Monday, June 20, 2005

Courses that are far from the ordinary, a chance to meet other exemplary students and the honor of being part of the state's elite these are the factors that motivate 165 high school students to spend three weeks of precious summer vacation time at the Governor's Honors Academy.

This year, the GHA is being held at Fairmont State from July 3 to July 24. The students will be housed in Fairmont State's newest residence hall, Bryant Place, and will get a taste of life on a college campus.

The GHA, a collaborative effort of education, business/industry and government, was started in 1984 by Gov. John D. Rockefeller IV. The purpose of this intensive educational experience is to encourage the intellectual growth of the future leaders of West Virginia.

With the exception of five visiting Russian students, who were selected by a Russian-language teacher of the GHA, the students are all residents of West Virginia. They are rising seniors who have at least a 3.5 GPA or are in the upper 10 percent of their class. They have demonstrated their dedication to learning through superior scores on standardized tests such as the WESTTEST, ACT or SAT. In addition, they have survived a grueling selection process which includes an essay, peer evaluation, teacher evaluation, approval of the principal and selection by the county selection committee.

The students face a challenging, exciting schedule of classes and activities. Classes range from Russian and Japanese language to Shakespeare to an exploration of physics and genetics. Activities include line and ballroom dancing, a college fair, a game show and a trip to Pittsburgh museums. A highlight of the three weeks will be a trip to the nation's capital.

In addition to the academic impact of the three weeks' study, an important component of the GHA is exposure to the diversity of the faculty and student body. The faculty comes from many states and from other countries. The students come from all 55 counties of West Virginia and they represent the five major world religions. They demonstrate diversity in interests and backgrounds.

For more information, call Dr. J. Robert Baker, FSU Professor of English and Dean of the GHA, at (304) 367-4260.