Posted 12/10/2013 09:45AM
Snow Day Means Fun and Beauty at Girard College
Although the 2012-13 winter season produced virtually no snow, this winter has already proven to be dramatically different. Today's snowstorm is the second in three days and has turned our campus into a winter wonderland.
Sunday's snowstorm kept our students from returning to school at the usual time, but today's snow was timed just right to cancel classes and turn the already beautiful buildings and grounds into a wet, white playground. Miss Woodie's sixth graders are among many boys and girls who are enjoying one of the joys of childhood: fun in the snow!
Posted 11/13/2013 04:51PM
GIRARD STUDENTS HOLD "VETERANS APPRECIATION DAY"
On Friday, November 8, Girard College Upper School, the Valley Forge Military Academy and the Girard College Alumni Association co-hosted a Veterans Appreciation Day on the campus of Girard College.
The purpose of the event was to allow students and other members of the community to thank veterans for their sacrifices and service to our country.
About a dozen veterans were treated as honored guests, each receiving a certificate of appreciation from the students as well as a standing ovation at the end of a brief assembly. Immediately afterwards, each veteran spent time in classrooms talking more directly and personally to students in grades 7 to 12.
Our visitors enjoyed lunch with students in the school cafeteria and were invited to tour historic Founder's Hall.
Posted 11/11/2013 02:22PM
Girard College Fair is Thursday
Girard College hosted a College Fair for its Upper School students on Thursday, November 14 from 8:30-11:30 a.m. Representatives from more than 40 colleges, universities and three branches of the armed services were available to talk to Girard students in grades 9 through 12 about their post-high school plans.
Girard promotes a strong college-bound culture. Approximately 98 percent of Girard College graduates go on to higher education, and all students have the opportunity to best position themselves for post-secondary educational and career pursuits.
The College Fair is just one piece of the college guidance program that supports the school's mission to prepare scholarship students for advanced education and life as informed, ethical and productive citizens.
The schools that will be represented are:
1. Albright College
2. U.S. Army
3. Bryn Athyn College
4. Bryn Mawr College
5. Cabrini College
6. California University of Pennsylvania
7. Cedar Crest College
8. Chestnut Hill College
9. Community College of Philadelphia
10. East Stroudsburg University of Pennsylvania
11. Franklin and Marshall College
12. Gettysburg College
13. Gwynedd-Mercy College
14. Harcum College
15. Holy Family University
16. Indiana University of Pennsylvania
17. Kutztown University of Pennsylvania
18. Manor College
19. U.S. Marines
20. Moore College of Art and Design
21. Neumann University
22. Rowan University
23. Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey (Camden)
24. Saint Joseph's University
25. Salisbury University
26. Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania
27. Smith College
28. St Vincent College
29. St. John's University (Queens, N.Y.)
30. Temple University
31. University of the Sciences (Philadelphia)
32. U.S. Navy
33. Villanova University
34. West Chester University of Pennsylvania
35. Widener University
36. Wilson College
Posted 10/30/2013 04:13PM
FOUNDER'S HALL WINDOW COMMITTEE BEGINS HISTORIC PROJECT
The Founder's Hall window committee met on Wednesday, October 30, to kick-off a project to restore eight 165-year-old windows on the east side of the first floor.
The committee members are, left to right: Scott Kreilick, Kreilick Conservation, L.L. C.; Jeffrey R. Barr, sub-contractor to Kreilick, a restoration carpenter; Elizabeth Laurent, Director of Historic Resources, Girard College; Clinton Walters, Assistant Controller, Girard Estate; Jon Newton ’56, Chair of the Founder's Keepers committee; and Richard Pavoni, Manager of Campus Operations, Girard College.
This project is supported jointly by a Keystone Historic Preservation grant from the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission and by the GCAA’s (Girard College Alumni Association) “Founder’s Keepers” fund.
The Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission’s 2013 Keystone grants were awarded to assist historical and heritage organizations, museums, and local governments in 20 counties. The $25,000 grant to Founder’s Hall was one of 15 grants awarded at the maximum level and is one of only three grants awarded to Philadelphia sites. The “Founder’s Keepers” fund has provided generous matching dollars to restore as many windows as possible at this time.
The window project is guided by an integrated series of planning documents, culminating in a plan that is specific to Founder’s Hall window preservation, by architect Joseph Sorrentino, Jr., of Vitetta (2008). It is one of an ongoing series of preservation initiatives for Girard’s iconic National Historic Landmark building. These initiatives assure Founder’s Hall can continue to serve the school community, partner with neighboring community organizations and remain open to the general public as a national treasure.
Posted 10/23/2013 02:36PM
Girard College Participates in Philly Photo Day
In early October, Philadelphia Photo Arts Center invited anyone in Philadelphia to take a photo on October 18 for submission to their annual "Philly Photo Day" project.
All submissions will be printed and exhibited at Philadelphia Photo Arts Center between November 14 and December 28. A select few will be made into billboards around the city. Together, the thousands of photos they gather will chronicle a day in the life of Philadelphia.
The entire school community got together on the steps of Founder's Hall early on the 18th to create a photo that includes everyone and also features an historic Philadelphia landmark. Smaller group photos were taken during the day and submitted as well.
Make sure you look for the Girard images when you visit the photo exhibit at 1400 N. American St., #103, Philadelphia.
For more photos of "life at Girard," check out our Photo Galleries on this website.
PHOTO CREDITS: Keith Steininger (top) Brian Penecale (bottom).
Posted 08/01/2013 03:44PM
HOW I SPENT MY SUMMER VACATION
… postcards from Girard College students
All over the U.S., summer break offers students and staff an opportunity to rest and recharge. Typically, family vacations and summer jobs consume time and provide distraction from school-year concerns.
Having passed summer’s “halfway point” (yes, the 12-week summer break was half over on July 26), I thought I’d check in with some of our students to see if they have done anything unusual. Several Girard College students have been in touch, and their experiences have been anything BUT typical!
— Polly Mitchell, Director of Communicaitons
(P.S. If you are a Girard student and have a good summer story to share, contact me!)
CYCLING IN EUROPE
John C. - grade 11
For several years, the Cadence Cycling Foundation (CCF) has been a partner of Girard College, working with our students via the sport of cycling. One of our most active and successful cyclists is Junior John C., and this summer John became CCF's first cyclist to race and ride in Europe.
He is part of the Mid-Atlantic Junior Cycling team that consists of kids ages 12-17, and they are racing in Denmark. John and his teammates compete against cyclists who are their age as well as senior and professional riders up to about age 30 including some who competed in the Tour De France. Coming over as an
international rider, John must race against the "top" cyclists even if it is not an age-specific race; not all races have "junior" events.
The young team also benefits from international racers who serve as mentors and share their own cycling stories.
The primary goal of the international experience is cultural exchange. CCF organizers expect that John’s racing skills will improve, but, more importantly, that he will see and appreciate other cultures and will want to continue to travel and learn about the world. He is, of course, making life long friends from this trip as well.
CAPTION: John C poses on campus during his freshman year.
VICTORY AT LAW CAMP
Brandon D. grade 11
Junior Brandon D. carried a school year experience over into the summer months when he attended the National Bar Association’s Crump Law Camp.
During his sophomore year, Brandon served as timer for Girard’s successful Mock Trial team and liked it enough that he plans to participate as an active team member and team captain next year. One of the volunteer coaches, attorney Nolan Atkinson, suggested that Brandon apply to the Law Camp.
The Law Camp is designed to provide high school students with an enjoyable and comprehensive introduction to the challenges of a legal education. Since only 10 percent of the nation's lawyers are people of color, the primary goal of the Law Camp is to encourage students of color to improve their grades in high school, attend college and enter law school. The National Bar Association (NBA) partners with Howard University School of Law and uses its campus and dorms for the camp.
Brandon spent 10 days working with about 34 other high school-aged students who either had Mock Trial experience or were simply interested in law careers. They learned about the law from the point of view of prosecution and defense and worked as 2-person teams on a fictional case. The Mock Trial competition occurred during last two days of camp. The students were judged as individuals, rather than teams, and Brandon advanced steadily. At the very end, the students competed solo, and four finalists emerged ... including Brandon!
These four students were then invited to attend the NBA convention in Florida where the final competition/trial took place. The winner, of course, was our own Brandon who was awarded a laptop and a college scholarship! Congratulations!
Brandon gained additional experiences while at Law Camp. The entire group went on field trips to meet lawyers in various organizations and hear about their jobs. These trips included Microsoft and the NFL Players Association.
CAPTION: Brandon D. was timer for Girard's victorious 2012-13 Mock Trial team.
LEARNING AND GROWING AT SUMMER CAMP
Georgie S., Lanelle Q. and Tyra G. – recent graduates, Class of 2013
For more than 20 years, Girard College has benefitted from a warm relationship with the directors of Camp Susquehannock, a traditional
sports and adventure-activities camp in Brackney, Pa., not far from Binghamton, N.Y. Founded in 1905, Susquehannock has had many generations of campers from all walks of life and now boasts alumni who live all over the United States and the world.
The relationship with Girard is particularly comfortable because Susquehannock’s program is designed to engender self-reliance, self-confidence, sportsmanship and leadership, a great match to the Core Values of Girard College. Without a doubt, Camp Susquehannock has furthered the personal development of Girard College students who attend each summer.
This year, three Girard grads are at Camp Susquehannock: Georgie S. (11 years at camp), Tyra G. (first year at camp) and Lanelle Q. (fourth year at camp).
“We are proud of all three Girard counselors this year, but particularly of Georgie S.,” says camp director Cannie Shafer, who is coincidentally Girard’s Lower School Academic Dean. “She started as a seven-year-old camper and returned every year, completing the Leader-in-Training season, the Counselor-in-Training season, the Junior Counselor season and is now a full fledged counselor!”
CAPTION: L to R are Georgie S., Tyra G., Shafer and Lanelle Q.
TEACHING ENGLISH IN SPAIN
Charles B. grade 11
On the advice of a friend, Charles applied for a program called Diverbo, a volunteer English language immersion program for Spanish students. He had to pay for his own airfare, but housing, food and travel within the country were all covered by the program.
“It was great!” Charles said. “I met other teenagers from so many countries, made new friends, and helped the Spanish kids to improve their English.”
Charles spent about 10 days in Spain, along with students from countries such as England, Ireland, Switzerland and Scotland who all spoke English to their
native Spanish counterparts, ages 14-17. He enjoyed the setting, a thousand year-old village named Aldeaduero situated in the Salto de Saucelle, a beautiful area that runs along the borders of Spain and Portugal.
“The only thing I didn’t like was the food,” he said. “It was sort of like camp food.”
The English-speaking volunteers also enjoyed two days as tourists in Madrid, where the food was much better and the beautiful buildings are “mind-blowing.”
Charles plans to maintain his new friendships via Facebook and e-mail. He hopes to gain acceptance to the University of Pennsylvania to study nursing and health-care management.
CAPTION: Charles made new friends, including Tamzin from England.
BUILDING A GREENHOUSE IN ECUADOR
Jaesohn M., grade 11
Summer 2013, Stage I: Ecuador
One of about 16 teenagers who volunteered with Lifeworks International, Jaesohn M. worked in Ecuador for three weeks. Lifeworks offers global programs for teens that combine community service with cultural immersion, travel and outdoor adventure.
“It was a great chance to visit another country, to do some good work, and to add something unusual to my college applications,” Jaesohn said.
He also made friends with other students who came from France, Chile, Egypt and China, and who collaborated on numerous projects. In Quito, they painted an elementary school and built a greenhouse. In the Amazon, they removed non-native, invasive lilies from the river.
The accommodations were far from luxurious.
“We stayed in eco-lodges,” he said. “They had limited electricity, no Internet connections and composting toilets.”
Back in Philadelphia, Jaesohn is getting ready for two more trips.
Stage II: Harvard
Jaesohn will attend a week-long leadership program sponsored by People to People.
Stage III: University of California, Berkeley
His final adventure will take Jaesohn to University of California, Berkeley for a LEAD Summer Engineering Institute.
After high school, he hopes to continue learning and growing. I can’t wait to hear from him!
CAPTION: Left, Jaesohn helps to move materials for the new greenhouse. Right, he plays with one of the local children.
Posted 06/20/2013 03:48PM
Philadelphia, June 20, 2013 – The Board of Directors of City Trusts announced today that it will authorize funding that will allow the Class of 2015, which just completed 10th grade, to graduate on schedule from Girard College. The Board’s action follows its decision last week to temporarily suspend Girard’s high school and boarding program effective in September 2014, so that the Girard Residuary Fund, which subsidizes the school’s operations, can grow back to full financial health in the wake of the economic recession.
The plan to temporarily scale back operations at the historic free school in North Philadelphia, if approved by the Orphans’ Court of Philadelphia, is set to take effect as the Class of 2015 would begin its senior year of high school. As part of its continuing effort to develop plans for every individual student impacted by the decision, the Board recognized that scaling back operations would have a disproportionate impact on the senior class, whose 43 members would be least likely to secure alternative high school placements. As a result, Girard’s leaders have been working on a variety of placement options for impacted students, the largest of which is a partnership with Community College of Philadelphia that would allow these students to complete high school by attending classes at Girard in the morning while also earning accelerated college credits at CCP in the afternoon.
The Board’s vote authorizes Girard to pay all costs associated with the CCP program, including: a limited number of teachers for day classes at Girard, as well as the cost of tuition and books at CCP. Students will attend Girard as Day Students only; none will board at Girard during the 2014-2015 academic year. The program is open to every member of Girard’s Class of 2015, and it is expected to cost approximately $500,000 for one year. The Board emphasized that the program is limited only to members of the Class of 2015; in all other respects, the plan to temporarily scale back Girard’s operations will remain in effect.
“The decision to temporarily scale back our operations is very difficult for everyone connected to Girard, but especially for those young men and women who will be seniors when the plan takes effect in September 2014,” said Bernard W. Smalley, head of the Board’s Girard College Committee. “The Board’s action to temporarily scale back operations is the right decision for Girard’s future, because it will allow the Residuary Fund to be replenished more quickly, so that Girard can return to full operation as a 1-12 boarding school.
“At the same time, the Board directed the school’s leaders to investigate other options for the Class of 2015, and this partnership with Community College of Philadelphia is among the most promising of the alternatives because it will allow our students to graduate with a Girard diploma while also earning college credit and reducing the cost of their college careers.
“We are grateful to Community College of Philadelphia, and we appreciate the efforts of Girard’s leaders to develop a program that offers an innovative way to address the problem,” Smalley said. “We also want to thank the students and their families for their patience and willingness to work with us in trying to find the best alternatives for the Class of 2015.”
Posted 06/13/2013 04:20PM
54 SENIORS GRADUATE FROM GIRARD
On Thursday, June 6, 54 seniors graduated from Girard College.
Held in the school's historic Chapel, the commencement ceremony brought several hundred family members and friends to the north Philadelphia campus.
Girard College is a college prep school for academically capable students from families of limited financial resources. 99% of the 2013 graduates have been accepted into a 2-year or 4-year college or university. Scholarships have been awarded to (but are not limited to) the following: Penn State, Temple, Pitt, LaSalle, University of the Arts, University of Delaware, California University of Pennsylvania, Syracuse University, University of Southern California and University of Pennsylvania.
NBC White House correspondent Kristen Welker gave the charge to the graduates. Growing up in the same neighborhood as Girard College, Welker said she identified with the Girard students who were setting out for college in the fall and taking their first steps toward independence. She encouraged the graduates to do three things: (1.) Define their goals, (2.) Confront their fears and (3.) Learn how to move forward after suffering a set-back.
"You have the tools you need for success in college and life," Welker said, "You are prepared. You will succeed. Congratulations!"
Students also spoke to the audience.
Valedictorian Cynterria H. told her classmates never to forget their roots at Girard. Shaykhia W. was the salutatarian and reminded the seniors to give back to Giard: "To whom much is given, much is required." Student Body President Bamidele I. shared class memories and encouraged the students to remember the Five Core Values.
Diplomas were presented by Deans David Ruiz and Kymelle Clark and President Clarence D. Armbrister.
After the ceremony, students and their families enjoyed a reception in the library.
For a list of awards, click here.
To see the Commencement Photo Gallery, click here.
Posted 06/06/2013 04:58PM
AWARDS CHAPEL WAS JUNE 5
The annual Awards Chapel was held on Wednesday, June 5, 2013. Numerous students awards and one staff award were presented. Recognition was bestowed for academic, athletic, civic and personal achievements. For a complete list, click here.