a demonstration of voting machines used in real elections, skits on Dr. King and Civil Rights.

The King Day of Service mural painted by students from six area schools was on display. The Philadelphia Mural Arts Program led the annual project in which each school created a 5’ x 6’ canvas mural inspired by a 1957 speech given by Dr. King, “Give Us the Ballot.”

History Making Productions presented a poster, "Deep Roots/Continuing Legacy: Philadelphia in the Struggle for Civil Rights" that chronicles important anniversaries of memorable Civil Rights achievements.

History Making Productions also produced and debuted a short film on Dr. King’s one-day, whirlwind visit to Philadelphia in August 1965, when he led a protest rally outside the gates of Girard College.

The Philadelphia Orchestra performed its 25th annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Tribute Concert in Girard's Chapel as the concluding event at Girard College. This is the second year that the concert was held in our Chapel.

Many, many other projects managed by thousands of other volunteers occurred all over the Greater Philadelphia region.

"Dr. King said, 'Life's persistent and most urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others,’'" said Bernstein. "The selfless action of more than 135,000 citizen volunteers serving today and continuing throughout the year represents a resounding and affirmative answer to Dr. King’s question."

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