"Going to summer school might not be your idea of fun, unless you are one of the fortunate ones who is chosen to attend a session of Governor's School. Each summer, some of the state's brightest and most gifted students attend a six-week session at Governor's School West at Salem College in Winston-Salem or Governor's School East at Meredith College in Raleigh. For years, the classes, teachers and summer friendships have changed lives. We're looking for alumni to share their stories about their summers at Governor's School. Send your stories to marcy.smith@ newsobserver. com. Please put "Governor's School" in the subject line."
"GSE was absolutely the best experience of my life. In Choral Music as well as my Area I and II classes I was able to explore myself and the people around me. I discovered new things every day, in awe of how very much i knew... and didn't know. In what were 6 very short weeks (too short), my life was brought together. I have never in my entire life met so many wonderful, compassionate, caring people. I have kept in touch with so many of them, and I know that they will be life-long friends. That's the point, though. Governor's School is a place to learn LIFE, not just try to live it. Govees experience what reality is and isn't, and the lessons we learn there will be carried with us until our time on this earth ends. I am thankful for the opportunity I had to attend GSE.... it is an experience that will never, ever be wiped from my memory!!!!!"
--Sarah Phelps, GSE '98
"When I recieved the letter that said I was accepted to GSE for the 1998 session I was ecstatic. Although I was a little skeptical about spending my whole summer in school, by the time I got my roommate information in the mail I knew that I was ready. When I arrived in Laurinburg it didn't take very long to realize that I was going to have a very special summer. The people were great and they made adjusting to life away from home very easy. My suitemates and I became like sisters. Now as I look back on the six weeks I thought would be way too long, I realize they were not long enough."
-- Jessica Avery , GSE '98 Choral Music
"I attended GS (at Salem College) in 1971 in Chorus. (And I remember you, Liz Urquhart.) One of the most important experiences of my life. As I've told people since, "Going to Governor's School was like lighting a rocket!" I was so knocked out by the experience that I majored in music theory and composition in college. Ultimately received a Ph.D. in Musicology and now teach at Middle Tennessee State University, near Nashville, all of which allows me to do the kinds of things I love: i.e., I'm around music constantly and get to travel for it as well (spent last summer in Rome; go to Sicily in October). My GS experience helped lay the foundation for a required graduate course on twentieth-century music that I teach every year . In '94 and '95, I had the opportunity to direct the GSW Chorus, which was almost as intense an experience as being a student there. What was most amazing was to see the change that came over the students after the mid-summer break. When they went home for the break, they hadn't quite "gotten it." But when they came back, the scene just exploded with activities and ideas. They were great! Going back also helped me renew ties with people like Jim Bray and Randy Foy, which I've really appreciated, to make new friends, and to argue a lot. Although I wasn't able to get to the Symposium this past weekend, guys, it was certainly on my mind."
--Steve Shearon, GS '71
|"Governor's School was one of the best
experiences I have ever had. It opened my eyes and gave me a chance to express my opinions
with people that wouldn't just think I was crazy. Maybe I was a little crazy, but that was
one fun summer and I'll never forget it. Everyone has to be crazy in high school anyway,
or they'll never get throught it. Playing in the orchestra at Governor's School west was
also an extremely rewarding experience. I had the opportunity to play modern music for the
first time and I also got to compose my own pieces, something I never thought would be so
hard. In general, I loved Governor's School and I am extremely proud to have been a part
of something so wonderful".
-- Sara LeHoullier GSW '97
it quite clearly. The first trip to K-Mart. "Oh my god, we need
hoola hoops!," Nikki and I screamed at each other. We were so
scared we would leave a bad impression on our teacher. So, we mozied
over the the ole K-spot... and what do you know?
NO HOOLA HOOPS! It was pretty scary. So we had to improvise... Isn't that what our class was all-- well, if not all, at least partly about? - I got a toilet seat for my ring-shaped item and she got a kiddy pool which she cut the bottom out of. All in all, an educational experience. Props for us. Props for GS."
-Steve Waechter, GSE '98
|"Governor's School was a life changing experience that exposed me to ideas I would have never been able to experience.
The open and questioning atmosphere allowed me to constructively question my own beliefs and why I believed in certain
things. I was able to become an independent person with the knowledge that anything truly is possible. I made some of
my very best friends while I was at Governor's School. In fact, my current college roommate (and roommate for next year,
too) was my roommate at Governor's School. I simply do not have the words to express how important this program was and
still is to me."
2007 - Salem College
Hoggard High School - Wilmington, NC
|"I went to Governors School with an open mind, ready to experience new things, create beautiful music, and meet
interesting people. However, my experience completely exceeded my original expectations. Through the help of
incredible instructors I was part of one of the most incredible choirs I have ever known. We delved into the
workings and beauty of music and there was never a morning when I was not happy and excited to attend rehearsal.
Every peer and instructor there influenced me in a different way. I was able to watch others following their passions.
Musicians making music, mathematicians exploring theories, students of literature analyzing poetry. It has been
almost two years since I attened GSW and there are still very few days when I wake up in the morning and don't wish
I could return to that incredible summer. GS opened my mind and my heart and has been one of the most central and
influential experiences of my life."
GS West, 2007
Lake Norman High School, Mooresville, NC
|"Governors school was by far the most rewarding experience
of my life. I never would have thought that in a time period as short as 6 weeks that I would emerge with a new outlook
on life, a new perspective on academics, and a set of friends that continue to be my closest to this day. The Governors
school experience and the corresponding effects that it has upon its participants are invaluable."
GS East, 2007
Warren County High School, Manson, NC
|"One of the most important skills is the ability to
think critically about complex ideas. At Governor's School not only was I introduced to many new ideas, both
within and without my focus area, but I was also introduced to new methods of examining ideas I already knew
about. I am in law school now, and without having had an introduction to the kind of critical thinking that I
had learned at Governor's School, I don't think I would be able to enjoy or comprehend as much of the things
I've been exposed to up to today. The second most important thing I gained at GS was simply more self-confidence
because it was the first time I was around a group of people who wouldn't make fun of me if I asked a weird
question or if I was observably interested in something we talked about in class (this is often not the case
in normal high school). I sincerely hope that as many children from North Carolina as possible are given this opportunity."
Aaron D. Joachim
GS West, 2000
Cape Fear Academy, Wilmington, NC
|"Governor's School had a profound impact on my educational
development. It was at NCGS that learning became personal for me. The experience there intensified my passion for the
arts and deepened my commitment to success in that field. It was an incredibly positive experience for me at a time in
my life when I was beginning to define what my goals in life would be . . . Governor's School got me started on the right path!"
GS East, 1998
Pinecrest High School, Southern Pines, NC
|"Attending Governor's School set the stage for many future endeavors,
both academic and professional, and what I learned there has carried forward for more than 20 years. Although I did not study
theatre formally, the strong foundation in performance and public speaking served me well in my undergraduate and graduate
studies, and continues to do so in my work as a hospital administrator. In my free time, I am able to feed my passion for
the theatre by participating in local little theatre productions. The best part of Governor's School, however, was being
surrounded by other bright students and realizing (finally) that I wasn't the odd one out for being the smart kid, that
there were many more similar to me. Many of my GS classmates became classmates at UNC, and some are still my friends today.
I encourage our legislators to keep GS alive and fully funded!."
Sonja Ford McLendon
GS East, 1987
Wake Forest-Rolesville High School, Wake Forest, NC
|"As a member of the most recent class of Governor's School alumni, I
feel that it is very important for me to speak up in this time. Governor's School was an amazing experience for me. Coming from
an extremely close-minded area, I of course tended to be an outcast because I see things differently from other people. My
intelligence was the only thing I had. After going to Governor's School and being taught the importance of open-mindedness
along with being allowed to live amongst people just like me, I think it would be horrible to deprive any student of such an
experience. Because of that, I think that downsizing the number of students that can attend Governor's School is a horrible idea.
In a time of economic instability, we should be teaching students new ways of thinking so that when it is time for us to depend
on them they can stimulate this country with the new ideas they create due to their open-mindedness. For instance, if people still
had the mindset that "humans can not fly", we would not be flying in airplanes today. I think Governor's School is a wonderful
opportunity and am so happy that I had the chance to experience it. My younger sister was recently chosen to represent our county
and I would hate for her not to be able to go simply because of budget cuts. This once in a lifetime experience is just too important."
2008 Salem College (GSW)
Southeastern Early College High School (Whiteville, NC)
|"For six weeks, I lived in a musical. After my alarm clock radio gently
called me out of my dreams, an iPod soundtrack kept me energized as I went for an early run. At breakfast, everyone in the cafeteria
sleepily sang good morning wishes over a cup of caffeine and a bowl of cereal. My classes kept my thoughts dancing, stretching my
brain with artistic expansion, philosophical conversation, and impossible decisions of ethics. The rest of the day was an unwritten
script - there was always something to do.
"Hidden in the Meredith College campus - around dilapidated oak trees and an eyesore of a fountain - were the players of this real-life musical. My friends and I often sat in the quad on the grass, talking and waiting to join one of the many electives, activities, and lectures. At any given moment - unless it was past the 10:30 curfew - one could walk across the beloved quad and hear the din of guitars, mandolins, ukuleles, djembť drum circles, ultimate frisbee tournaments, singing, tap-dancing, and laughter.
"After I experienced such exhilaration, it was hard to leave on that last day of Governorís School. I had discovered so much about
the world and how my life fit into it. I learned to genuinely appreciate diversity - the small town in which I live seems to ostracize
anyone who is eccentric, but differences were embraced at Governorís School. This six-week "musical" showed me that the key to a
harmonious society is accepting these differences."
|"Governor's School was a GREAT experience for me. I met one of my best
friends that is still dear to me to this day. I also met other people who I would spend my college years with. I remember being
reluctant when I arrived on campus because we could not go home for three weeks, then we were required to go home for a weekend.
When I returned from that trip home, I never wanted to leave. Being with other creative people who liked learning and discovering
new things was wonderful. Knowing there were other "smart" kids all over the state who loved the arts helped me to return home with
a different attitude. My summer on the Salem College Campus is still one of my fondest memories and I would hate to think that other
high school juniors and seniors would be denied the opportunity of a lifetime to learn, grow, develop and meet people who will become
their friends for life at Governor's School."
Marlynn R. Jones, Esq.
GS West, 1979
Hillside High School, Durham, NC
"Governor's School was an extraordinary experience for me for many
reasons: the ideas I absorbed, the teachers that inspired me, the "Question Everything" ethos I loved, the friends I made,
and the chance I had to take intellectual risks in a supportive and challenging environment. The School made me a more
engaged student and made me think of myself as a leader for the first time in my life. I still look to that summer as
the time when I broke out of my introverted high school routine and into a broader conception of what my future might look
like. I embraced the free-wheeling, ungraded, and relatively unruly atmosphere that pushed me to engage with the cutting
edges of knowledge and art. The campus at Salem College became a cocoon of innovation, inspiration, and friendship.
Governorís School would be a great place to spend a summer even without its hallmark "Question Everything" philosophy.
But what makes the School truly special is the force with which it shakes the assumptions of all who enter it."
|"I've been to all sorts of camps for writing, theater, art, and dance, but
Governor's School was the one place where everyone there was smart AND talented. I've kept in contact with a good number of "govies."
A good number of GSE students went to UNC-CH, so I continued friendships with most as well as a few that went to other colleges.
"I really thought it was a great idea to have classes with all concentrations mixed in - both creative and academic concentrations. I discovered that we all had things in common and our talents extended past our individual concentrations. I also learned about different cultures and realized that some of the greatest people come from little small towns that I'd never heard of before.
"I remember meeting in the big hall with all GSE students before heading off to classes, walking to Kmart, dances, and final performances where everyone could come and see what you've worked hard on for the past 6 weeks. I couldn't believe how talented everyone was. I wouldn't brag and say I was the smartest in school, because I wasn't, but it was so good to be around people on my level. It was cool to be smart, and creative, and athletic -- all in one. There were lots of people who were great all-around people that I probably would've just passed by in the hall at school.
"GSE was a life-changing experience. At that stage in life, you're searching for your identity. Do you fit in with the nerds who live in the library, or do you belong with the jocks who cheat to succeed, or the artsy weedheads? These are just some stereotypes, but again, it was refreshing to see that "normal" "cool" people were smart, and athletic, and artsy, and ambitious! We were all just a great group of people. Everyone was accepting of everyone's differences whether it be handicap, sexual preference, race, social status, or physical stature (skinny/fat).
"I must say, a general life lesson for me was crushing stereotypes. One of the girls in my dance classes was such a Barbie I thought. Well, she's the sweetest girl from the country who could dance her ass off! She looked so polished and sweet, but little did I know she took tap classes from Savion Glover and could throw down! Another guy kinda looked like the dumb jock wearing broken-in baseball caps all the time and talking about wrestling, but he was the best artist! Little did I know! I just had a bunch of, "Oh, never thought of that," moments there at GSE. One of the guys I was really cool with was there for math. Math?! What's a matrix?! How could someone on that level be so down to earth, cool and sporty? So I'd definitely say for me, GSE showed me that I have to really get to know someone before passing judgements.
"Oh, about dance there, it was awesome! It wasn't like going to dance class after school for 1 1/2 hours. We really learned how to move our bodies and we practiced hard! Before and after dinner, we were practicing for the recital. It was just so concentrated! We had a great bond and stuck together and learned a lot about each other. We had guest choreographers teach us dances that we later performed for the recital, and we took a trip to Durham (my home down) to see an ADF performance.
"I'm so grateful for the experience. I hope they're able to continue this program. Although I'm sure most students could afford
to go there if it was a paid summer camp, I think what made it so diverse and real was that it wasn't a camp for the priviledged. It
was for people who met certain criteria and deserved a chance to find themselves and learn from other peers as well as the faculty.
I'm sure it prepared students for the next step in life - college. Not everyone chooses college, but for people who have never stayed
on a campus, been away from parents for an extended time, walked everywhere - no cars, eat in the cafeteria, or been held accountable
for their actions, I feel Governor's School was great preparation for the college experience. What can I say, I loved it!
|"Governorís school was a great experience. It was a great forecast
and taste of the college life. Meeting new people and experiencing a higher education was a great opportunity in my personal
and professional development. The program really highlighted the insight and appreciation for our education."
GS Winston Salem, 1995
Madison High School, Marshall, NC
|"Attending Governor's School was a huge asset to me in my education.
I had never auditioned for anything prior to the Governor's School audition, and that process alone helped me gain confidence and
the courage to step out more often. The Governor's School experience strengthened my choral abilities and exposed me to different
kinds of music. It gave me the opportunity to meet other people with similar talents and interests, but also allowed me to meet
people with very different ideas and perspectives. Governor's School gave me a little taste of what college would be like, and I
loved every minute of it. I believe it was one of the most valuable experiences of my educational career."
GS West 1984
Salisbury High School; Salisbury, NC
|"Governor's School was a very positive experience in my life,
life changing, in fact. It taught me to think for myself, which made me a stronger student and a more confident adult.
It both celebrated and challenged our strengths and differences and provided a core of friends that exist to this day.
I wouldn't trade the GS experience for anything."
B Diane Pruitt
GS West, 1972
West Charlotte High School, Charlotte, NC
|"My experience with the Governor's School program had an
enormous impact on my development as a young adult. One of the most important lessons I learned was how to focus myself
and work towards a goal (I had applied for the 1983 year, but was not accepted). I felt a kinship with my fellow students
at GSE that was much deeper than back at my regular school, even as I was exposed to cultural backgrounds and ways of
thinking much different from my own. The instruction I received in my primary area was wonderful, but it was the totality
of the experience that was transformative."
GS East 1984
Ben L. Smith High School, Greensboro, NC
|"My summer at governorís school opened up a whole new world to me.
It was a summer away from the traditional cliques and castes of high school where I could be smart and quirky and challenged to
do even more! It gave me the fortitude to look past labels and enjoy people for their talents and creativity and absolute
brilliance. I returned to my home town with a new confidence having been exposed to this bigger world - this new world - that
I had no real sense of until my summer at NC Governorís School. I came home feeling challenged and optimistic, intrigued and
enlightened. You cannot ask for a better summer than that!"
Anna Parry Jackson
North Stanly High School- New London, N.C.
|"Governor's school was a transformative experience. Until that summer,
I had no real idea that there were other students like me, interested in fine arts and academics and ready to embrace the larger
world. GS set me on a new path, one I had never envisioned before, and I followed it to UNC, to grad school at Columbia and
ultimately Paris. As important as a new life vision, GS introduced me to people who have become life-long friends. And,
although I did not continue with studies in my GS discipline, I am an avid and active fan, still employing the analytical
skills that were evolved that summer. We continue to contribute financially to many of the North Carolina fine arts and
academic programs that gave us so much, even though our residence is on a different continent. Governor's School is one of
the things that has helped make North Carolina a great state and it would be shame to diminish the light that has helped
so many of us shine."
Governor's School 1976
North Mecklenburg HS, Huntersville, NC
|"I think GSW was the most defining experience of my adolescence.
I went reluctantly, sad to leave my friends lounging by the pool for 6 weeks, but I was immediately glad to be there. It was
amazing to be surrounded by other bright and creative students from many diverse backgrounds. The math classes and lessons
were interesting and applicable and the discussions and activities in other areas were memorable and fun. It was such an
amazing social experience and I think it encouraged many of us to attend school in state because we felt like we would be
surrounded by other students with similar talents and a love for learning. Instead of attending school in the Northeast or
applying to UVA or Michigan I was sure that I wanted to go to Chapel Hill. Many of my GSW 96 friends also attended Carolina
and kept the best and brightest in state. I think that is such a huge point to consider when assessing the value of Governor's
School. My sister also attended UNC after her GSW experience, and she had never considered a state school before. It is an
enriching experience and it shows students that they can stay in North Carolina and be surrounded by incredibly bright and high
GSW 96 Salem College
Forsyth Country Day School Lewisville, NC
|"As an African-American female from a tiny, rural town in the late 1970s,
I had no idea how a summer program like Governor's School would help build my self-esteem, boost my resume, and introduce me to
opportunities which I never imagined were within my reach. Therefore I can whole-heartedly say that I am so thankful for my
Governor's School experience and even after all these years I know that it was the life changing moment for me. Simply put,
Governor's School was the catalyst that woke me up to my possibilities and gave me the encouragement to pursue my higher education
dreams. Governor's School is also the foundation for my social and professional networks. Many of the friendships I made that
summer continue today. My acceptance into UNC Chapel Hill can be partially attributed to my attending Governor's School.
"As much as GS helped change my life in so many positive ways, I know the program continues to provide such positive results
for the youth of today. The gifted and talented young people in North Carolina need to have the GS experience. Our state needs
to continue to encourage its young people by offering such a remarkable program. "
|"Governorís school was a life changing time for me.
In Governorís School I realized that there was a much larger world than I had previously experienced. I grew up
in a very small town and attended a small, rural high school. If I had not attended Governorís School, I would
not have had the opportunity to attend a modern dance performance, to read short stories about war, and to meet
brilliant and talented people. GSW allowed me to love learning again - I was able to attend class, read, and
write for the pure enjoyment of acquiring knowledge instead of working to obtain a good grade. GSW also opened
my eyes to a variety of political and social views and taught me that my home state believed that imagination and
creativity were to be valued and nurtured. "
Beth Mabe Gianopulos
North Stokes High School, Danbury, NC
|"Ever since I first began learning how to play the French
horn in sixth grade, I did everything that I could to become the best. I joined all of school band groups, auditioned
and performed in district bands and honor bands, and practiced during my lunch breaks. I soon outgrew those who played
beside me and yearned for more. Although my band director did not encourage me or inspire confidence in me to audition,
and didnít give me the correct audition music until 2 weeks before the audition, I still did not give up because I knew
what an amazing opportunity Governorís school would be for me. I traveled 100 miles round trip several times to see Dr.
Mattingly at WCU who helped me with the audition piece. After making it through the auditions, my love for music was
validated. Governorís school gave me the opportunity to join together with other students with superb ability.
Together, we made beautiful music and were able to push ourselves harder than any high school band could. Every single
one of us loved our instrument and the melodies we could create. To be able to play with such talent was an opportunity
I will never forget. It helped me grow not only as a musician, but as a person. This experience showed me that I could
reach for something and meet the challenges my goal presented."
GS East, 2002
Murphy High School, Murphy, NC
Instrumental Music-French horn
|"Governor's School introduced me to contemporary modern art, both in my
own musical performances and those of the other students of the arts
(visual art, choral music, theater, dance). As classically trained
performers, many of us struggled at first with unfamiliar and difficult
contemporary works. By the time we left Governor's School, our minds
and horizons had been expanded to include art and music truly on the
cutting edge. This education has served me well throughout the rest of
my life. It contributed immeasurably to my sense of being a citizen of
the world, comfortable in conversation with anyone, anywhere."
South Mecklenburg HS, Charlotte
|"Governor's School gave me my first away-from-home experience and a
peek into what college life would be like, providing a chance to make new friends and to grow up and take on new responsibilities.
At Governor's School, I learned the skills to do my own laundry! I met interesting people with different ideas and was encouraged
to open my mind to the world and to gain a broader perspective about life. The excitement about learning was palpable; the
discussions energizing. What constitutes art? What constitutes music? Who are we, why are we here? Heady stuff for a rising
high school senior, and it increased my curiosity and interest in the world around me."
Samantha Falke Martin
GS West, 1989
Cardinal Gibbons Memorial High School, Raleigh
|"Governor's School still ranks as the best summer of my life. I made
some of my best friends there, fell in love and learned more than I could possibly imagine about life, learning, art, culture,
imagination and myself. It absolutely shaped the direction of my life and to this day I look back on that summer and what I
learned then as a pivotal part of my life story. I am grateful to the state of North Carolina, the teachers, the mentors, the
students and everyone who gives their time and energy each summer to keep Governor's School going. I hope it continues long
into the future."
Andrea Sarubbi Fereshteh
GS West, 1997
Asheville High School, Asheville, NC
|"As an attendee, my life was profoundly changed by my experience. I came
from Rockingham, NC, at that time a large high school, with very few outlets for the academically inclined student. (We had a greater t
han 50% drop out rate in the late 80's) At Governor's School I met other students and faculty who were gifted in many areas and who
drove me to expand my ideas of what I could achieve. I met students who remain dear friends to this day - all of whom are successful -
many of whom have chosen a life of service to the State or to higher education. These students were not "geeks" as my high school
friends were sure that they would be. Instead, these Govies were smart, engaged, and talented. They were a diverse group, socially,
economically and racially. We learned together and we had lots of fun together. We got prepared for college and came away with a new
way to think about ourselves and our futures.
"This program is a model for the rest of the United States and truly is one of the foundations of our higher education system - something that we are all so proud of in our state.
"Please work to preserve this program that expands the lives of some of our most important future leaders."
|"Governor's School gave me a chance to connect for the first time with people
who I would know and continue to encounter for the rest of my life: my college roommate at Duke University, graduate colleagues, professional
colleagues, and scores of friends. It also stimulated and encouraged my creativity in ways that did not seem "cool," or possible in a small-town
environment like Thomasville, NC."
Governor's School East (Laurinburg), 1991
Thomasville High School
|"My summer as a student at Governor's School altered my life in ways that I'm still
discovering 25 years later. Being surrounded by students as talented or more talented than myself, as smart or smarter, provided me a freedom to
explore new ideas and investigate topics not covered in my small rural high school. The support of my classmates and the amazing faculty helped
me build confidence in myself as an artist and intellectual that serves me to this day. In 2008, my first full length collection of poems,
published by Main Street Rag Press, saw the light of day and store shelves. I serve as a Vice President on the Board of Directors of a not for
profit literary arts organization here in Kansas City, and am well into writing the manuscript for my next book.
"As a faculty member, GSE provided me an opportunity to give back to the program that affected me so profoundly, giving me the opportunity
to share my experience and knowledge with an impressive student population. Many of my students are currently in graduate schools throughout the
country and several of them graduated from the country's top universities and are well on their way to being leaders in their own communities."
|"Governor's School was one of my most rewarding experiences during high school.
I was so excited to be with other students who thrived on learning about challenging topics. Without sharing that summer with others who
were more like me than my fellow hometown students, I would not have had the courage to apply to several colleges that I did. I would not
have had the confidence to know that I was as intelligent as other students I met from New York, Pennsylvania, Maryland, California, etc
while in college.
"I am very grateful to still have some of the friends I made in Governor's School and continue to be inspired by these friends, many
of whom have stayed in North Carolina. They believe as I do that our state has much to offer all of its wonderful people-including
Governor's School was an experience that changed my life. I went to a small high school of about 400 students where everyone knew each other.
The school atsomphere was very judgemental to anyone who was different than the "in crowd". Governor's school was my first extended experience
with a group of my peers outside of high school. In retrospect, it was my first chance to find out who I really was without the pressure to conform
to someone else's "standards". I learned a tremendous amount about myself and grew up a lot that summer. The experience at Governor's School
encouraged my individuality more than any other experience in my life."
|"If any of you have had the pleasure of visiting Taylorsville, you know that it is
not a booming metropolis...it's just a great small town full of friendly, hard-working people. My mother was an elementary school teacher, and
my father, a licensed electrician, worked with my grandparents and older siblings at the company they opened together in the early 1970's. I
had wonderful teachers and got above-average grades. As with many counties in NC, sports was THE THING for students to do at the time...if you
were good at softball, basketball, football or baseball, you were gonna make it big! I loved sports and played for years, but my "thing" was
going to dance class one day each week.
"My parents took me to class at a tiny dance studio each week, happy to pay more than they could afford for something that made me so happy. When Jane Maupin (Alexander County Schools Exceptional Students teacher) first spoke to me about the Governor's School program, it was the first I'd heard of any summer program combining academics and the performing arts. I'd never been away from home on my own for more than a few days. I'd never danced with anyone outside the four concrete walls of the dance studio. I'd been in school with the same kids (all still close friends) for years...some since kindergarten! I'd never auditioned for anything.
"Governor's School was the start my CAREER as a performer. I was privileged to study with dancers from all over NC...intelligent, curious, ambitious, competitive dancers, led by an AMAZING instructor, Jacqui Chance. We improvised, we choreographed, we critiqued, we listened and learned, we sweated and we DANCED. My mind was opened to a new world of auditions, professional dance companies, musical theatre...things that just weren't a very big deal in Taylorsville. Governor's School made the possibility of a career in dance a reality for me. I went to class with aspiring writers, scientists, engineers, musicians, politicians, philosophers...all strange and great thinkers, all together in an environment dedicated to provoking and inspiring creativity, truth-seeking, confidence, tolerance, and passion for purpose.
"The day I auditioned for the Governor's School dance program, I knew that I would dance, somewhere, for the rest of my life. Having that single opportunity to venture away from the typical NC scholar-athlete stereotype was the greatest gift I ever received from the NC education system. I won't take up your time with listing my stage credits...I'll just say that all of my dreams have come true, beyond my wildest expectations. I've been performing professionally since 1994...and at age 35 I'm still performing seven shows each week!
"Please consider continuing (and even expanding!) financial support for the NC Governor's School Program. For many small-town NC students,
it is the ONE opportunity they may have to experience a world they would otherwise never know. This hugely successful program changes lives and
changes dreams into reality. "
|"Governor's school was where I learned to reach for my goals because they were not
always going to be handed to me. It showed me that sometimes I have to work for something I want because not everything is going to be handed
to me. Finally, it showed me that just because someone is unique it doesn't make them better or worse than anyone else."
GS West, 2008
Northside High School, Jacksonville, NC
|"No singular educational experience can top Governor's School. As a young man from
eastern North Carolina, my mind was opened to a world beyond my neighborhood. I learned new ways to think and new ways of seeing the world around
me, and I was challenged like I never had been before. I also made life-long friendships and now, even more than 20 years later, cherish my Governor's
"North Carolina was a national leader in establishing the Governor's School program in the 1960s. As someone who works in education and
prepares high school students for success in the 21st century, I have personally seen the benefits of this groundbreaking program both as a participant
and as an educator. North Carolina needs to remain a national leader by fully funding the Governor's School program, now more than ever."
|"Several weeks into my first semester at Duke University I met for dinner with a fellow
GS alumni who was also starting her freshman year. I remember very clearly how my friend described her experience in classes to that point, and her
excitement for the future: "It's like Governor's School that lasts four years!" In our entire high school experiences, it had only been our time at
Governor's School that showed us the promise of how challenging and wonderful it would be for us as a part of Duke's academic community."
GS East, 1993
Orange High School, Hillsborough, NC
|"I cannot truly begin to put into words what my Governor's School experience meant to me.
Before Governor's School I was not sure who I was. I never felt comfortable just following the crowd, but I was afraid to be different. However,
after Governor's School I was a changed person. I discovered my true self and for once in my life actually liked who I was. In the Area III class,
we filled out this survey at the beginning and the end of the session. In the beginning, I filled out the survey as the person I wished I was, that
is how I lived my life, wishing I was someone else. And, at the end I completed the survey again, however, I filled it out as the person I had
discovered while at Governor's School and miraculously it was the person I had always wanted to be, but never thought I had to potential to become!
If it weren't for Governor's School, I would never have had the courage to apply to Duke University or to set myself on the path I am on now. I
was accepted to Duke under early decison and my life's goal is to put my thumbprint on the world. Without the Governor's School experience, none
of this would have been possible for me! Thank you so much for giving me the life I had always dreamed of!"
GS East, 2008
Madison High School, Marshall
|"Governor's School was the defining experience of my youth. Until I attended Governor's
School in the summer of 1972, I felt vaguely uncomfortable liking school, being interested in art, music, and literature, and doing well in school.
After getting to know my classmates at Governor's School, I realized that there was no reason for my discomfort. I could be happy and proud to want
to learn and to achieve academically. The 21st century needs knowledge workers - those who love learning and continue learning throughout their lives.
To cut funding for Governor's School is to choke the flow of skilled knowledge workers from the state of North Carolina."
The West (and Only) Campus, 1972
Salisbury High School, Salisbury, NC
|"North Carolina Governorís School East (GSE), located at Meredith College in Raleigh, is not
the average summer program; it is a life-changing whirlwind of ideas and opinions. For six weeks, I was immersed in an environment in which curiosity
was celebrated and knowledge was constantly sought.
"French was my primary study area. For the first time, I learned about French culture outside France, as my language skills grew exponentially. Through activities such as attending a Zydeco/Cajun music club, cooking beignets, and watching French films, I learned about francophone culture in ways I had never imagined.
"Though French was my academic focus, I also studied subjects such as ethics, metaphysics, aesthetics, epistemology, and religion in my secondary classes. The diversity offered by the curriculum encouraged me to think for myself and to question accepted standards created by society. My soul soared in this freedom as I contemplated and explored my personal values and beliefs that I was previously unable to recognize.
"I will never forget the feeling of community and friendship that I found at Governorís School. I know without a doubt that the friends I met there will be lifelong. Somehow, the open atmosphere brought together diverse young minds from all backgrounds, religions, and races and bound us to one another. I have never felt more myself than I did at Governorís School East.
"Coming home after those six weeks, I realized that I am eager to start the next phase of my life. I can feel the pull of independence
and new challenges just around the bend and I know that because of this miraculous experience, I am ready."
|"At Governorís School I was introduced to new and challenging ideas that helped
me develop opinions and realize my stance on diverse issues such as the death penalty, the meaning of love, the mathematics of nature, and
the philosophy of religion. Governor's School not only broadened my knowledge, but also redefined my perspective of what knowledge means and
refined the way I pursue it. In essence, it influenced my approach to life and my attitude towards learning."
GS West, 2006
Enloe High School, Raleigh, NC
|"Governor's School taught me to think outside the box. Coming from a small town
in the mountains, it was the first opportunity I had to live somewhere new and have a sense of independence. The wide variety of people who
attend Governor's School made it very easy to find many people who had common interests. It also allowed me to broaden my horizons and opened
my eyes to other points of view. But the most important thing, was that it was FUN. The classes, the social activities, the community....it
all combined to give me the best summer I could have imagined. I still have friends from GSW and can never listen to the Counting Crows
without thinking of that wonderful summer."
GS West, 1994
Hendersonville High School, Hendersonville, NC
Instrumental Music (trumpet)
|"The really cool thing about Governorís School was, for me at least, the fact
that people got along so amazingly. You have this selection of 400 students from across the state, and weíre all as different as can be.
And yet, I look out across the quad and I see a kid with an NRA t-shirt on hanging out with a kid who has a gay pride t-shirt on. And itís
not just that they tolerate each other: theyíre genuinely friends. I mean, I left Governorís School and I felt as close to my friends there
(who Iíd known for a grand total of six weeks) as I did to most of my friends back home, who Iíd grown up with. Never before have I felt so
completely, unconditionally accepted for who I was in a group of high-school students."
GS East, 2008
Davie County High School
|"I became the person I am today due in great part to the experience I had at Governor's
School in the summer of 1986. I not only got exposure to incredible music, art and drama but met so many people from all over our great state who
became some of my dearest friends. I have stayed in contact with these friends for over 20 years. In the Choral Music department our director
Dr Robert Ward (now at Ohio State) was an incredible teacher who brought a love of choral music and challenged us to be better and better each week.
Never before (or since) had/have I seen a highschool choral group of such caliber. I would not give back the experiences of that summer for anything.
I encourage every student I have met for the last 23 years to strive to attend one of the great Governors' Schools. It is life changing for young adults.
It was for me.
"We must keep Governor's Schools alive in NC!"
|"My time at Governor's School opened my eyes to new perspectives and
ways of thinking, gave me scholastic opportunities I hadn't seen
before (and some I haven't seen since), and introduced me to friends
and intellectual peers I still keep up with today. It'd be fair to say
that I wouldn't be nearly the person I am now without the Governor's
School program--and I mean that in the best possible way."
GS East, 2003 (TA/C at GSE in 2008 and 2009)
East Forsyth High School, Kernersville, NC
|"Governor's School was the first time I ever felt surrounded by people
like me....people who were interested in things I found important. It was also nice not to be considered the smartest person in
the room for a change. It was really the only time during my primary education in NC that I felt like the state placed any value
on having smart kids succeed. Given how competitive the world has become, and how other countries blow us out of the water academically,
we need to make academic success a priority and something for kids to aspire to. Governor's School is a key avenue for accomplishing
that in NC."
GS West, 1981
Thomasville Senior High School, Thomasville, NC
|"Governor's School brought to my attention the value of a stimulated mind.
At my high school, teachers generally teach to a test and not for the pursuit of knowledge. GSE opened my mind and showed me my full
potential as a mathematician by letting me explore areas in which I had never even heard of. But Governor's school not only broaded my
horizons on campus, but introduced me to a population full of people with the same thirst for education that I have. These people have
continued to stimulate my mind. I thank Governor's School everyday for that."
GS East, 2008
St. Stephens High School, Hickory
|"I can say that, without exaggeration, attending Governor's School was the
single most rewarding and infliuential experience I've had. I was surrounded by young people as bright and eager to learn as I was,
and I felt NORMAL in my oddness, as if I belonged. I was allowed to be completely open and honest about myself without any apprehension
or reservation, something I couldn't necessarily do in my hometown. I met some great people that I still know and love today. If anything
happened to this program it would be a tremendous loss to the young gifted people of North Carolina."
GS West, 1996
Goldsboro High School, Goldsboro
|"Governor's School was meaningful to me because for the first time in my life,
I was at a place where it didn't matter what you looked like or anything else about you. We were all there to spend an amazing summer
with amazing professors and assistants. I learned things about music, life, studies, and myself that I never dreamed that I would learn
at Governor's School. I met people that I knew only for that six short weeks that I am closer to now than some people that I have known
since kindergarten. I made friendships that I know will last a lifetime and I will cherish the memories that I had of those six wonderful
weeks forever. "
Ethan L. Price
Governor's School West 2007
Alexander Central High School, Taylorsville, NC
|Of all the things I have done in my life, Governor's School was the event that most
changed me. Prior to my six weeks at Salem College, I always felt insecure about myself. Being the smart one, the strange one, the one who
was different, wasn't always a ticket to acceptance at my rural high school. Governor's School put me in a group of people who accepted me
just as I was, who were interested in my odd ideas, and who were able to hold up the other end of an intellectual conversation. It was
great to learn that I was not the only person who felt this way, as my best friends, from Hamilton, Carthage, Mocksville, Lake Gaston, and
Fayetteville all had similar backgrounds in being misunderstood by their home-town peers.
I went to Governor's School to learn about science. But I learned the most about myself.
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