Fairmont State to Host 2014 Governor's Honors Academy

Friday, May 16, 2014

Fairmont State University will host the 2014 Governor’s Honors Academy on its main campus in Fairmont on June 29 through July 19.

Dr. J. Robert Baker, Director of the Honors Program at FSU, will serve as dean. About 200 high school juniors will participate in the three-week residential program administered by the West Virginia Department of Education and the Arts. The West Virginia Department of Education also assists with in-kind support. The theme of the 2014 GHA is “The Good Life.”

“This year’s theme, which is incorporated into each course, explores the concept of ‘The Good Life’ and its meaning. What kind of life are you going to create? Students will discover ways to make a life as well as a living,” Baker said.

Faculty and staff are carefully selected, giving students a specially designed curriculum. Students attend workshops, classes and a variety of stimulating extra-curricular activities in the areas of arts, humanities, mathematics, science and technology.

“A strong faculty trumps all other facets of any learning academy, and I am so pleased with the caliber of instructors and their proposed classes in 2014. If I were 17, it would be difficult to choose from so many outstanding and challenging topics. We at GHA 2014 are fortunate to have brought together this motivated and creative faculty,” said Sherry Keffer, Director of Governor’s Schools.

2014 faculty and course topics are as follows:

  • Toneta Akers-Toler of Beckley, “Movement Communication: Exploring your BEST!” and “BEST Adventures: A Journey Toward Contentment?”;
  • Adam Booth of Shepherdstown, “50 Years, A Billion Lives and One Big Fight” and “Six Dirty Words”;
  • James Eakins of Boston, “Heroes, Villains and Real Life Psychics” and “Science, Snake Oil and Shenanigans”;
  • Eir-Anne Edgar of Lexington, Ky., “Utopia or Dystopia” and “Growing Up Graphic”;
  • Xavier Garcia of Fairmont, “The GHA Playwriting Workshop” and “Down the Descending Spiral: A Survey of the Theatre of the Absurd”;
  • Karen Gergeley of Shepherdstown, “Millennialsstrikeback: Why Critics Say We’re Lazy, Narcissistic, Unreachable, Coddled, Uncreative, Addicted to Technology and How We’re Out to Prove Them Wrong!” and “You Get a Car!”;
  • Rebecca Giorcelli of Fairmont, “There’s an App for That! An App-Driven Approach to Learning Computer Programming Logic” and “Smart Homes, Smart Cars and Smart Classrooms: A Look at Emerging Technologies that Are Changing the World”;
  • Matthew Hokom of Fairmont, “The Examined Life: Philosophy, Virtue and Happiness” and “The Personal Essay and the Search for Meaning”;
  • Dan Hollis of Huntington, “First Amendment” and “Re-writing the Constitution”;
  • James Mathews of Fairmont, “Writing the Unreal: Fantasy, Magical Realism and Creative Writing” and “Understanding the Art of the Motion Picture”;
  • John Shirley of Berkeley Springs, “Entrances and Exits: Depictions of ‘The Good Life’ on the American Stage” and “From ‘Sunset Boulevard’ to ‘Somewhere That’s Green’: Exploring ‘The Good Life’ in American Musical Theatre”;
  • Doug Squire of Morgantown, “The Why of Math: Algebra, Calculus, Combinatorics and Games” and “The Why of Calculus and Business”;
  • Kelly St. Pierre of Cleveland, “Selling Beethoven: Tastemaking and Why It Matters” and “Make Some Noise: Popular Music and Political Advocacy”;
  • Sarah Tomasweski of Sunnyside, N.Y., “Bon Appetit” and “Fashionable Music and Musical Fashion”;
  • Michael Vannatta of Morgantown, “Science’s Contribution to the Good Life: The Role of Chemistry and Biotechnology in Modern Medicine” and “Extending the Good Life: Pharmaceutical’s Role in Improving Society”;
  • Nick Wilbur of Fairmont, “Evolution of a Good Life – A History of Life on Earth” and “Imagining the Good Life: The Science of Sci-Fi Utopias”; and
  • Sam Yates of Washington, D.C., “Citizenship as ‘Good’” and “Beyond the Yellow Brick Road: Frontiers and the American Road Trip.”

            In 1984, Gov. John D. Rockefeller started West Virginia’s first Governor’s School, the West Virginia Governor’s Honors Academy. GHA is a project born of a partnership among education, business leaders and state government. It is designed to stimulate and support excellence in education through a three-week residential summer program, which is provided without cost to 200 of the state's top achieving rising high school seniors.

            The mission of the academy is to operate an academically rich environment designed for high ability/high achieving students in an institution of higher education, challenging them to grow intellectually, creatively and socially in a culturally diverse atmosphere.

            For more information, visit http://www.govschools.wv.gov/about_us/Pages/default.aspx.