By Cherri Gregg
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The high school and residential program at the historic Girard College are slated to be shut down next year because of depleting funds in the Girard estate.
But parents, alumni, and students are not letting go without a fight. They launched a campaign today to save the high school and residential programs, which are slated for closure at the end of the next school year (see related story).
Members of the Girard College community held signs and chanted outside the historic campus this afternoon, telling stories of their “home away from home.”
“I started here in first grade,” says 1995 graduate Jay West, who helped organize the protest. “Girard College is the backbone of who I am.”
West says supporters will head to court to challenge the closure of the programs, as well as the loss of nearly $100 million from the Girard Residuary Fund.
“The Board of City Trust needs to answer for their investments,” West says.
The Hershey School has offered to accelerate applications for students displaced from Girard, but eighth grader Jamoni Harris had tears in her eyes today as she said she doesn’t want to go anywhere else.
“We’re bonded by this school,” she told KYW Newsradio. “We live here together, we sleep together, we eat together.”
Teacher Jon Gibbons says a compromise would be to keep the school open for the next few years to ensure that students in the high school are not displaced before they graduate.
“They say Girard can survive for another 20 or 25 years,” says Gibbons. “We’re worried about the next four years and about the kids who are already in the high school and residential program.”