Students describe governor’s school experiences

Published 9:39 am Thursday, October 12, 2017

Four Davie students who attended Governor’s School this summer were recognized at the September school board meeting.

Governor’s School takes place on two campuses: East, which is in Raleigh at Meredith College, and West, at Salem College in Winston-Salem. It is a five and one-half week residential program for intellectually gifted high school students and has different focus areas based on the students’ interests, ranging from the arts to English to math and science.

Faculty and staff are culled from schools and universities across the country. The program is generally open to rising seniors, with exceptions made for juniors studying performing or visual arts.

Avery R. Boudreau, daughter of Louise Boudreau of Mocksville, attended East for math, after learning about the program from a guidance counselor. Three teachers, Ms. Barnhardt, Mrs. Narron, and Ms. Dunn, were instrumental in helping her get into the program, Boudreau said, and the friendly and welcoming environment provided the foundation for a memorable learning experience.

“Everyone was eager to learn and participate in discussions and activities inside and outside the classroom, whether it was attending math presentations, choral performances, French presentations, poetry readings, or open mic nights, everyone was supportive of each other,” she said.

Boudreau, a senior, plans to attend a four-year university and beyond but is undecided on a major.

Governor’s School, she said, not only introduced her to several career paths from which to choose, but it enhanced her appreciation of the opportunities and resources available to her at Davie High.

“I now know that many other high-schoolers don’t get the chance to take the classes or have the quality education that I can have, and this experience has allowed me to have a more open mind when it comes to learning. Governor’s School is an amazing opportunity to be able to simultaneously learn and have fun while making lifelong friendships and memories.”

Boudreau said her mother and sister have always been supportive, and she offers the advice to any other students hoping to be selected to Governor’s School to talk to their counselors about the nomination and application process and to make the application process a priority so they don’t miss out on the opportunity.

William Q. Collins, son of Charles and Yvette Collins of Mocksville, was nominated by band teacher Andrew Jimeson and studied instrumental music (trombone) at the West campus. He is a junior.

While his interest is in music, his plans are to pursue a computer or engineering degree. He credits his parents and band teachers for lifelong support, but his friends in band and his fellow students, saying, “They are the reason I work harder every day.”

Governor’s School provided Collins with a feeling of being strongly connected to elements of school and life.“It gave me a different outlook on how school works and all parts of life, and made me question more how and why we learn the way we do,” he said.

While he encourages anyone who wants to go to Governor’s School to discuss the opportunity with their teachers, he said all students, regardless of their plans, should consider their education more in-depth.

“Think about why we do what we do, not the surface, but dig deep into why we do what we do, and you’ll be surprised where it takes you,” he said.

Samantha A. Smith, a senior and daughter of Anthony and Ashley Smith of Mocksville, studied natural science at the West campus. She learned about Governor’s School from past attendees and was assisted during the application process by Erin Brown, a guidance counselor, and credits English teachers Tani Caudle and Donna Dunn for their help during the essay writing portion. Letters of recommendation by Mrs. Narron and Mrs. Shore, as well as the support of family and friends were instrumental in helping her through the process.

“Governor’s School gave me the opportunity to meet so many amazing people,” she said. “The students who attend are some of the best and brightest students in the state, and having the opportunity to meet them and make new friendships was a very valuable experience.”

The five and one-half weeks flew by, and once it was over, Smith said she wished she could go back and relive the experience again. Her advice for anyone who is selected is “do everything you can to enrich your experience. Meet new people, attend group events, be active in your classes, and overall, have fun. It’s an opportunity to learn about advanced subjects that aren’t taught in the traditional classroom, and it helped me appreciate the value of learning.”

The program also helped fuel Smith’s dream of going to medical school to become an oncologist.

“Attending Governor’s School in natural science made me even more excited about going to college and concentrating on pursuing a career in a science-related field.”

Tyler Zickmund, son of Gary and Vicky Zickmund of Mocksville, is a senior who studied math at the East campus. He learned about Governor’s School from past attendees and was aided through the application process by Erin Brown, guidance counselor, by Donna Dunn, who helped him with his essays, and by Mrs. White and Mrs. Barnhardt, who wrote letters of recommendation.

Zickmund said he is especially grateful to the school system for covering the cost of his attendance.

Governor’s School is partially funded by the N.C. General Assembly. Davie County Schools pays the remaining tuition charge of $500 per student through allotted local funds.

The experience of being in a residential learning environment made him look forward to college even more.

“Governor’s School allowed me to explore ideas and topics that interest me that aren’t included in a standard high school education,” he said.

He also enjoyed meeting students from all over the state and gives this advice to anyone interested in the program. “Be genuine. If you’ve been nominated, I’m sure you’re an amazing human being. Make sure people reading your essay can see that.”