Girard’s mission is to prepare students for advanced education and life as informed, ethical and productive citizens through a rigorous educational program that promotes intellectual, social and emotional growth.
As of 2004, there were 669 students enrolled, 268 elementary school students (grades 1-5), 211 middle school students (grades 6-8), and 190 high school students (grades 9-12). Girard employs a total of 124 faculty members: 72 academic teachers and 52 residential advisors. It is a residential education program that seeks to provide great academic opportunites to children who would otherwise not be able to afford it.
This provision of the will and others like it led to a number of rumors about the contents of Girard's will. One widely believed but ultimately apocryphal "provision" was that the financier demanded the College be surrounded by a 20-foot wall. To be in absolute compliance with his will, his benefactors built the wall, but sunk it 10 feet below the ground, so it would appear at a less extreme height.
Not part of the School District of Philadelphia, the school was segregated well after Brown v. Board of Education up until it was ordered to desegregate by the Supreme Court. The first African American student was admitted in 1968.
The first female student was admitted as a first grader in the 1980s. Females were gradually integrated into the school over a 12-year period with subsequent new female students only permitted to enroll in the same graduating class as the first female student or a younger class. The first females graduated in 1993. The graduating class of 1996 was the first class to graduate with more females than males.
Marie Hicks, 83, the Rosa Parks of Girard College: Her crusade in the 1960s led to the desegregation of the Phila. school.(Philadelphia, Pennsylvania)(Obituary)
Apr 21, 2007; Byline: Gayle Ronan Sims Apr. 21--Marie Hicks, who in 1965-66 led thousands of pickets, including the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King...