A column by Governor Earl Ray Tomblin
(July 25, 2014) - This summer, nearly 500 of West Virginia's best and brightest middle and high school students are coming together from across the state to participate in five different sessions of the Governor's Schools. Through August 9, the Governor's School for Math and Science (GSMS), Governor's School for the Arts (GSA) and Governor's Honors Academy (GHA) are providing our youth with the opportunity to develop academically, socially and artistically through a variety of programs held on college campuses across the state.
For hundreds and thousands of years, research and discovery has been critical to providing our world with remarkable scientific and mathematic contributions. I'm confident West Virginia can answer the call for continuing innovation by offering the Governor's School for Math and Science, tailored to incoming eighth-and-ninth grade students who want to explore projects in an environment that encourages students to think and work like scientists, using upper-level mathematics and critical problem-solving skills.
This summer, eighth-graders worked with teachers and mentors to debunk scientific myths using the scientific method. The two, 10-day sessions at West Virginia University hosted more than 90 students and provided an opportunity for students to learn about scientific exploration.
This week, the incoming ninth-grade students will kick off their GSMS session at the National Radio Astronomy Observatory. During this session, students will participate in guided research projects that utilize the observatory's radio telescopes with additional instruction from both teachers and scientists.
As part of this summer's Governor's Honors Academy, we invited 200 rising seniors across the state to explore their interests for three weeks at Fairmont State University. Students had the opportunity to choose from 36 different courses, each specializing in different topics and areas of focus. This year's schedule included "Reaching the Top: Bridging Gaps between Our World and Math," Science's Contribution to the Good Life: The Role of Chemistry & Biotechnology in Modern Medicine" and "The Second Constitutional Convention-GHA Style," just to name a few.
Currently in session at West Virginia Wesleyan College, The Governor's School for the Arts provides rising juniors with an opportunity to immerse themselves in a community of artists who share their passion for the arts. In addition to four hours of specialized talent instruction, students have a chance to explore other art disciplines during their time at GSA. By the end of the program, dancers are writing poetry, vocalists are trying their hand at digital art creation and instrumentalists are learning the physical requirements of dance.
Despite the all-encompassing approach of GSA, it's the growth students receive in their individual disciplines that inspires and fosters each student's talents. Students at GSA who may have once felt unsure of theirs talent find themselves growing and encouraged by their teachers and even their fellow students. For the past few years, the First Lady and I have been fortunate to have a few of the outstanding musicians from GSA perform at the Governor's Mansion for special occasions. We are always amazed by their talent and poise.
It is amazing to see how our bright and talented students flourish when they are among their peers who share similar dreams and interests. The Governor's Schools are wonderful incubators that nourish and promote growth among West Virginia students. I'm proud West Virginia provides these programs at no cost to students or their families, and am committed to showcasing our state's outstanding youth through Governor's Schools.
To learn more about Governor's School for Math and Science, Governor's School for the Arts or Governor's Honors Academy (GHA), visit www.govschools.wv.gov
Office of the Governor