For the second year in a row eleven Grayson County High School students have been accepted into the Governor’s Scholars Program, a five-week, summer residential program for outstanding Kentucky high school students between their junior and senior years.
Candidates for the Class of 2013 are Karlie Blain, Jackson Henderson, Bradley Hicks, Ashton Lindsey, Kenadie Minton, Megan Poindexter, Madison Sedam, Kaylan Shull, Morgan Uebelacker, Mallory White and Aaron Zellers.
The Governor's Scholars Program was initiated in 1983 to enhance Kentucky’s next generation of civic and economic leaders. Students who are selected attend free of charge, with financial support for the Program provided by partnerships between the Office of the Governor, the Kentucky State Legislature, and private enterprise.
The 2013 sessions will be hosted by Bellarmine University in Louisville, Murray State University in Murray, and Morehead University. The core curriculum for these summer sessions provides for a Focus Area or “major” assigned according to scholar preference on the application. General Studies courses frequently include service-learning in the community and Seminar or discussion-based small group sessions emphasize respectful debate and discussion.
Participating students must be nominated by their high schools and then compete in a highly selective competitive process on a state-wide level. In fact, the application itself is good experience, since the process is similar to that of prestigious colleges and universities.
It starts with an academic profile that includes difficulty of course load, GPA, and at least one ACT or SAT test score. Other factors include extracurricular activities and leadership positions, a history of volunteer service, and jobs. Teacher recommendations and an original essay round out the requirements.
While the students won’t know until later this month which focus areas they will study or on which college campuses they will live for five weeks this summer, they all admit they are looking forward to many new and exciting experiences. When asked for specifics, their most frequent response was the opportunity to meet other students from all over the Commonwealth. Others look forward to getting a brief taste of college life. For others still, it’s the scholarships and increased opportunities that come along with graduation from the program. Most Kentucky colleges and universities award GSP graduates with four-year tuition and sometimes more.
While GCHS has been well represented in the program since its inception, it has been on the rise in recent years. According to counselor Kasey Haycraft, it is very unusual for a county this size to have so many students accepted in one year, much less two in a row. Community members review applications and provide feedback to students which Haycraft believes has helped improve the process and increase students’ success. In both 2010 and 2011 nine students and an alternate were initially selected with the alternate going on to attend.
The summer of 2013 will bring many new and exciting experiences for these students. While spending the typically carefree days of summer away from friends and family may seem a little challenging at times, all agree this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity they’ve planned and worked hard for since as early as their freshman year.