Every graduating Girard College senior is college bound

Steve Tawa
June 07, 2018 - 3:42 pm
Girard College 2018 graduates

Steve Tawa/KYW Newsradio

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PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — Girard College, the Philadelphia boarding school for disadvantaged, academically capable students in grades 1 through 12, got plenty of media attention heaped on graduating senior Richard Jenkins. Headlines included the phrase "homeless to Harvard." 

"I'm truly grateful and humbled for the opportunity to have been in the limelight," Jenkins said. "But this day isn't about me. It's about all of us."

The 18-year-old valedictorian, spent part of his life bouncing from one homeless shelter to another. At Harvard, on full academic scholarship, he'll major in computer science, focusing on artificial intelligence.

And all this year's graduating seniors have a compelling story to tell. All 18 of them are college bound.

Girard College graduating seniors
Steve Tawa/KYW Newsradio

A student at Girard since second grade, salutatorian Tiffiny Bass, who will be going to Penn State University, thanked her mother for her "persistence and preserverance," after her mom escaped the civil war in her native Liberia.

"What is our legacy going to be?" Bass said. "I am reminded of Stephen Girard's famous quote: 'My deeds must be my life.' Our good deeds will define our lives."

Senior class President Remiah Hughes also entered Girard College as a second grader. She's headed to Drexel University's nursing program, on a full ride, looking to become a pediatric nurse.

"We beat the odds of graduating from a school that was supposed to be closed. What does that say about us? We are resilient, steadfast, powerful ... and most importantly, we are invincible," Hughes said. "Class of 2018, we did it. Hail Girard!"