In a fund-raising effort, Girard College is urging people to walk through the high stone wall that surrounds the school's 43-acre campus in North Philadelphia.

The private boarding school at 2101 South College Ave. will host a walk-a-thon entitled "Walk Through a Wall for Girard" on Sunday at 9 a.m. The walk-a-thon will take place around the outside of the wall and on the campus.
"We're doing this to help cover our expenses of providing our students with a full scholarship," said Autumn Adkins Graves, president of the school for children in grades 1-12. She said the school provides its 603 students with meals, uniforms, books and all other needs on campus.

"We provide everything because all of our students come from families struggling with issues of poverty," said Graves, noting the weakened ecomony. Declining to say what it costs to send a student to the school, Graves said the costs are "in the same range as other boarding schools."

Graves said goal was to raise about $50,000 and that pledges have been received from 150 people for about $40,000. She said the the majority of the school's budget comes from the estate of Stephen Girard, the businessman who founded the school.

"Historically the school has been very much kind of behind the walI," Graves said. "I have been making a lot of efforts to get the community more involved in our school and having people come through these walls. I also wanted the kids to get involved in fund-raising in the community as well as for people to see that this is really a school for Philadelphia," Graves said.

Malik Ray, 17, a junior from South Philadelphia who has been at Girard College since fourth grade, said, "I think it's really important for the students to be involved in the planning and actually walk. It's important for the students to know about giving back for what we're receiving."

For more information about the walk-a-thon, call 215-787-2600 or visit