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WVU hosts Governor's Honors Academy
High schoolers are living and learning for three weeks on WVU’s campus.
Created in 1984, the Governor’s Honors Academy is a program offered to West Virginia students entering their senior year of high school. It accepts 180-200 students each years based on academic and extracurricular achievement.
“The mission is to help students grow academically, intellectually, in a worldly manner, through specialized instruction and classes of intense interest,” said Sherry Keffer, the Governor’s School Director. “What we want the students to do is leave with a sense of fulfillment about what they’ve done here and what they’ve realized about themselves.”
From July 2-22, students are staying in Honors Hall, with an everyday schedule that consists of two classes, an activity time, and an evening event such as a public speaker or an arts presentation.
“None of these classes have grades attached to them, they’re no tests involved,” said Ryan Claycomb, the Dean of GHA. “The idea is you’re here, you’re learning for the sake of the material, you’re learning because you like to learn.”
Alexander Whittington, from Oakhill High School in Fayette County, is in the classes Programming like a Pioneer and Parties, Propaganda, and the Presbyterians interpretive dancing.
“From where I began from a week and a half ago to now, I’ve loved it,” said Whittington. “I’ve grown as a person, not only socially, but my intelligence has broadened.”
“Activity time” allows students to participate in a variety of activities such as playing the Harry Potter-based Quidditch, exercising in the Student Rec Center, and doing community service.
“Service is embedded throughout each week,” said Keisha Kibler, the Activities Director. “K-12 schooling doesn’t really have the environment or even the resources available for the kids to go out and get their hands dirty, to actually do hands-on service. At Governor’s Honors Academy, we’re trying to work together as an administrative team to provide them with the chance to get involved in that way.”
The theme for this year’s GHA is Young Americans. Students are split into six groups, each named after a historical American figure. Each day has a focus on an event between the Revolutionary War and the Civil War. On July 14, GHA students will be taking a charter bus to Washington D.C., where they will see the result of the American Revolution.
Six Houses (Groups)
House John Deere
House Maria Mitchell
House Phillis Wheatley
House Judith Sargent Murray
House Joseph Story
“We know our history, but I feel that we’ve never really felt it,” said Whittington. “This program has shown us that so many people have died for us, have fought for us, they’ve given up almost all of their lives so that we can have a future.”
Douglas Soule The DA Online