Posted 01/12/2015 03:51PM
Girard's Mock Trial Students Win Awards at La Salle Tournament
Girard College's Mock Trial Team 2 took part in the La Salle Blue & Gold tournament on January 10 and 11. This is the first year Girard has competed in an invitational Mock Trial event.
The two-day tournament consisted of four rounds, each school trying two rounds as the prosecution and two rounds as the defense. There were 28 teams competing, representing some of the best in the state of Pennsylvania. Girard's team won four out of eight ballots, an impressive achievement for a group with many novice participants. Of the eight students on Team 2, six had no previous Mock Trial experience.
Team 2 members are: Aaron C., Danielle I., Omotara O., Jailyn B., Sabriya U., Muqtadir I., Tiffany B. and Satara P. Two members of Team 1, Tiyanna B. and Reggie M., assisted on Sunday.
Two Girard students walked away with significant awards.
Danielle I. received a Best Attorney award for the Prosecution side of the case, with a score of 19 out of 20. Aaron C. received a Best Witness award for the Prosecution side of the case, with a perfect score of 20 out of 20. They are pictured above.
The attorney and witness awards in this tournament were not like those in other tournaments. In a standard competition, the Best Attorney and Witness from each team are recognized. In this tournament, only a few students from a few teams were recognized with Best Attorney and Witness awards, and they had to rank as the best, not just among their own teammates, but among their competitors. Therefore, with 28 teams competing, Danielle I. and Aaron C. stood out in a crowd of approximately 84 student attorneys and 84 student witnesses.
Round 1 of the standard city competition begins on January 30, 2015 at the Criminal Justice Center, 1301 Filbert Street, downtown Philadelphia. Both Girard teams will compete.
Friends and family are welcome to attend, but all observers must follow the "no logo" rule. To encourage neutral and unbiased judging, team members and audience members may not wear school colors, school attire or clothes that indicate what school they represent.
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
A NATIONAL RECORD 135,000 VOLUNTEERS MAKE IT A "DAY ON" NOT A "DAY OFF" IN THE 20TH ANNUAL GREATER PHILADELPHIA MARTIN LUTHER KING DAY OF SERVICE
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."
Posted 12/03/2014 03:47PM
GIRARD STUDENTS EARN BRONZE AND SILVER AWARDS
At the December Chapel, 16 Girard students were awarded medals for completing the bronze or silver level of the Duke of Edinburgh's Award Program.
These students were praised for working long and hard in four areas:
- community service
- physical recreation
- skills (practical, social, arts, language)
- adventurous journey
Boys and girls ages 14-25 may participate, and each student spends about a year on each level (bronze, silver and gold). High school students often continue to progress into their college years. The program is designed to be individually driven and non-competitive, and it works very well with the Girard College Five Core Values.
In fact, the National Executive Director of the D of E's International Award USA, Josh Randle, agrees. Randle was the Chapel speaker and told the entire student body how similar these values really are.
"Respect, Responsibility, Integrity, Self-Discipline and Compassion: These are the things I learned in the Duke of Edinburgh Award Program," he said.
Prince Philip of England created the Duke of Edinburgh's Award Program in 1959 to assist young Englishmen to acquire skills, improve themselves and increase their self-confidence. Originally, the program was aimed at men who had lost educational, professional and personal growth experiences because they had served in the armed forces during WWII, but it quickly spread to other countries and attracted a wider variety of young men. In the 1970s, women were included as well.
In 2006, the "Dukes" program formally established the Young Americans Challenge, and, in 2009, the Queen's Jubilee Education Foundation (a fund of The Philadelphia Foundation) funded a pilot program at Girard College. Each year, more Girard students sign up for this program, continuously led by Leslie Kase, managing director of the Philadelphia program, and Keith Steininger, Girard's Afterschool Tutorial Coordinator.
Pictured above are the student recipients and their mentors. Far left are Keith Steininger, Josh Randle, and (back left) Andrew Swinney, the CEO of the Philadelphia Foundation. Far right is Girard President Clarence D. Armbrister.
Student Bronze Award winners are:
- Chris B.
- Jailyn B.
- Danielle I.
- Jaeshon M.
- Omotara O.
- Michaela R.
- Diana S.
- Cheyenne S.
- Mariama T.
- India W.
- Paris W.
And two other medalist who were absent because of their college commitments:
The Silver medalists were:
- Andre D.
- Brandon D.
- Christopher M.
- Lashae S.
- Meckell S.
And three other Silver Medalist who were absent because of their college commitments:
- Aaliyah J.
- Nafisah R.
- Saniyyah R.
Posted 11/07/2014 12:45PM
GIRARD COLLEGE STUDENTS HONOR VETERANS
On Friday, November 7, the Girard College Upper School (grades 7-12) welcomed a variety of U.S. military veterans to their classes. This educational program was designed as an in-depth and meaningful way to acknowledge the upcoming Veteran's Day holiday and to learn more about the people who serve and protect all Americans.
Throughout the morning, students learned about different branches of the military, combat and non-combat experiences, and the sacrifices and honor the veterans experience in service to one's country.
Each veteran told his or her own personal story covering periods of time from the 1960s to today. They also shared stories of their friends who served but who are no longer with us. The experiences of Girard alumnus Tom Baggio was shared with our students by Gil McDonald '59. Baggio served during the Viet Nam War. Veteran Brian McGrath shared the story of Travis Manion who died while saving others during the war in Afghanistan. All veterans shared one common theme: The blessings we now have as citizens of this great country were made possible by the many sacrifices of those who served.
"I loved interacting with the young adults at Girard," said MSgt. Sterling Randolph, photo above center. "In addition to telling them my story, I advised them to volunteer and to have a hobby. Your hobby may turn into a job that you love."
"I was glad to have a chance to say 'thank you' to some of the people who protect us," said Jamoni Harris ’16. "And I was so surprised at all of the career options within the military."
Among the visiting vets were Girard alumni and two current staff members, residential advisor Richard Perdomo and music teacher Maria Slowey-Johnson (photo above right).
"One thing I pointed out to the students was the fact that the military stresses a lot of the values we have at Girard," said Johnson, who served in the Army Band and had been an aerial photographer, "such as honesty and loyalty and the Five Core Values."
Girard College holds a program in appreciation of veterans every November.
CAPTION ABOVE: Back row, left to right Scott Hreso, Sterling Randolph, Tennyson Reid ’16; front row Sereinydes Duran ’20, Jamoni Harris ’16, Maria Slowey-Johnson.
CAPTIONS BELOW: Joe Garbarino '71 and Bill Clark '68 talk about a Girard alumnus who was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor.
Gregory Crafton '79 tells his own story.
Michael "Bish" Rieg '64 talks about his fund-raising for veterans Hero Walk.
Posted 10/08/2014 04:40PM
JAZZ GUITARIST SUDLER PLAYS AT GIRARD
On Wednesday, October 8, American jazz musician Monnette Sudler held a clinic with Girard Upper and Lower School students.
Sudler is an American jazz musician, composer and poet. Her primary instrument is the guitar. In her over 30-year career she has performed and recorded with such jazz notables as Grover Washington Jr., Steve Turre, Reggie Workman, Cecil McBee and Hamiet Bluiett; among many others.
Her visit was sponsored by the American Composers Forum as part of their Henry Ossawa Tanner mural and multi-media collaborative which is taking place this month. For this project, called "If You Could Hear These Walls," selected composers wrote pieces of music reflecting the range of emotions as well as the story reflected in murals painted around the city. The compositions are performed live at the site of each mural.
After talking to the students about painter Tanner and his life and works, Sudler worked with them to play and sing an impromptu song about him. She also brought a few students forward to accompany her on piano, guitar and bass guitar.
Girard College is dedicated to promoting the arts for all of its students, grades 1 through 12. This clinic is one of many performances and workshops that will occur throughout the school year.
CAPTION: Jazz guitarist Monnette Sudler (center with guitar), Girard's Director of Music Performance Paul Eaton (far right) and students from the Upper and Lower Schools.
Posted 09/26/2014 01:46PM
GAME OF THE WEEK:
October 29 PJAA tennis championship: Our girls finished 2nd in the entire league!
From student Michaela R.:
"With fire in our eyes and the Penn Jersey Championship in our heads, our varsity girls tennis team went to Wednesday's match with an open mind. Knowing what was at stake, our team members had their game faces on. In order to make it to round two, we had to win against Villa Victoria. Because we hadn't play them during the whole season and because we knew that they are a good team, we realized that it was going to be a fight.
Driven by the title of Penn Jersey Champions, our varsity girls tennis team had a clean sweep against Villa! With only a 15-minute break, we were all back on the court to play against Barrack. Although we didn't beat them last time we faced off against them, we still had hope and kept our head in the game. Each player tried her hardest, even if it was windy or raining. The outcome may not have been what we wanted, but we did come close and put our ALL into each game.
I can honestly say that every player left it all on the court and did an amazing job. On the bright side we can proudly say that we won SECOND PLACE in the Penn Jersey Championship.
I would like to give a special shout-out to all the seniors: Michaela, Michelle, Denahja and Genesis, you all did great this season and have improved from the first day of practice. To the rest of the team, you guys have so much potential, and I know that next year you will earn first place because you all have the skills and determination to do it. To Reggie and Coach, both of you have helped us and have made us better. So we all thank you and appreciate it. Reggie, good luck with your season this year, and coach, good luck with school.
The varsity girls tennis team started off shaky, and some may have even doubted us, but we ended on a high and showed people that when we step on the tennis court, we know what we are doing.
STUDENT-ATHLETE OF THE WEEK:
Kyri S.: Boys Soccer
Late-breaking news: Kyri S. has been named to the tri-county soccer All Star team. The game will be played on November 6th at Delaware Valley Friends School. More details to follow!
Posted 08/01/2014 03:46PM
GIRARD COMMUNITY MOURNS THE PASSING OF MEL DORN
Melvin V. Dorn, champion of social justice and friend to Girard College, died on Monday, July 21.
A living reminder of a pivotal time in our school’s history, Dorn played an active role in the desegregation of Girard College. As a member of the Philadelphia Freedom Fighters, Dorn participated in the Civil Rights protests in the 1960s, working closely with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Philadelphia NAACP (then-) President Cecil B. Moore. Dorn returned frequently to Girard’s campus to speak to current students who are the beneficiaries of his efforts and the efforts of other Civil Rights activists.
On September 11, 2013, the Girard community celebrated the 45th anniversary of the school’s desegregation at a special Chapel event. Many of the first African-American students who enrolled at Girard College in the late 1960s and early 1970s were in attendance, as were several of the Freedom Fighters, including Mel Dorn.
Dorn’s warm smile and energetic personality made him a favorite among Girard students. During the Chapel, he got up on stage with our elementary school choir and sang along with them. Later, at a reception in Founder’s Hall, Dorn spoke quietly to a smaller audience of high school students about his personal experiences during the Civil Rights Movement.
“I count myself lucky to have spent time with Mel Dorn,” said Girard President Clarence D. Armbrister. “He was a reminder to me and to all of our students that one person really can make the world a better place.”
Read Mel Dorn’s obituary from the Philadelphia Inquirer ...
Read Mel Dorn’s obituary from the Philadelphia Tribune ...
Posted 06/06/2014 11:50AM
The Girard College Junior Cavaliers choir sang as part of the dedication ceremony for the new memorial park on 22nd and Market Streets. Mayor Michael Nutter dedicated the park Thursday, June 5, on the site of the Salvation Army building that collapsed one year ago, killing six and injuring 14 people.
One member of the audience wrote to Girard administrators, "The songs sung at the park dedication were a real comfort to me. Please thank all the young people for making a difference.”
Girard College promotes a strong culture of community service and teaches the Five Core Values of Respect, Responsibility, Integrity, Self-Discipline and Compassion.
Choir director Paul Eaton said, "This was a wonderful opportunity for our students to gain performance experience off campus and for members of our greater community to enjoy their talent and joyful energy."
TOP: The Junior Cavaliers choir opened the memorial park dedication. BOTTOM: Mayor Nutter (center, back row) and choir director Paul Eaton (front) posed with members of the grade 4-6 choir.
Posted 03/24/2014 01:10PM
CLARENCE D. ARMBRISTER TO CONTINUE AS GIRARD COLLEGE PRESIDENT
March 24, 2014
The Board of Directors of City Trusts announced that Clarence D. Armbrister, current president of Girard College, has accepted its offer to remain as head of the historic boarding school for an additional three years. Armbrister became Interim President in July 2012, succeeding Autumn Adkins Graves who stepped down after a three-year term.
Originally selected because of his qualifications as an experienced educational administrator, Armbrister was charged with leading the
Girard College community during one of the most difficult periods in its 166-year history.
It was during this time that the Board of Directors of City Trusts completed a comprehensive review of challenges that have affected Girard College in the wake of the global recession, resulting in a recommendation to the Orphan’s Court to temporarily modify the structure of the school while returning the Girard trust to full fiscal health. The court’s decision is pending.
“I have complete confidence in Clay Armbrister’s abilities to serve as president during a time that presents complex economic issues that affect every aspect of Girard College,” said Board President Ronald Donatucci. “I know he will face each challenge without losing sight of our commitment to our mission.”
Armbrister has also steered the school through a multi-year process that brought about the school’s re-accreditation by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools; he supervised a community celebration of the 45th anniversary of the desegregation of Girard College that included participation by several of Girard’s first students of color; and he is overseeing currently the enhancement of the school-wide curriculum and the adoption of the Common Core State Standards.
The former Chief Operating Officer at Temple University and Managing Director of the Philadelphia School District, Armbrister may be remembered most often as the former Chief of Staff (2008-2011) to Mayor Michael A. Nutter, where he led the daily operations of the administration and its 23,000 public employees.
“I am humbled by the confidence that the Board of Directors of City Trusts has shown in me by asking me to continue this most important work,” said Armbrister. “I look forward to working with Chairman Ron Donatucci; Bernard Smalley, Chair of the Girard College Committee; and the other members of the Board who have exhibited to me their strong interest in fulfilling Stephen Girard's directive that the school be available to provide a world-class education to children from families of limited means in perpetuity.”
A lawyer by training, Armbrister is the former Philadelphia City Treasurer (1994 to 1996) who also served as a partner in the Public Finance Department at the Saul Ewing law firm and as an investment banker at UBS, leaving that firm as a Director in 2004 prior to joining Temple University.
A native of Florida, Armbrister is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania and the University of Michigan Law School. A Director and former President of the National Adoption Center and the father of five children, two of whom are currently attending college, Armbrister and his wife Denise, a former member of the Philadelphia School Reform Commission, live in the Overbrook Farms section of Philadelphia.
Founded by Stephen Girard, a pre-eminent early American patriot, businessman and philanthropist, Girard College is a private boarding school that provides free education, room and board for students in grades 1-12 from single parent families. Since 1848, more than 21,000 Girard students have received full scholarships and have lived and learned on its historic, 43-acre campus. Today, Girard is a college prep school with virtually 100 percent of its graduates going on to college or university.