Two Mount Airy High School students have been named to the Governor’s School of North Carolina.
Juniors Emma Harrison and Haven France said they are excited about the opportunities participation could open up for them as they look forward to college. Harrison was named to the school in the area of natural science, and France earned her berth for fine arts.
“We had to fill out applications and send them to the board of the Governor’s School,” said Harrison. “We were required to write essays and send in our school transcripts. Every school district gets one automatic spot which is known as the Superintendent’s Choice and that’s what I earned.” She said she felt relieved to be chosen for this because it meant she didn’t have to improve her original application and apply a second time.
She explained one essay had to be on a topic that affected them and the applicants could pick their own topic for the second essay. Her first essay connected on two levels for her personally because it encompassed science and personal experience. Harrison said her interest is in advancements to genetic medical science. She wrote about a skin disorder she inherited which leaves her extremely sensitive to sunlight. The junior takes not being able to sunbathe as much as her classmates in stride by keeping perspective.
“Luckily what I have is not so severe as it is in others,” said Harrison. “This can damage the nervous system in some cases.”
France said she was unsure about applying as the application deadline approached but did the research and decided to give it a shot.
“I was nominated for art. I filled out the application and sent in the transcripts and told them a little about myself,” recalled France. “I didn’t start my projects because I wasn’t sure what it was about and that took me until one week before the audition. I worked Monday through Friday to get them done. Then I had to go to Meredith College in Raleigh and submit the three pieces. The audition took three and a half hours.”
France said her first picture was done in pencil and took her three days. The other two were done in dye and ink. The third one took one day. The judges asked her about art and things she liked to do. It was a month before she heard the results. She was told she was one of the few to be invited for art.
“I knew I could do it if I wanted,” said France when asked if creating art on short notice was a problem. “The worst part was one piece I finished I didn’t like. I just started over again so really I did four pieces. It was overwhelming when you saw the others’ work. It was all out in the open but it wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be.”
France said she isn’t sure if she would like to focus solely on art in college but wants to have art in her degree in some way because she’s “good at it for a reason.”
Harrison realizes following her interest in science means there’s a lot of study and research ahead of her in college.
“I’m thinking abut going into pharmacy,” said Harrison. “It’s going to depend on either biology or chemistry.” She said she feels she is benefiting with the recent emphasis to interest women in science and technology and thinks her people skills also will help her career decision. Both said they have been involved with programs that gave them a peek outside of Surry County.
Harrison participated in Teens Westward Bound and traveled through a variety of states. She appreciated the opportunity to get to know other people. France was in a science and math summer program studying rocks and minerals with 200 teens and was surprised how good a time she had.
“I was with 83 other teens and didn’t know any of them,” said Harrison. “We all got along and I’m still friends with a lot of them even though I don’t get to see them. I’m hoping I get to see some of them in governor’s school. That would be nice. I look forward to the governor’s school classes because you learn to enjoy learning and get concentrate on classes you’re interested in.”
Both girls said it was an “eye opener” to find out how quick they could make friends from a wide variety of persons.
“You don’t want to be limited,” said France. “I’m excited about getting to know people. Mount Airy has a lot of folks that are the same. The connections I’ll make will be good for me when I decide which school to apply to. It will help my portfolio.”
The Governor’s School of North Carolina is a five-week summer residential program for intellectually gifted high school students. It integrates academic disciplines, the arts, and unique courses on each of two campuses. The curriculum focuses on the exploration of the most recent ideas and concepts in each discipline, and does not involve credit, tests, or grades.
According to the school’s website, it is the oldest statewide summer residential program for academically or intellectually gifted high school students in the nation. The program, typically is open to rising seniors only, with exceptions made for rising juniors in selected performing and visual arts areas, is located on two campuses of up to 305 students each. They school is held at Governor’s School West at Salem College in Winston-Salem (begun in 1963), and Governor’s School East at Meredith College in Raleigh (begun in 1978).
The program is administered by the Public Schools of North Carolina, the State Board of Education, and the Department of Public Instruction through the Exceptional Children Division. A Board of Governors, appointed by the State Board of Education, acts as an advisory body.
Reach David Broyles at email@example.com or 719-1952.