1991 English
From Durham County
I cannot even begin to think of where I would be today without Governor’s School. The exposure to new challenges and ideas that I received over those six weeks set my life on a completely different course. It provided stimulation that I wasn’t receiving at my regular school and it made me realize many more of the opportunities available in the world. It helped me redefine what success would be for myself and to realize that living a “life of the mind” is a valid and worthwhile goal.
1998 Choral Music
From Wake County
Governor’s School gave me the opportunity that I wouldn’t otherwise have received to be exposed to new people, places, and ideas. I learned life lessons and formed lifelong relationships with people I would not have ever met without this program. I learned and performed music that still evokes emotion in me to this day, and always will. The Governor’s School program is truly an invaluable experience, one that serves as not only a reward for young people who are academically and artistically inclined, but a stepping stone for education and enrichment. I have always considered myself fortunate to have been able to attend, and know that might not have been possible if tuition were involved. Without exaggeration, it was a life-changing experience for me, and one that I would never give back, or do differently. GSW 1998 will always hold some of my fondest memories.
2001 English
From Orange County
As an attorney and policy analyst, I cannot emphasize the importance of the Governor’s School program enough. The program enabled me, at a formative time in my youth, to meet and discuss important issues with others my age. At GS, we learned to analyze important world events and to see how those events impact people in many circumstances — often times our peers from around North Carolina. I had a very limited understanding of the broad talents and interests of my peers across the state until I attended GS, and looking back, I am convinced that my experience at GS prepared me for college, law school, and the world in ways I simply could not have gotten anywhere else. It is the inclusive nature of GS that gives it this power. I donated this year to help preserve it, and hope the Legislature of our fine state will continue to support the program.
1984 Inst. Music
From New Hanover County
As a rural,first generation college student, Governor’s School was absolutely essential in helping me raise my sights. It was at the Governor’s School college fair that I was introduced to my alma mater, Davidson College. I never would have explored a school like Davidson without my Governor’s School experience. Also, as a member of an economically challenged, non-high school graduet, single-parent; I could have never paid to attend Governor’s School. It was truly a life-altering experience and set me on a trajectory that I probably never would have found without it.
1970 Math
From Cabarrus County
As a young woman in 1970, I attended Governor’s School in the area of math. I was considered the smart one in my high school, but until I was exposed to the rest of the state’s smart ones, I had no ability to stretch my ideas and ways of thinking. It’s only when you compete against someone better than yourself that you are able to improve. Governor’s School offers students’ brains that level of competition with the “prize” that of knowing that you are a better person for attending. Perhaps the greatest thing GS taught me was how to think. When you can think, you can learn forever.
1985 Math
From New Hanover County
Governor’s School is for the “best and brightest” of North Carolina’s students. The impact it has goes beyond the transfer of knowledge, in that it teaches student show to think critcally as well as regurgitate facts. Inmany cases students are away from home for the first time “on their own” which better prepares them for college and life in general. All of the above I am sure you have heard hundreds of times by now, and while all are laudable goals we are in tough economic times and hard decisions have to be made. So let me say this: dollar-for-dollar this is one, if not THE, top “return on investments” you can possibly make for the furture of North Carolina. Because of the skills, connections, and experience of Governor’s School, THESE students are going to give back to their state to the best of their ability.
1999 Inst. Music
From Forsyth County
Attending NCGS was the first time in my life I felt like it was okay to be smart and talented, (not athletically talented.) In public schools, students are ridiculed for raising their hand and giving the right answer to a question and for making good grades. At GS, I felt like my intelligence had a value and I valued the intelligence of others in a new way. I came to look at people differently and recognized that everyone has something different to offer if you stop and take the time to see it. While I feel it is worthwhile to bring underperforming children up to standard, do not punish those who are under-stimulated and over-performing by taking away one of the only programs that really seeks to encourage their talents and help them recognize their potential. Many of my GS classmates have gone on to be lawyers, clergymen, scientists or fine artists. I have to believe that the values and personal strength instilled at GS helped them reach those goals.
1974 Math
From Franklin County
I think too often, the gifted students in North Carolina are pushed aside to support those who are challenged. We also need a challenge and the opportunity to do something that is reserved for us. I started high school with the goal of making Governor’s School. I knew that was one of the few chances I would have coming from a small town to be exposed to higher learning and to help prepare me for college. I wanted that experience and it was one of the best things that could happen for a small town girl wanting to experience more. I am thankful for that opportunity and hope that in the future the brightest and most involved students in NC, no matter what their social status, will have their opportunity to attend Governor’s School.
1987 Natural Science
From Alamance County
Academically gifted youth are often shunted into the class of people “who will do fine anyway.” Unfortunately our country needs more than fine. The students who could qualify for GS are the hope of the next generation. They have grown up in years of No Child Left Behind where the energy of the public school system has been focused on underperforming students by legislative fiat. GS is an inexpensive and life-altering way of spurring our best students to do more. Without GS, I would not be the person I am today — and I say that even 25 years later.
1969 Math
From Graham County
I was born and raised in one of the most rural counties of North Carolina. The fourth of eight children, I was raised in a wonderful – but austere – environment. Neither of my parents went beyond sixth grade, but they wanted all the kids to graduate high school and go further if possible. Dad worked in a factory and also farmed and logged in whatever daylight hours were left. Mom took care of the home and the kids, and also handled one end of the cross-cut saw whenever Dad was “getting out wood”. Many times Dad worked the “graveyard” shift so he would have his days free to work the farm and get out some wood for a little extra money. We never did without food or clothes, but we certainly didn’t live “high on the hog”. When I was given the opportunity to attend Governor’s School in the summer of 1969, I know it was hard on the rest of the family because it was during the peak of farming (and logging) season. Had there been a tuition as well, I simpy could not have attended.
2004 English
From Randolph County
Governor’s School helped me finally feel like I fit in somewhere — not because I fell in with a group of people just like me in background and viewpoint, but because I was surrounded by people who were as intellectually curious as I was. I know that mine was not an isolated case. North Carolina’s intellectuallly gifted high schoolers, particularly those from the small-town public schools like mine, need this program as a foretaste of how great college can be.
1990 Choral Music
From Mecklenburg County
Governor’s School was a transformational experience. I went from being the shy, academic choir geek to an outspoken and confident young woman, ready to make my mark on the world. Social media makes it easy to see the difference between those of a similar academic standing who attended Governor’s School and those who did not. It is our world view. Governor’s School attendees become men and women who are informed about the world around them and who want to make a positive impact in that world. They have been taught to dream big and make their dreams reality so they can make difference for others. There will always be the academically gifted among us who will strive to do their best for their own personal gain. Governor’s School turns the academically gifted into people who want to do their best for the good of society and it provides a network of friends and aquanitances to help make that possible. Even in Colorado, I associate with people I met through NC Governor’s School.
2006 English
From Granville County
No other single experience better prepared me for college and broadened my horizons more than attending Governor’s School. Living on a college campus and attending classes that encouraged discussion not only helped me with the transition from high school to university, but reaffirmed for me that a college education was something I wanted to pursue. It gave me insight into the type of atmosphere I wanted to learn in and the sorts of classes I would enjoy taking. I still remember more of what I learned there than I do of classes I took less than a year ago because they were tailored to our strengths and interests, and they challenged us. Governor’s School reminded me, as I’m sure it does many, why I started out so excited about learning. Several of my GSW classmates went on to UNC as I did, and those contacts were helpful to have. It would be impossible to measure exactly how much I benefited from the experience, and I will always be grateful to have had such an opportunity.
1971 Art
From Mecklenburg County
I think Governor’s School was an excellent opportunity for me to accelerate my growth as an artist ahead of my college years. It helped me refine my art portfolio and placed me in an intellectual and creative environment that seasoned me for the college art school experience ahead. Governor’s School not only made me a more desirable candidate for undergraduate and graduate school, it also helped me begin to cultivate some of the professionalism I would need in the arts career I have followed. Group critiques in the painting studio, texts we read as part of the curriculum, and the art, music, dance, and literary encounters during that summer of 1971 were formative in my development. I hope the State of North Carolina continues to recognize the developmental power of this extraordinary program. A big thank you to Governor’s School! Charles Ritchie Artist and Curator http://www.charlesritchie.com/
1982 Natural Science
From Iredell County
I can’t tell you how important this experience was. There is no way I could have had such an enriching experience otherwise. This really gave me a leg up in school. Eventually I got an MBA in finance and now work in the media. We live in a time when such opportunities are afforded only to the wealthy. In NC, however, we have long believed in the myth of our meritocracy. We had the first state-funded universities, the first Governors’ School, the first state School of the Arts for high school students and the first public residential magnet school for science and math. I have been through three of those institutions. I do not come from a family of wealth or affluence. My grandparents had an elementary school education. My father’s education was in the Marines. There is nothing wrong with that and I am proud of the manual labor i have done also. The state of NC, however, invested in my education, opened my world and made me a more valuable, contributing citizen.
1983 Choral Music
From Yadkin County
Governor’s School was an incredible experience for me as a high school student. Although I attended in Choral music, which was an awesome experience, I learned life lessons that I still use today. Being able to look at something differently and having the ability to come up with an alternative was something that I took from Governor’s School. It’s been many years now since I attended, but the impact of those few weeks live on with me everyday of both my professional and personal life.
2008 Choral Music
From Durham County
Governor’s School brought me in contact with other students from all over the state from a variety of backgrounds. I would have been able to attend with the tuition, but many of my friends would not have been able to do the same. Together, we of privileged or disadvantaged backgrounds, were able to think critically and creatively, to problem solve, to celebrate our culture, to pursue a high level of thought and understanding. I did not learn epistemology in school, I learned it at GS. I did not learn rhetoric in school, I learned it at GS. Many classical factors of education have been left behind in a rush of standardization to the detriment of our education. Governor’s School supplements this so atleast a portion of our students receive such training. Many academically gifted students feel bored in school because intensity has been lowered as time has gone on, but Governor’s School allows us a chance at such an education. Save this institution, for the betterment of our state.
1966 Art
From pitt County
I came from a small high school in rural eastern North Carolina. The educational exposure I received at the Governor’s School changed my life. I never had the encouragement to explore the Great Books of the Western World, art,music,dance,poetry,and literature in my high school preparation. GS taught me to think critically about my world, community and myself. The gift of attending the GS, defined who I became as a professional and a citizen of NC.
1985 Math
From Chatham County
Governor’s School opened doors and opportunities for me that I did not know existed. It gave me a chance to meet other students who excelled in both academics and extra-curricular activities. I credit Governor’s School for solidifying my decision to attend Wake Forest University and pursue a career in Mathematics/Software development. Twenty-seven years later I still meet former GS Alumni who has similar, positive memories of attending Governor’s School.
2003 Choral Music
From Wake County
Governor’s School was the most challenging, rewarding, and fun 6 week experience in my life. It fundamentally changed my beliefs in a positive way and enabled me to think more deeply and better articulate my beliefs. Because of Governor’s School, I feel more in touch with all disciplines, I constantly want to assess the value of the movies I watch and the books I read, and I have complete confidence to learn anything. Whereas before I might have seen a play and then happily put it in my rear view mirror as I left, now I choose to stop and reflect on my experience. There is no substitute for the quality, student-focused learning I had at Governor’s School. In my 16 years of school and 3 years as a physics teacher, I can safely say the learning that takes place at Governor’s School is far superior to anything I have ever encountered elsewhere. It is truly an oasis in a desert.
2006 Social Science
From Forsyth County
This program shaped me and all of my decisions moving forward in my life. It taught so much more than what I ever learned in my classroom in Kernersville and had an incredibly positive influence on my ability to get into college and be a successful student. Years later, I am a college graduate with a full time job in North Carolina. Every single person who knows me well knows what an incredible influence this program had on my life. To no longer provide funding for this program is unjust and robs the best and brightest of North Carolina of an incredible experience that will continue to better their academic endeavors, but also robs the future of who these students become as a result of this program.
1972 Math
From Buncombe County
I’ll repeat what I said above: I grew up in the mountains of NC. That summer in Winston-Salem was eye-opening in a number of ways. Two take-aways were that I was as capable as anyone else, and that I still had a lot to learn. I probably decided then that I would learn as much as I could, which ultimately led me to a PhD in engineering.
1989 Inst. Music
From Mecklenburg County
GS opened my eyes to so many things – ways of thinking, arts, politics, cultures… I left there a better person, a more aware person, a more engaged person. I learned to question for the sake of progress, even when it was scary. I learned to stand up for right, even if I stood alone. I learned to try again. I learned to take chances. I gained confidence in myself which allowed me to grow. Most importantly, I have passed all of this on to my students for 20 years. I am *that* teacher according to so many of my students, and (excepting my own son) that is my greatest source of pride. I only left the state of NC a year ago, so you got nearly 2 decades of return on your investment. That return spreads exponentially through each of my students. How many programs yield so much for so litte? Do NOT let this program end. Thank you.
2005 English
From Guilford County
Gifted Education is extremely important. So often these students are forgotten about and left un-nurtured because it is assumed that they can learn and grow independently. This is not the case. Governor’s School not only allows these students to develop social skills, but it can get them excited about learning again and allow them to get excited rather than bored. North Carolina’s program is the oldest in the nation, and it is imperative that we keep that legacy alive.
1984 Inst. Music
From New Hanover County
The 1984 NC Governor’s School East opened doors for me. As with all students who attend Governor’s school, I was an intelligent and successful student, however, I had not been encouraged to think “outside the box” until my summer at Governor’s School East. I learned that being “smart” was not limited to grades and academic success, but rather using the knowledge you have with critical thinking skills to achieve your goals. Seeing the world through my “new governor’s school” allowed for me to reach for my dreams as a musician and give me the confidence to pursue those dreams. I continued my musical pursuits by attending the Curtis Institute of Music. This past summer, 2011, my 17 year old daughter participated in the NC Governor’s School West. I cannot express the pride and enthusiasm I felt to have her experiencing what I had experienced 27 years before. I am proud that North Carolina has had the vision to offer opportunities to our students which are so unique.
2008 Social Science
From Mecklenburg County
I certainly would have been able to pay my way through Governor’s School. As a parochial student in Mecklenburg county, I am not exactly the student taxpayer funds should have sponsored for a summer. However, the other students I met at Governor’s School, who I engaged with daily on both an intellectual and social level, made me fall in love with North Carolina, in a way that 8 years of sheltered life in Charlotte suburbs never did. Now, as I study International Development at Duke University, my Governor’s school memories have stayed with me. Researching education disparities in India over a semester and summer, I couldn’t forget my conversations at Governor’s School, that students in NC also suffered from lack of parent support or knowledge, guidance, and information when applying for college. This is now the subject of my Senior Thesis. Thank you GSA, for my thorough introduction to my state, and for allowing me to meet NC’s best representatives, GSA students from all backgrounds.
2000 English
From Buncombe County
To be seventeen and away from home is one thing, but to also be in the most intellectually stimulating environment I have ever seen, before or since, is another thing all together. The staff and teachers at GSE kept a close watch on us as we pushed intellectual boundaries and questioned our comfort zones. I read some of the most fascinating literature I had ever come across in my Area I English classes. I saw world-class performances, put on by students in Music and Dance, that have yet to be equaled. In my Area II and III classes, I learned not to be afraid to ask deep, tough questions. I learned to love discussion and to think about the world I was a part of. And (perhaps the most miraculous thing that can happen to a teenager) I became comfortable in my own skin. I now strive to be the teacher that I would have wanted, nurturing creativity and analytical skills through texts that inspire sustained thought. NC needs GS – and it needs the future that students will help to create.
2009 Inst. Music
From Orange County
Governor’s School for me was a life changing experience. The people I met there opened my eyes to a range of possibilities and ideas beyond what we are taught at school. It taught me to approach everything from a new perspective, to challenge everything and accept nothing, and for that, I will always be grateful. Governor’s School produces thoughtful students- critical thinkers and doers ready to take a stand for what they believe in. Without Governor’s School, I don’t know where students are going to learn these lessons, or learn to become the individuals that Governor’s School strives to produce. North Carolina will lose a possibility for brilliance. The possibility to nurture the future- after all- students are the future. If the legislature wants to act in the best interest of the state of North Carolina, it will acknowledge that it needs to provide a means by which they can help develop students into the people that will be best for our future. This means, is Governor’s School.
2010 Art
From Union County
Attending GSW in 2010 established myself and my peers as the guinea pig class. Ours was the first year to have had the $500 tuition placed on our acceptance. This lofty fee would have been a significant struggle for my family to produce, so it is with all the thankfulness in me that I say that my tuition was paid in full by my high school. My scholarship was just the first blessing to come out of my experience with the Governor’s School program. I entered into a six-week hiatus from “the real world” in an environment as unique as the 300 attendees, wherein we were able to look at ourselves, our lives, and each other in ways we hadn’t before. Governor’s School allowed me to explore any artistic path I could think of, and many that I had not. I implore the reader of this testimony to do their part in sustaining the single most influential program in the state of North Carolina.
2003 Choral Music
From Orange County
Attending Governor’s School was the most formative experience of my young adult life. Spending six weeks with ambitious, like minded peers with such amazing exposure and encouragement to think creatively and discover enabled me to find my own voice. I returned for my senior year of high school more comfortable in my own skin and ready to lead. I wouldn’t trade the experience for anything in the world and hope that ambitious young students have this opportunity for generations to come. I’d be happy to expound more, especially with direction as to what would be most helpful. Feel free to write (matt.ilinitch@gmail.com) or call (cell: 919-360-7278, office: 202-939-5597). I’m so proud of the fundraising efforts and the great work so many alumni have put in to keep this program going. Please let me know how I can help.
1996 English
From New Hanover County
If we as a state are going to grow to meet the demands of the 21st century, then we must actively work to preserve and expand the Governor’s School program. Part of the reason that I have an advanced degree (doctorate) and work in the public sector in North Carolins is the influence of GS on my thoughts as a rising high school senior. Governor’s School made me realize I had a duty to give back to the state that had given me so much, in particular this amazing opportunity to spend six weeks exploring new ideas. I cannot emphasize what a profound, life-changing effect this program had for me and thousands of others like me. I urge you to restore full funding to the GS program and to eliminate the tuition requirement so that the program is based purely on merit and not ability to pay.
2005 Natural Science
From Cabarrus County
Governor’s School helped me become the person that I am today. I came from a low income background, and I remember the thought of actually getting to go to a summer camp was so exciting, not only because I wanted to go, but because I knew my family could afford $free. At Governor’s School I learned about myself, and I learned about my peers. I learned to be confident in myself an my opinions. I learned that it was good to learn, and not to stop learning, which is not what the environment in my school always conveyed. The teachers were wonderful and caring people that changed my life, and I met some of my best friends there that help me as a professional, and as a person. Governor’s School taught me about being a person who could positively impact the community and to always keep an open mind about who belongs in that community (Hint: It’s everyone). Without Governor’s School I would not be the person I am today, and without Governor’s school I wouldn’t know how awesome that person is.
1993 Inst. Music
From Edgecombe County
I attended Governor’s School East in 1993, and I still consider this one of the best and most important times of my life. I was able to grow and mature physically, mentally, and intellectually. The lessons learned there greatly influenced who I am today. I was exposed to different people, cultures, and gained new perspectives on others, as well as myself. I continue to live and work in eastern NC and I take great pride in the fact that I was fortunate enough to attend Governor’s School when I did. I also take pride in the fact that the idea of Governor’s School began in our great state. I know that our program was used as a model for programs in other states. It would be a shame to lose an educational program as important as Governor’s School. It is obvious that this program has benefited North Carolina tremendously by investing in a unique education experience of some of the brightest students from across the state who will and have become leaders in our state and nation.
1986 Math
From Robeson County
The impact Governor’s School had on my life is so difficult to put into words. It was a true experience, rather than a single event. I grew up a shy kid in a rural county. I was shy because I was too afraid to speak up in class and ask the questions I wanted to ask. Thankfully, my teachers knew there was “more” than I expressed. My summer at Governor’s School was a true experience. I met others who had the same struggles as me. I finally felt comfortable in my own skin and was able to go forward knowing “it’s okay to be smart.”
1973 Inst. Music
From Alamance County
More than my own GS experience, I have seen the extremely positive impact GS had on two of my children who were fortunate enough to attend GS in the recent years. My son attended GS West in 2001 in Math and went on to earn a batchelors degree in Math from Duke University, a Masters degree in Higher Edcuation Studies from Oxford University on a Rhodes scholarship and a JD degree from Yale University. My daughter attended GS East in 2007 in Social Science and is now a senior at UNC-CH. She will graduate in May with a degree in Psychology, following in the footsteps of the instructors she had at GS.
1990 Theatre
From Jackson County
Governor’s School made me feel I was accepted, and encouraged to be myself – as wacky, smart, and individual as I could be. I was given a challenge, and shown that the only way to fail it was to not participate. I was introduced to concepts and philosophies that I might never have come into contact with otherwise, and my life has been enhanced because of them. Since then, I’ve tried to make the rest of my world and life more like those 6 weeks, and extend that GS love, challenge, encouragement, and acceptance to those around me who weren’t as fortunate as I was to be a part of it.
2005 Math
From Rockingham County
GSE opened my eyes to topics that I didn’t know existed, it put me in a situation where I grew mentally and prepared me for my college career in a way that my county high school never could. To take this opportunity away from current and future high school students is a travesty. Today, teachers do the best they can do with what they are given, and that’s all that can be done. With Governor’s School, there is no such ties. This is a place that is open to new ideas and people are not judged for their uniqueness and their creativity is cherished. I learned topics in Governor’s School that later impacted my decision to be a Mathematical Economics major at Wake Forest University. It started me down the right path in my life, and I fear that I would not be where I am today without the influence the my classmates and teachers at GSE had on me. I hope legislators will soon see how deeply GS has impacted the economic and social welfare of our great state.
2010 Social Science
From Iredell County
Being a student at GSW was the best experience of my life. Oftentimes, looking back, alumni will tell stories of the amazing people they met and made friends with, because it is something we recall incredibly fondly. But NCGS is also so much more. As a student, the way you think is revolutionized. After my classes there and the performances and seminars I attended, I thought carefully before I spoke or acted. GS teaches us to see the world not as a set of complicated problems that are easiest dealt with by ignoring them, a trap that is easy for this generation to fall into. Instead, we are taught to look at the world around us as something to be delved into with all we are. What makes it matter to me so much is that I know it does this for NC kids year after year. It lights a fire within, which becomes a never-ending desire to learn and experience and solve anything and everything. And in our current state, passionate problem-solvers with an eye for the big picture are invaluable.
2010 Foreign Language
From Guilford County
Governor’s School gives high school students the inspiration and tools to become the leaders of tomorrow by challenging them to think about their passions and the world in a new way, helping them to encounter new perspectives and the beliefs of others, and forcing them to explore their passions and beliefs. It develops them into critical thinkers, teaches them how to ask the right questions, and gives them access to a wealth of resources, information, and opportunities that they would never get otherwise. Ultimately, it is a major stepping stone for many students to a more fulfilling, compassionate life full of leadership, learning, and exploration. Governor’s School is a priceless experience that develops future leaders in a way that a standard education cannot, and our state and world would sorely miss it if it were to be eliminated.
1973 Inst. Music
From Wake County
The betterment of our society depends on an active, mentally and socially engaged population. Gifted and talented students are often the ones who recieve the least attention in today’s schools where “No Child Left Behind” and the testing associated with it have become the end all and be all of education. Students who are gifted can move beyond mere tests in education, and they are allowed to explore thoughts and ideas based on facts in a deeper way through programs such as the NC Governor’s School. Creativity, whether in the arts or in postulating new theories in science, advance society as a whole. This kind of creativity is fostered at GS. SO whether a student remains in NC, or goes beyond the NC borders, the experience at GS provides an opportunity for gifted and talented students to expand their horizons beyond traditional schooling for the betterment of society.
1992 Inst. Music
From Cabarrus County
Simply put, Governor’s School changes the lives of many North Carolinians. I need not extol those virtues that so many of my fellow alumni have put more eloquently than I have. I will say that my Governor’s School experience still affects my life every day, twenty years later. I think of the people, the lessons, the amount of time I was allowed to spend pursuing a passion, and the many experiences I had there. Many people who I went to GS with are now community leaders, teachers (often in the subjects we studied at GS), and active community members in NC. I literally had dinner with one classmate last night, who has returned to NC to continue her post-doctorate work, and who introduced me to my spouse at UNC-Chapel Hill. I literally cannot go a day of my life without thinking about the Governor’s School of North Carolina.
1988 Inst. Music
From Wake County
I teach at one of the top liberal arts colleges in the US: a place that could be a natural extension of GS if it were to became a 4-year program. Without the slightest hint of exaggeration, my testimony has been and always will be that my 6 weeks at Governor’s School West in 1988 had the most profound effect on my eventual understanding of who I am, what I should be doing, what music is and isn’t and what kind of composer and citizen I would strive to be of any single experience or event. I tell my students about it regularly, always attempt to recreate a hint of that experience in every class I teach, and I have maintained lifelong friendships from those 6 weeks. My family absolutely could not have afforded this great experience had it cost $500 for me to attend. I am thrilled to have had even a meager part in helping to save it and I hope this outpouring from the community will finally earn Governor’s School the right to not have to defend its existence every year.
1988 Math
From Wake County
Governor’s School was a life changing experience for me, socially and academically. It made me that much more determined to get out into the world and find my place in it. High achievement was not popular in my high school but it has been instrumental in helping me get to where I am today. GS showed me I was on the right path to have a great life.
2001 Inst. Music
From Wake County
Attending Governor’s school exposed me to a range of problems of current interest that the world’s great thinkers are working on. I also met and interacted with the state’s top students and future leaders. This kind of exposure is invaluable for developing talent in North Carolina and bringing the benefits of an ever more linked society and culture to our state. Mainly as a result of meeting the many unique students at Governor’s School and hearing their stories, I was inspired to imagine beyond the world I had previously known. That sort of thinking only happens through exposure to new people and ideas. Governor’s School created a unique environment for this exposure at a formative moment in my life. -Brendan Shields BS Physics, MIT MA Physics, Harvard PhD Candidate at Harvard
1977 English
From Mecklenburg County
In high school, I learned “stuff.” At Governor’s School, I started to learn HOW TO THINK, a process that has continued through college, a lengthy and varied career and into my current job and graduate program. I had fun. I learned. And I made friends for life. As a student at a large, cosmopolitan high school, I knew people like me weren’t that unusual, but at GS I met a lot of kids who literally had never met someone else like themselves. They were finding out for the first time in their lives that they were gifted and/or talented, NOT freaks. My parents, at the time, could have swung $500 in tuition. But I knew a lot of kids whose families couldn’t have. And in today’s Little Depression, I suspect the proportion is even higher. I’m now a single dad, and if my daughter wants to go to GS in three years, I’m not sure where the money would come from.
2000 Social Science
From Wilkes (went to high school in Iredell) County
Governor’s School is an amazing and unique program that sets North Carolina apart from other states. I work in higher education in a different state now, and the opportunities that Governor’s School provides are unrivaled by other states. It’s a life-changing program that prepares students for higher education like no other.
2004 Theatre
From Cleveland County
The education received through Governor’s School is about much more than your area of concentration. The program as a whole gives students the opportunity to connect their skills, interests, and education. These students go on to be the truly creative ones, whether it be creating a small business or bringing change to a UNC campus. It taught us that there are no limits, everything is connected and the possibilities are limitless, not just for ourselves but for what we can do for the home state that has given this opportunity.
1968 Math
From Guilford County
Governor’s School is the first statewide peer-to-peer networking experience that most high school students can experience. I attended in 1968, forming many friendships with students all across the state. Like most alumni, I built on those relationships and preseved them through the university years and for decades beyond. Similar strong bonds have been reported by many alumni over the past 49 years of the program, not just as teenage friendships, but as mature relatinships as adults, in their professions, politics, chuch life, community service and volunteerism benefitting all our citizens. Our state is justly proud to be a leader in education, especially at the collegiate level. GS prepares over 600 students a year to enter our universities and colleges with an increased capacity for learning, and with a greater thirst for excellence. It is a good investment for our tax dollars, with a 49 year track record of success. Hopefully, the legislature will restore full funding for 2013.
2010 Natural Science
From Ashe County
GS is an experience like no other; it changes lives in a unique and beneficial way. I cannot think of any other event in my past that improved me in such a round manner and prepared me to claim the future I desired. The passion for knowledge, action, and community that one experiences while at GS is essential in nurturing the brilliance of North Carolina students, who will mature into active citizens that will contribute significantly to their communities. Not only does GS shape students into contributing members of their state, but it also encourages students to impact their nation and world.
2003 Math
From Cabarrus County
Governors School is an amazing program which provides some of the best and brightest minds in our state an outlet to learn and develop in an honestly amazing environment. I can not speak for every other alumnus, but I know that it was a pivotal point in my life which allowed me to see myself as something more than just a nerd. The learning which occurs at GS is a different level than that which occurs in any public Highschool, and even more than in many of my college classes.
2005 Theatre
From Moore County
GS remains, to date, the most transformational experience of my life. I was presented with the most advanced and contemporary ideas in the arts and sciences and challenged to express their import and relevance to our increasingly complex society. This was the first and only opportunity I have had that addresses the vastness of the human experience from such a myriad of perspectives. With the arts and the sciences being pursued at such a high standard and in such close proximity, we begin to approach a true understanding of the depth and interconnection of cultures across humanity. We gain a fuller and more meaningful knowledge of ourselves and others. It is a vile monstrosity that blooming and brilliant minds are denied opportunity because they do not have money. That is the depressing refrain throughout America. GS was the glorious exception that rebelled and endeavored to establish a true meritocracy honoring talent and achievement without regard to circumstance. Invest in our future
1992 Choral Music
From Wake County
I think that Governor’s School is a truly life-changing event for students of North Carolina. I had an amazing experience there. I came from Raleigh, from an excellent school, and still had an experience that changed my life. It broadened my outlook on life, gave me opportunities from scholarships that I was able to receive, helped to foster my life-long love of music, and helped me to get into medical school. I believe the experience made me a more well-rounded person and well-rounded physician. I know from my friends at Governor’s School that came from more rural areas, that it was an extraordinary event that made them different people. I cannot say enough good things about my 6 weeks there and the long-lasting friendships I made. It truly opened doors for me, and I would not be who I am today without that experience. We need to keep the program alive that was first developed in NC by Governor Sanford and that so many states now copy for their own students.
2008 Natural Science
From Cleveland County
Governor’s School taught me that there was a world outside of my home town. I was introduced to some of the most intelligent, hard-working individuals that I am friends with to this day. Governor’s School was the first institution that taught me to think creatively, deeply, and passionately, and I am still growing those areas that first began at Meredith College years ago. Without Governor’s School in my life I simply wouldn’t be same person that I am to this day. There is an entire generation of North Carolinians that owe an awful lot to Governor’s School, and I am proud to include myself in that group.
2008 Math
From McDowell County
Governor’s school exposed me to people from all walks of life. My personal beliefs were tried and I understood better why I believed what I believe. It helped me understand other people better and to be more open to them. I learned how important support groups can be and now because of Governor’s School I have a support system of people all over North Carolina. I learned about being on my own, without my parents. I learned how to not be dependent on someone for my entire life, and became my own person. These are all qualities that teenagers getting ready to graduate need. I learned how to think, instead of just learn and that it was ok to not understand everything. In high school, you don’t learn any of that. I don’t know if I could tell you one thing I learned in high school because they just wanted you to do well on the test. In Governor’s School I can tell you a lot of the conversations and lessons we had. It stuck unlike my public education. I think that says more than anything.
1984 Math
From Stokes County
Governor’s School is one of the jewels of North Carolina’s educational system. I can tell you that other states – particularly in the SE – look to NC as a great example. Dismantling this program or turning it into something that only children whose families have the financial means to send them would be a major disappointment to lots of people but also makes NC less of a leader in education. Being able to attend GS has opened the door for thousands of very bright students in NC. It affirms their intelligence and creativity in a special way that regular schooling cannot provide, giving them confidence for entering the higher education system. If GS disappears or if it becomes something only for students whose families can afford tuition, there is no way of measuring what is lost to NC and to the world. Keep it going, give these students the opportunity to learn and express themselves. Give them confidence to go out and make a difference.
1985 Math
From Edgecombe County
Words cannot describe how important to preserve Governor’s School for future generations. Governor’s School allows students to grow beyond their econcomic, financial or social limitations and to become the best person they can become. Governor’s School also shows the students that they are not alone (i.e. there are other gifted students just like themselves who are also well-rounded individuals with interests beyond the classroom). Furthermore, the friendships developed at Governor’s School enabled the students to have friends at the various NC colleges and universiites. Governor’s School alumni have gone to to become doctors, lawyers, engineers, professors, politicians, etc. These students may not have succeeded if not for Governor’s School. Finally, our children are our future and we cannot under any circumstances sacrifice their futures because of the decisions that we have made.
2010 Social Science
From Union County
My family couldn’t afford the $500 tuition that was charged in 2010 when I went to Governor’s School. I was only able to go because my county decided to pay the extra cost. I was lucky my county cared enough to pay my way. Governor’s School needs to be preserved to show students that their counties and states care about their education on more than just a minimal level. I learned more useful information in 6 weeks at Governor’s School than I did in the 4 years that I attended my public high school. Showing the students of North Carolina that their education matters will better motivate them to do something with the education they receive, and to give back to the community that gave it to them. Why give back to a system that did nothing for you? JFK said not to ask what your country can do for you but what you can do for your country. Unfortunately, if your country, state, or county hasn’t informed and educated you enough, you can’t even come up with the right questions to ask.
2010 Social Science
From Davidson County
I find it difficult to express what I learned while at Governor’s School. As a Social Sciences student, I developed my knowledge of politics, consumerism, and conservation, but I also found myself among a group of people that, despite the many differences in religious, political, social, and economic background, shared my love of learning. My experience broadened my horizons, which many traditional schools neglect to do. Governor’s School offers its students a unique opportunity to learn free of pressure or fear of judgement, and to limit this experience to only those students that are fortunate enough to be able to afford it would be not only harm these students, but the state of North Carolina. Governor’s School inspired many students, including me, to pursue a higher education in order to better the nation and state in which they live, and without it many future doctors, lawyers, politicians, scientists, and professors would never exist.
1992 Natural Science
From Wayne County
Made me see that the world was much larger than my own backyard. Came home with a new sense of self and believing in my own ideas-less influenced by others and less interested in the pettiness of high school. I had a confidence in my faith, ideas, an ability to believe in myself. Far more than the academics! I got more out of the encouragement to try new things and that not conforming was ok. Changed me! My family saw it too. Mom still credits GSW 20 years later for being a turning point for me. I am better able to empathize with others and see more than one side of an issue from GSW. It was the first time my ideas about life were challenged and they were challenged in a safer environment than be tested for the first time in college. It gave me a confidence that I still have and allowed me to see it was alright to take risks. I am not sure I would have started my own business or had the confidence to take the road less traveled without this experience. I thank God and NC for it!
1994 Social Science
From Henderson County
Although I was the valedictorian of my tiny high school in Western NC, on the homecoming court, and captain of various athletic teams, Governor’s School came at a point in time when my sense of confinement and self-destructive behavior threatened my sanity and well-being. Governor’s School allowed me to be with a group of motivated, thoughtful, passionate and talented students and teachers in a grade-free environment where learning was its own reward. I shudder to think what might have become of me had I spent the summer before senior year left to my own devices in Hendersonville. Governor’s school was exhilirating and unequivocally the best experience I had in high school–I cried for 3 days straight when I left. It helped me explore some of society’s most significant themes and forced me to probe my own thinking on critical issues and career plans. These lines of thought continue to shape my life and the fingerprint I hope to leave on the world. I can’t say enough for GS.
1993 English
From Nash County
I am a university professor of foreign language and literature. I attended GS in English, and I truly believe that much of what I learned that summer about literary theory introduced me to concepts that still form the basis of my thinking today. I was exposed to ideas, theories, and artistic works that I still remember quite vividly, and still refer to in my professional work. Governor’s School was the first time that I felt surrounded by people my age to whom I could relate and who challenged me inside and outside the classroom. GS was one of the most outstanding experiences of my life and I hope that the state will not let it slip away for other students.
2009 Choral Music
From Wilson County
You probably hear often that phrase, “Governor’s school changed my life.” While that’s true, GS has done so much more. It opened up my blind eyes to the world. It made me realize just how thankful I am for my family, my friends, and my life. Governor’s School helped me realize that I, just a student, can actually make a difference in the world; whether that be through singing for someone, helping to build a house for someone less fortunate, or even just influencing others by finding out who I really am and what it is that makes me tick. Governor’s School helped me to realize just how strong my faith can be and ever since I’ve been striving to obtain that level. God is using GS to open up people’s perspectives to not just their high schools, but to their counties, to theiry state, to their country, and to their world. It was an essential time in my life, and I believe that it should never be forsaken.
1973 Choral Music
From Mecklenburg County
Attending the Governor’s School was an unforgettably transformative, milestone experience in my life. For 6 weeks, I got to meet and go to school with people like me. It was both heady and humbling stuff. The Governor’s School is a grand testimony to the wisdom and courage of North Carolinians and the high value we have always placed on educating the best and brightest. We have always believed that our state, particularly in the south, was set apart from the rest and the Governor’s School is a key reason why we believe this is so. All these years later, I am a proud North Carolinian and financial supporter of my alma mater, UNC Chapel Hill and the Governor’s School of North Carolina. Kind regards, Dave Thompson GS ’73
1995 English
From Wayne County
Governor’s School was the first place where I felt it was acceptable to my peers for me to be smart, to be interested in pursuing knowledge for reasons other than grades, to be genuinely interested in higher-level discussions. The important piece here is “to my peers,” as I had never felt that acceptance before. For me, Governor’s School was college before college.
2010 Math
From Wake County
Essay Walking into GS, I had a firm understanding of math up to calculus and statistics. However, theory, intensive proofs, and math without arithmetic were all new to me. This other world of math challenged me to dig for answers and to think on a higher level. The academic climax of my experience was solving a proof in Knot Theory that we had built a foundation for over three weeks. My experience at GS was much more than a blur of abstract equations. I was thrilled to be surrounded by gifted teenagers who were passionate about their talents and were willing to explore subjects outside of their comfort zones. Knowing that freedom of expression was welcome provided me with the opportunity to engage in open-minded conversations. Discussing philosophical questions that fueled my brain and attending seminars that covered a wide variety of topics have strengthened my intellectual reasoning and curiosity. Now that I have been exposed to diverse cultures and opinions, I long for college.
2008 Choral Music
From Gaston County
Governor’s School is an experience that I wish every high school student could participate in. As the future leaders of our beloved state and nation, current high school students need this period of educational, personal, and creative nourishment in order to be at the highest level and caliber of success that they can be. If Governor’s School is not funded for 2013, a deep wound will be inflicted upon the NC education system as we know it. Those who are eligible to attend Governor’s School need this special outlet to better themselves and realize how important they are, as well as the importance of the world around them. Without this institution, we will produce a state full of students who graduate having not yet been pushed to their full potential. As I said before, I wish that every high school student had the chance to go to Governor’s School. I believe that it has a life-changing impact at a crucial point in the academic life of a student and if not funded, would be a huge loss.
2004 Choral Music
From Durham County
If every potential Governor’s School student were like me (middle class, both parents with higher education, living in a university town with abundant resources in & out of the public school system) preserving Governor’s School might not be so important. I would still argue for it, because I truly enjoyed my time at GSE and forged friendships there that will probably last for the rest of my life. But that’s not why North Carolina needs to keep Governor’s School going. NC needs Governor’s School for the students I met there who expected to be the first college graduate in their families, who came from schools that didn’t have enough teachers, students, or funding for AP or honors classes. Those are the students who need Governor’s School the most, and some of them have already missed out on it because their parents couldn’t afford even the modest tuition required last year. Their potential deserves at least as much encouragement and support as mine did, and GS is where they can get it.
1999 Math
From Alamance County
Though I don’t live in North Carolina currently, I’ve been amazed that anytime I meet someone around my age who grew up in North Carolina, I am highly likely to have lots of mutual friends and acquaintances. This is entirely because of the close friends I made at Governor’s School, forming a social web across the entire state, with people I could relate to better than almost any at my high school. This is a sense of connection with the people of North Carolina that I never would have had without Governor’s School. I wasn’t born in North Carolina, but it feels like home largely because of my experience at Governor’s School and what that made possible.
1998 Choral Music
From New Hanover County
North Carolina is rapidly becoming a leader in such fields as healthcare, biomedical advancements, the arts and countless other business ventures. The breeding ground for such innovation is Governor’s School. It is in that environment, and that environment alone, that we are encouraged, and expected, to imagine the impossible and make it possible. We are told that we are the leaders that will bring innovation and creativity to the world. With 50 years of alumni being given this message,is it any wonder that our state is growing exponentially? We create lasting friendships, have life- changing, and eye-opening, experiences, and we emerge from the summer determined to change our worlds. If you take this away from future generations, you are sacrificing the long-term success of our state for a short-term financial gain. To do that is to commit one of the greatest injustices in our state educational system.
1998 Dance
From Wake County
While I also owe a lot of credit to an excellent public magnet high school (W.G. Enloe) for being well-prepared to succeed in higher education, Governor’s School allowed me to pursue interdiscipinary interests and to simultaneously pursue my more academic side and my creative side in dance. As a result of the supportive GS community and environment, I went on to design my own interdiscipinary studies major as an undergraduate and was the first to pursue an innovative dual degree path as a Master’s student. I truly believe that GS helped to put me on this path.
1983 Theatre
From Durham County
My GSW class has meteorologists, ophthalmologists,attorneys,doctors,scientists, business owners, & many in nonprofits,from Food Bank to Junior League. As transient as central NC is now, many of us never left!I have to think that it’s partly because when we were 16,we learned that Henderson is not Hendersonville, and Albemarle is nowhere near the Albemarle Sound. If GS is to be student-funded,concentrations from big cities will skyrocket,&other demographics will flatten. When a hurricane hits Princeton, they won’t send money, clothes & books, because a GSW friend’s family is there. I care more about places because of the people with whom I associate them. Governor’s School made me care about NC, as 100 counties worth of people to know. I would be disappointed if my children could not compete to attend GS. But I’d be even more sad, if everyone from our school, church, or club, went along with them. The important balances for which GS is known, should not be sacrificed!
2007 Art
From Forsyth County
Governor’s school changed my life and my perspective. It opened my eyes to so many new things and I am constantly drawing from my gs experience in my adult life. I can’t imagine what a difference it would have made if my entire education was like that of my experience at governors school. It is an invaluable asset to the state and without it my respect for the educational system in north Carolina would plummet.
2010 English
From Orange County
Governor’s School brings together students from all corners of North Carolina and allows them to develop an understanding of the perspectives of others. Students from different parts of the state have vastly different perspectives, and the opportunity to interact with each other is invaluable. I met students who had been persecuted for their race or sexual orientation, or for dating or befriending someone of another race or sexual orientation. For these students, being in a safe and nonjudgmental environment was new. I had come from an academically competitive high school, and the idea that we could reach high levels of achievement through cooperation, without putting down those around us, was amazing. I had always felt self-conscious about expressing my own academic interests, but at Governor’s School everyone around me encouraged me to talk about my dreams and goals. I returned to my high school feeling impervious to the petty rivalries my classmates held, and confident in myself.
2000 Social Science
From Cleveland County
GS opened my eyes and better prepared me for college and life beyond. I’m still in touch with several friends I made there. Considering it was only a few weeks out of my life, GS made a huge impact.
2010 Theatre
From Chatham County
Students who attend Governor’s School are already bright as it is, but the experience of Governor’s School gives students so much confidence to pursue what is important to them and shows them the many ways they can help better their community. Both as an alum and as friends of other alumni, I have personally seen and felt the growth of a student after attending GS.
2003 Natural Science
From Forsyth County
The opportunity that Governor’s School provides to inspire and educate the best and brightest of North Carolina is available literally nowhere else. Governor’s School plays a vital role in supporting the future of North Carolinians, and its absence would create a significant gap in the future opportunities for our next generation.
1984 English
From Mitchell County
Here is a copy of an email I sent last week to Billy Roberts from the Golden Leaf Foundation: Billy – Just wanted to drop you a note and thank you and Golden Leaf Foundation Board of Directors for your recent support of the North Carolina’s Governor’s School Foundation. The grant was instrumental in keeping this valuable program alive while the Foundation seeks permanent funding. As a 1984 graduate of Governor’s School, I convey to you the impact Governor’s School had on my life. Having grown up in Spruce Pine, Governor’s School was a bit of culture shock for me. I had never been around so many intelligent and hard-working people. The summer program motivated me to work harder and actually enjoy learning for the first time. The $15,000 set aside for student tuition in the poorest counties is especially appreciated. It would be a shame for deserving students to miss out on this opportunity because they could not afford the $500 price tag now associated with Governor’s School
1970 Theatre
From Onslow County
Great countries — and states — are built upon great ideas. Great ideas come from creative people — engineers and inventors, designers and painters, actors and dancers, singers and orchestra members, poets and historians. Creativity is a gift. Creativity is also a skill, that benefits from practice, nurturing and the company of creative people from disciplines other than their own.Governor’s School is fundamentally about creativity and the necessity of nurturing it in people who come from and return to the country roads and villages of North Carolina as well as the great cities here and elsewhere. Smart, talented young people have lots of options now. But Governor’s School is surely the only one that exists to benefit the state of North Carolina by inspiring exceptionally talented young people to work together to discover new ways of doing almost everything. Our state cannot keep improving without that inspiration. Governor’s School is clearly our best hope for igniting it.
1988 English
From Cumberland County
From at least the ’40s forward, North Carolina cultivated a reputation for forward-looking, pragmatic governance. Moderate, centrist governors from both parties (they eventually got a couple Republicans in there, but really, how much did it *matter* that Hodges and Moore and the Scotts were Democrats, or that Holshouser and Martin weren’t?) launched all sorts of state-sponsored initiatives to make life better for North Carolinians — state support for the NC Symphony, Research Triangle Park, the NC Zoo, the expansion and improvement of the UNC System, the School of the Arts, the School of Science and Math, various nature- and cultural-preservation efforts, and the Governor’s Schools, among others. It’s heartbreaking to see how some factions are intent on tearing it all down, devoted to short-sighted false economies and the notion that state support for the public good is somehow tyrannous. North Carolina, which I love, would be sadly impoverished by losing the Governor’s Schools.
2010 English
From Moore County
In my experience, Governor’s School revealed an entirely new face to education. I experienced the passion for learning and the encouragement to surpass boundaries that is so often lacking in the public school system. Through my exposure to both the teachers and the students that Governor’s School supports, a curiosity was planted, pushing me to explore the educational inequities that the program attempts to combat and consider future work in advocating for educational reform in North Carolina. I am currently studying at a top university in North Carolina, hoping to better the state through direct volunteering in the school system and through political involvement seeking educational equality. My summer at Governor’s School provided me with both the inspiration to pursue such involvement and the connections, here and in other states, to feel confident in doing so. Governor’s School stretches beyond a single summer, creating an invaluable community of teachers, learners, and friends.
2000 Choral Music
From Gaston County
Governor’s School was one of the defining moments of my life. It is an experience I want all students to have the chance to share, especially my two younger sisters, both of whom are currently high school students in NC. It was an experience that taught me independence, but more importantly, an experience that taught me to appreciate my life and the world around me in a much different way. It would be unfair for future students to be robbed of this opportunity. That is why I donated to the cause of keeping NCGS open and will stand behind it for future state funding.
2000 Choral Music
From Durham County
I still value my time spent at Governor’s School West during the summer of 2000. Don’t deny future North Carolina high schoolers the opportunity to learn, explore, self-discover, philosophize, make beautiful art, and forge lasting friendships!
1990 Math
From Davidson County
Attending GS was life-changing. I was exposed to new ideas and new ways of thinkings. I gained confidence in my abilities and was challenged to use my abilities and talents and to make an impact on my community and on the world. I have lived in NC my entire life and now am a professor at a NC college. I believe many GS alumni have chosen to stay in NC and give back to NC as professionals because of the positive experiences, like GS, that we had the privilege of participating in. I honestly don’t know if I would be where I am today if I hadn’t had the opportunity to attend GS.
2004 Choral Music
From Orange County
I am a 25 year old high school chorus teacher in North Carolina and I attended Governor’s School East in the summer of 2004 as a member of the choral music area. Had it not been for that summer, I would be scared to follow what deep down I knew was my passion and what I wanted to share with others. To be able to go from not knowing exactly what I wanted to do to be so sure of the rest of my life in a mere six weeks was an incredible feeling. From the end of that summer, I have followed this feeling since and wonderful things have happened. The people around me know that I am genuine and fair, and that I will listen to whatever they have to say and respect it. I try to bring a little bit of Governor’s School wherever I go, especially when I teach. Had it not been for Governor’s School, I would never have become a teacher, followed music as a career, or become a teacher in North Carolina. Thanks to Governor’s School, I have a purpose and a career that helps our great state.
1980 Foreign Language
From Monroe County
The Governor’s School experience was the single most important event of my becoming a young adult. It helped shape who I am today, a happy well-adjusted, loving and participating member of the world. Before GS, I wasn’t sure it was ok to be smart, talented, and different. My summer experience showed me that I wasn’t alone and taught me how to excel with others just like me. I remember it like yesterday nearly 30 years later!
2006 Math
From Rockingham County
Looking back, Governor’s school meant a lot to me. At the time, I just thought it was fun to basically be at a college with a lot of bright and talented high schoolers but not have to worry about grades or test. Now, I see that Governor’s school gave me a confidence I hadn’t had before, both academically & socially. I felt I could get into any college I applied to and take my life in any direction I desired. It is still one of the most defining moments in my life.
1979 Math
From Henderson County
If we do not foster excellence among our best and brightest, how will we ever maintain standards of excellence?
2010 Math
From Wilkes County
Governor’s school helped me choose my current major. I had always been interested in mathematics; however, prior to Governor’s School, I had never been exposed to careers in mathematics beyond teaching. Governor’s School showed me a wide range of research opportunities in the area that were of great interest to me. Today, I am double majoring in mathematics and cellular/molecular biology with a concentration on pre-medicine. I would have probably never decided on those majors and that path for my future if it was not for Governor’s school. It challenged me to apply my knowledge beyond the classroom in the broader setting of the future of the subject.
2000 Social Science
From Caldwell County
I think GS was helpful but I don’t see why this sort of program couldn’t be available to everyone attending public school and not just the “most gifted” according to some arbitrary yard stick. Now that I’m older, I feel the experience was elitist and feeds into a mindset that the betters deserves the best there is to offer and the rest get the remains.
2006 Dance
From Wake County
Growing up in a middle-class home with parents and brothers that were well-educated, my beliefs were pretty traditional and never challenged. Governor’s School changed that. I learned how to articulate my values and beliefs, while listening and understanding others. I was uncomfortable talking about my faith in some cases, but it was a growing experience. I met people with radical ideas and passions, things that I had never really thought about before. Everyday challenged and inspired me. GS taught me who I was and who I wanted to become. It influenced my decision of where to go to college and what to do while I was there. I loved every minute of learning that took place on campus. Many people asked why I would voluntarily go to school in the summer — but with no pressure of grades or tests — I went for joy of learning and growing.
2001 Choral Music
From Orange County
Governor’s School meant an enormous amount to students from the poorer and more rural parts of the state. It introduced knowledge and ideas they just couldn’t have gotten in their home school districts. NCGS levels the playing field in an important way. My friends in the Chapel Hill-Carrboro school district shouldn’t be the only ones who get the educational opportunities they need to become North Carolina’s next generation of leaders.
1990 Art
From Buncombe County
During college I served on the Dean’s Councill and President’s Councill. I was also the president of our student professional organization. I know that I would not have considered taking those leadership roles had I not attended Governor’s school.
1991 Math
From Franklin County
I met my college roommate of 4 years at GS and also several other guys that formed my social network all through college. To this day, our group is still very close and converse/get together on a regular basis. We all attended UNC and have traveled to bowl games and Final Fours together and have been in each others weddings along the way. I have no doubts that my college experience and life in general would have been very different were it not for GSW 91! Coming from a small town and a rural area, GS really opened my eyes to all of the possibilities and opportunities that the world had to offer. It offered a platform to be able to think outside of the box and challenge ideas that I never thought about otherwise.
1992 Natural Science
From Orange County
Governor’s School is a unique opportunity for the best and brightest of our state to come together and learn from each other and from highly qualified faculty. So many of our academically and artistically advanced students do not have true peers in their local schools – coming to Governor’s School introduces them to a community of similarly outstanding students that can inspire, nurture, and challenge them for decades into the future. I can honestly say that before attending Governor’s School I had not considered applying to Harvard University for college. Governor’s School showed me how I could shine in a multiculturally, multi-SES, multi-gendered environment. Because of the confidence I had in myself coming out of the program I applied and was accepted early to Harvard. After concluding my studies at Harvard I came home to North Carolina, in part to share back with the state in thanks for what the state had given me in schooling. I am proud to be faculty at UNC-CH now!
2010 Choral Music
From Orange County
Governor’s School helped me to really expand my thinking outside of the box. it also helped prepare me for college because of the environment and structure of everyday classes. On top of the learning experience, I had so much fun and made friends that I still keep in contact with. I was introduced to new hobbies such as song writing and have learned a lot about myself and my abilities. I believe that governor’s school made a tremendous impact on my life and depriving students from the opportunity would be terribly sad and unjust.
1988 Art
From Wake County
Going to Governor’s school changed my life. It gave me a chance to grow my art skills and expand my perception of the world. It gave me the taste of what it is like to excel outside of the public school system. Governor’s school solidified my career path which I am still enjoying over 20 years later. I was a student at a pretty affluent high school, but my family wasn’t affluent. I would not have been able to afford the current proposed tuition and would have lost out on the one of my most life altering experiences.
2007 Social Science
From Haywood County
For the first time in an educational setting I felt challenged both academically as well as my mindset. It changed the way I look at the world and prepared me for college and the real world. The friends that I made at Governor’s School are still some of my best friends five years later.
2011 Social Science
From Buncombe County
Governor’s School suffers from mission drift. Either it is a summer camp, in which case untying human Gordian knots and mandating “team-building” activities are proper, or it is an educational experience, where they are not. Secondly, if it decides to be an educational experience, it must decide whether to play catch-up for the majority of students who arrive unprepared for anything other than the most vocational perspective on education. That is, of course, essential, but perhaps not for a program ostensibly dedicated to fostering the life of the mind? My Area II did an admirable job of that, and in fact encouraged me to pick philosophy as my prospective major. Unfortunately, social science did not. Teachers were bullying, an attitude unlikely to negatively affect me, I’m rather outgoing as well, but definitely did produce hard feelings. Also, students were repeatedly asked to evaluate historical situations, like Allied bombing runs on Auschwitz, while lacking crucial information.
1976 Math
From Mecklenberg County
First of all, being away from home on my own in a college setting was a maturing experience that probably accelerated my academic and professional progress. More importantly, I was exposed to cutting edge ideas in the arts, science, and mathematics in a way that has had no parallel in my life–the real avant garde of modern intellectual thought. The impression they made on me is hard to measure, but I think it was profound. Educational practices for the gifted, like the NCGS, should be viewed as a pilot for how all children should be educated. I am now working in a public school in the Bronx. A bit of the inspiration I received in NC is being passed on.
1972 English
From Rowan County
Attending the Governor’s School of North Carolina changed my life. I could follow my passion for literature and writing with like-minded peers, and learn from other students pursuing their passions. I and other alumni choose to live and work in NC because of the progressive attitude toward education evinced by this program. We tend the fruit of the knowledge economy in NC because of the seeds that we planted at Governor’s School. Cutting funding for Governor’s School was short-sighted and narrow-minded. Investing in our future is never a waste of money. Cultivate a bright future for our state by reinstating funding.
2010 Math
From Perquimans County
I loved Governor’s School. I’ve always enjoyed learning, but Governor’s School was a place that I could be around others who shared that belief. I met many new people and create good friendships. Like everyone who attends Governor’s School, it was hard for me to leave. I recently drove through Winston-Salem and just remembering the area and seeing familiar things from the interstate almost made me cry(I live on the coast so I rarely go to Winston-Salem). Going to Governor’s School was one of the best decisions of my life.
2004 English
From Henderson County
I credit Governor’s School for turning me into an empathetic world citizen. GS gave me my introduction to Invisible Children, to the genocide in Darfur, to the system of education that worked in my favor but crushes some others, and to ethnic slurs that can either define and destroy us or give us something to destroy. Now as I teach world literature in a NC public school, I use my lessons as the foundation for tackling difficult topics with my students. What’s happening in the world? What’s our responsibility in it? What systems do we buy into without being aware? And I return to GS every summer because I believe in the experience and the impact it has on so many students with untapped potential. These students are in a prime position to think, feel, and learn. We cannot abandon them. The public school education no longer serves them to this extent. North Carolina’s students need Governor’s School.
1982 Math
From Pender County
The Governor’s School of North Carolina challenged me to become more involved in my school and my future. School work came easily to me and I had no problem making straight A’s and excelling academically. At GS, I was exposed to a wider world than just Pender county. I was able to see that there were hundreds of kids like me who were talented, and that I needed to constantly improve and strive to do even better. When I returned from GS, I took a more active leadership role at my high school and in my community. GS did a better job of preparing me for college than my high school in Pender county. The opportunity to live in dorms and participate in college style classes during the summer was priceless. At the time, my high school had only a handful of AP courses and by my senior year I had exhausted the opportunities there and took classes part time at UNCW for college credit. If I had not gone to GS, I don’t think I would have felt the need to supplement my curriculum at UNCW.
1994 Inst. Music
From Forsyth County
Governor’s School is a window to the world for students to discover and pursue paths beyond their own immediate schools and communities. As a student with considerable talent and ambition but limited resources for enrichment programs, Governor’s School provided me a life-changing experience that broadened my horizons, affirmed the importance of critical thinking and independent reasoning, and gave me a glimpse of the possibilities available in the world beyond my own community and high school. I understand resources for education are limited, but Governor’s School is an investment in the brightest and most talented young people in our state – one that should be available regardless of their ability to pay. North Carolina prides itself on being an innovative and forward-thinking state that values education. Governor’s School is an investment in the future of our state; failing to fund it would make a sad statement about NC’s commitment to our young people.
1979 Math
From Anson County
Governor’s school was the first time I saw a live dance performance, heard an orchestral ensemble, had a philosophical discussion, heard a live Broadway tune, and studied matrix math. I made more lifetime friends at GS than in high school and college combined. GS friends became college roommates and mentors who helped me navigate my freshman year and keep me in college. It truly opened the world to me and changed my life. My parents could never have afforded to send me to GS or to college. My GS experience assisted me in gaining admittance to UNC-CH and securing college funding. GS plucked me from a poor textile mill community with a very limited future and gave me the educational opportunity to become a respected health professional. My college experience also allowed me to marry a future college professor and both our children are in college and seeking graduate degrees with rosy job futures. GS truly changed my life and opened the world to me and in turn to my children.
1993 Math
From Cleveland County
Public schools have a tremendous burden of teaching to a diverse population. And unfortunately, the desire to perform well on standardized tests often robs higher-performing students of opportunities for enrichment. Governor’s School fills that role. Those six weeks were the most pivotal moments of my high school education, allowing me to explore topics I would never have encountered in the regular school year. Outside of class, I spent hours conversing about philosophy, government, and religion. Those conversations forced me to examine and test my own beliefs, rather than simply believe what I had been told. I learned to respect and see the value of other’s opinions, even when they were in sharp contrast to my own. An atheist colleague and I might never see eye to eye on the topic of religion, but it did not preclude us from being friends and working together. Labels no longer mattered – we were all challenged to learn more, do more, and give back more.
2003 Inst. Music
From Wake County
The GS experience was imperative in my forming a culturally relative perspective towards social, environmental, political, and educational issues. Not only was the educational setting exceptional, but I was able to socialize with individuals from diverse backgrounds and establish a healthy peer connection.
2007 Social Science
From Alamance County
When I got my acceptance letter from Governor’s School, I was ecstatic. My mother and my brother were both alumni of the program and I couldn’t wait to have my own Governor’s School experience. Those six weeks lived up to everything that I had hoped for, and surpassed my already high expectations. There is nothing that can compare to the environment of Governor’s School. Being surrounded by people who want to be there and who want to learn is something that I never found in my high school. Being able to learn just for the sake of learning was such a new and freeing feeling, and I haven’t experienced that feeling since Governor’s School. I am so grateful for getting to attend Governor’s School East. I still have close friends from those unforgettable six weeks and we reminisce frequently on an experience that you only get once, but that stays with you forever. It would be a shame if this program was ever taken away, because the people it touches are better for it.
2008 Foreign Language
From Chatham County
My experience at Governor’s School is something that helped prepare me for my education and connected me with other people. I appreciate my experience more and more every year and look back on it with nostalgia and fondness.
2008 English
From Wake County
My life without the Governor’s School would be far darker, far drearier, far less hopeful and imaginative than it is now. Something lit up inside of me that summer that continues to grow brighter with each passing year, illuminating the path ahead of me. I can’t put my finger on just what students gain from the Governor’s School, because it’s not something tangible. It’s a creative light; the will to do, to make, to create; the will to dream and to hope. Like me, they will carry this light back with them to their homes all over our state. The Governor’s School is like one of the lighthouses so emblematic of North Carolina. Perhaps that bright light in the harbor doesn’t seem so essential–until it goes out, and we realize suddenly that we have nothing to guide us as we move steadily into the future.
1998 Inst. Music
From lincoln County
The Governor’s School of North Carolina provided a very unique educational experience for me. It created an opportunity for me to think outside the box. The critical thinking and higher level knowledge that we applied in GS helped me to be a better-prepared citizen in today’s society. Governor’s School provided an avenue for me to really analyze my life, my decisions, my faith (I’m also a Church employee), and my inner self in a way that simple public school could not provide. Governor’s school helps to create strong, smart citizens in today’s society. Academically gifted kids are our future leadership, and Governor’s School provides necessary training for the future of our state and our society.
1998 Math
From Forsyth County
GS is one of the singular instances that continues to affect my life to this day. The lessons I learned about exploration and the pursuit of knowledge are the core of innovation. Not only in technology, but in business, research, education, and the public sector, innovation is the key to growth, both economic and humanistic. To be a great society, we need to be a society of inventors – constantly exploring, constantly experimenting, constantly questioning. I truly, honestly, and without reservation state that I don’t believe I would be who and where I am today without the influence of Governor’s School. GS is not an “a la carte” program – it is the meat and potatoes of a viable educational system that will prepare our best and brightest to solve our problems.
2004 Choral Music
From Forsyth County
My experience as both a student and a member of the faculty/staff were invaluable in my personal development. Thanks to my experiences at Governor’s School I became a more confident person. I met people who I am still close friends with. I was exposed to speakers, music, and ideas that changed the way I view the world. It has certainly made me the person I am now.
1980 Natural Science
From Pasquotank County
I grew up on a small farm in Pasquotank County in northeastern NC. This area continues to be one of the most socioeconomically challenged regions of NC. As the youngest of 5 children, with a father who worked in the shipyard in Portsmouth, VA and a mother who was a fulltime homemaker, I likely could not have attended Governor’s School if it included a cost of $500. Governor’s School allowed me to experience theoretical physics, advanced mathematics, and humanities studies that were not available in Pasquotank County. There were field trips to nearby academic medical centers and conversations with teaching physicians. These experiences and conversations were instrumental in forming my future identity as a successful physician in eastern NC, involved in teaching future physicians. Having been an employee of the state of NC for almost 19 years, I feel I continue to owe a debt of gratitude to the citizens of NC for providing Governor’s School. I hope it can continue for future generations.
1998 Theatre
From Gates County
I can honestly say it was a sentinel event in my life. It changed my perspective and worldview. GS got me out of rural North Carolina to learn more about the world and different perspectives. This was very important for me as a mixed-ethnic/race young woman, especially when I lived in a very homogenous small town.
2004 Dance
From Randolph County
As an educator I see the dire need to provide our students with experiences that challenge their thinking, bring them outside their comfort zone, and see the world through all different perspectives. As the world becomes more globally connected, it is important that young people in North Carolina are prepared to interact, cooperate, and compete with an ever changing society of workers. If we want to keep our economy from crumbling we have to ensure that the next generation of bright young people are being pushed to their full potential. One of the greatest tragedies of being an educator is having to watch intelligent students fall into the cracks because if economic status, unavailable resources, lack of stimulating environments outside of school to name a few. We owe it to our state and students to provide a program that cultivates and encourages deeper learning amongst all bright young students.
1972 Choral Music
From Union County
One of the best things I have ever been a part of. Prepared me for going off to college, and much more. Hope it never stops operating!
1980 Choral Music
From Cumberland County
Governor’s School is a life-changing program for high school students – it was for me. It must be saved. It represents education at its best for our best-and-brightest. We must not let it pass.
2010 Foreign Language
From Pitt County
GS changed my life. Today, as a student at Duke University, I can tell you that Governor’s School not only impacted my choice of major and certificate program of study, Spanish, but also helped me on a more personal level. The friendships formed during those short six weeks are ones that I have carried with me into college, speaking to their importance. GS, it is often joked, is a feeder to UNC. This is true, but more openly it is a feeder to the top universities. This is of upmost importance to North Carolina, as GS helped so many of its current students grow into the incredible individuals that they were supposed to be: open-minded and passionate about their beliefs. GS was by far the highlight of my academic career before coming to college, and is was the flame that kept my thirst for knowledge burning. GS is not just a place to go for the summer. It is a place that, in the best way possible, teaches you how to live. Do we really want to deprive North Carolina of this?
2002 Natural Science
From Wake County
Unlike many of the other sleep-away camps I had attended, the atmosphere of GS was liberating. Instead of herding students from point A to point B, my newly-met North Carolinian brethren and I worked with each other for mutual intellectual challenge and mutual fun. While there are structured activities, including two-week focal classes, two sets of cross-over discussion groups with students focused on other topics, and one-time seminar (sometimes so popular they’re repeated), there is also ample free time. Students are encouraged to self-assemble, dedicating themselves to whatever project captures their attention. I participated in spontaneous art projects, creative writing circles, movie nights, group games, deep conversations, roleplaying games, and a sunrise vigil, all outside the standard structure of the program. I cannot emphasize enough the value of living away from home in a supportive, creative, and challenging environment.
2009 Choral Music
From Pitt County
Governor’s school opened my eyes to the world and showed me that it was okay to use my mind and voice to benefit others. It was the first time that I had truly thrived in an academic environment because my ideas were not being stifled and I was learning to better myself and not my grade on a test. I learned about prejudice and stereotypes, our failing education system, and spoke philosophically about the nature of physics. I was even provoked through simple chalk drawings. Governor’s School was the start of a new life for me as a scholar, intellectual, and person. I’m so grateful that I was able to experience this fantastic opportunity and hope for the future of North Carolina that this program is reinstated to its full funding. NC does not simply cut Title 1 programs for those who struggle academically and should not cut programs for those who have the potential to excel. I beg to the state of North Carolina: keep this program so that future students may thrive in this special place.
1968 English
From Davie County
Students from rural areas need to have opportunities to explore new learning experiences. While we have the Internet now, which allows students to connect through online learning, it is not the same as the face-to-face exchange of ideas. Students in urban areas need to connect with a diverse group of students who don’t have the same educational opportunities. In the Governor’s School setting, students can explore and connect in small groups as well as large groups in a way that they cannot in high schools or in college. In high school and college, students are tracked into courses with people they’ve known most of their lives. In college, particularly the public universities now – the first two years of college are in classes with large numbers of students. Governor’s School offers an environment where students can explore ideas together. Governor’s School was life changing for me, and I want future generations to have that same opportunity.
1996 Art
From Surry County
To this day, I continue to use my Governor’s School experience as an asset to my personal and professional development. Attending Governor’s School allowed me to meet and interact with people who brought different experiences other than my own and increase awareness and acceptance of myself and others. I have found over the years, in college when I’d go to visit friends or even at places of work, it was not unusual to recognize or connect with a fellow Governor School Alumni. A few short months of Governor’s School do truly stay with you and impact the rest of your life.
1968 Social Science
From Cabarrus County
Governor’s School was the most positive educational influence in my early life. It was truly powerful and life changing in so many ways. The summer of 1968 opened my eyes and mind in ways no other experiences in my life have. I will be forever grateful for the impact the GS experience had on me. It prepared me for the college years and gave me clear direction for career and life in general. Governor’s School is the classic example of EXCELLENCE in education that we keep saying is so important to our state. It should be retained at all costs.
1981 English
From Guildford County
Growing up in North Carolina in a working class community, I often felt I had no place in the world. Governor’s school was the first place I felt that I fit in. It gave me hope for the future. In applying to college and planning a career, I felt more confident. Socially, I felt less isolated. I have been able to contribute to my society in many ways, and continue to do so. The effects of my activities in my community ripple out and improve the lives of others. The effects of Governor’s school are both personally and socially positive.
2011 Math
From Mecklenburg County
Governor’s School opened my mind to endless possibilities. I was stretched to consider new viewpoints and different situations that I had never encountered before. Going to public high school is very sheltered; we are not encouraged to talk about religion, homosexuality, or politics. At Governor’s School I discovered who I was by figuring out who I was not. These discussions with my peers led me become a firm believer in the power of community. I hope students for years to come can experience the intellectual vitality I found at Governor’s School.
2003 English
From Edgecombe County
My time at GS was the best of my life. I would not have had the confidence to apply to UNC, where I got my degree, had I not gone to GS, nor would I have had the skill or motivation to volunteer in the various ways I have.
2010 Theatre
From Guilford County
The Governor’s School shaped me into the strong, secure, and active person I am today by providing an inspiring and meaningful curriculum while also connecting me with like-minded students who are still some of my best friends today. I feel enormously blessed to have been given the opportunity to attend this program and I know that without it I would not have had nearly as much success in my college applications and auditions. This program is one that transcends normal, average schoolwork and provides a stimulating environment for every student with the privilege to attend. My love for the Theatrical Arts were nurtured from the beginning to the end of the life-changing six weeks I spent on Meredith College’s campus.
1970 Choral Music
From Cleveland County
I met many different types of people during the summer of 1987.Young men and women from towns all over NC from Murphy to Manteo.GS may seem like a trival thing that should be dropped from the budget to save a little money, but I assure you that for many students the experience proves invaluable to their further endeavors in life. For many this is their first taste of what college life is like. Some I dare say that without this experience would never think about attending college. The GS experience is a stepping stone for many to test the waters of leaving home and venturing out into the world. I learned more during those six weeks in Winston Salem than I had in the two previous years in High School. GS shows you what its like to be around others that are like you and share your same interests, it also enriches your life by exposing you to the arts and lets you think out of your normal boxes. Cutting the funding to GS not only hurts students, but deprives NC of some of its best.
2008 Natural Science
From Wake County
I recall encountering several students whose parents had not attended college when I was at Governor’s School. The one common theme I remember hearing from them all was how much their experience at Governor’s School had reinforced their own desire to attend college. North Carolina needs as many bright, educated, employable people as it can get in order to compete with other states, and Governor’s School is an investment in fulfilling this goal that will pay for itself many times over.
1971 Natural Science
From Guilford County
I credit Governor’s School with reinforcing in me the belief that I could do/be anything that I wanted. In those days women were discouraged from attending veterinary school. The staff at GS assured me that of course I could have a career in veterinary medicine. After an undergraduate degree from UNC-CH I did attend veterinary school and had a successful career, both personally and financially. I returned to North Carolina after school and have contributed to my county and my state in many positive ways. After my parents and family Governor’s School was the most important influence in my educational success. I wish that as many students as possible could have the same opportunity that I did.
2002 Math
From Davidson County
Governor’s School made me who I am today. It gave me a place to be myself and make lasting friendships because of it. I still hold those 6 weeks dear to my heart and mind. Even though my parents’ could have and would have paid for me to go to Governor’s School, they only would have because they know the benefits of spending that money for such an amazing program. However, I know there are plenty of students whose parents’ would have paid for such an amazing program but probably could not have been able to afford. I believe excluding these students would be a detriment to the public of North Carolina and to the integrity of the Governor’s School program. Learning disabled students get special funding for special needs in the state of North Carolina (as they should), however, academically gifted and talented students should ALSO be given funding for their special needs.
1984 Inst. Music
From cumberland County
Funding the brightest of current students will result in endless future dividends. As much as help may seem necessary to fund the handicapped/challenged students, this effort will yield minimal returns – this is a purely charitable effort. On the other hand, funding gifted future NC leaders is an investment with guarantee-able future returns. This is self-evident in the results seen from past Governor’s School graduates.
1985 Social Science
From Mitchell County
My time at Governor’s School was extremely positive and influential in my life. It helped prepare me for college. I lived in poverty through my childhood, but was able to attend this amazing summer of learning and it helped me gain entrance into and be prepared for study at Duke University. There is no way to overstate the importance of this summer in my educational and emotional development. If students don’t continue to have this opportunity, it would be a terrible shame. And, it would especially be a terrible shame if it became one more thing that is only an opportunity for wealthy students.
2010 Inst. Music
From Johnston County
At the high school I attended, I had great friends and had some great experiences but I always felt like I thought differently than them. I felt at home at my high school, but I also felt like something was missing. I applied to Governor’s School expecting just a summer camp and to play some hard music (Instrumental Music was my Area I). After the 6 weeks were over, my entire perspective on everything changed. I was opened to so many ideas, cultures, and subjects. At my high school, the population was mostly white, conservative, and Christian. Going to GSW was an enlightening experience where more people weren’t just those characteristics at my high school. There, I could be the person that I really was, talk to people about different views that they held in a mature manner, and did not have to pretend to be someone else to fit. Not only were topics discussed in philosophy and ethics, my musical ability was greatly sharpened and my views on the modern era changed completely.
1970 Math
From Johnston County
Coming from a rural background, Governor’s School exposed me to “higher education” which just wasn’t a focus of my home high school/education system. It opened my eyes to the possibilities of becoming a member of a global society rather than a closed society that is prevalent in rural areas. I learned to think rather than to memorize!
2011 Choral Music
From Wake County
This programs is one of the best programs I have ever attended in my whole life. It opened my mind to things I have never thought about before. Helped me take the next step to grow and be more confident in achieving my goals. I think everybody that went to Governor’s School will have something very possitive to say about this program because that is what it is, an incredible and indescribable program that brings joy, confidence, new friends, new goals,achievement, happiness and many more positive things into a student’s life. It is programs like this that encourages students to bring out the best in themselves. There are no words to describe how great this program is and how proud i feel to be a Governor’s School Alumni.
2003 Natural Science
From Cabarrus County
Will email shortly.
2011 Theatre
From Caldwell County
Governor’s School made me face my deepest fears. I felt more comfortable sharing my inner-most feelings and ideas with a group of people I lived with for six weeks than I ever have with any of my friends or family. It taught me to care about what was happening outside my little world in Caldwell County, and the fight to save Governor’s School has taught me that I can make a difference. The most important thing Governor’s School taught me is to accept myself, whoever I may be. One thing I can definitely say that I am is one of thousands of Governor’s School alumni and a future voter in the state of North Carolina. It has never been more important than it is now to have voters who are knowledgeable and care about the issues that plague our society. The knid of awareness about those issues I feel now is unabtainable in a normal school setting. Governor’s School is vital for this state’s well-being and for its future leaders.
2003 Natural Science
From Craven County
The Governor’s School is an incredibly unique and diverse experience for all involved. It provides an intensive learning environment for students and instructors alike. In this nurturing environment, faculty are free to develop curricula unbound by State-enforced learning objectives. Without mandated limits, they facilitate novel alternative approaches which push the educational envelope and immerse students in hands-on, free-form directed academia. As a student in 2003, my horizons were expanded far beyond the scope of my small rural eastern NC hometown’s potential. As a TAC I was challenged to revisit the curriculum with two new goals: to inspire and encourage my charges while providing support and discipline when necessary within this GS infrastructure. The role of instructor comprises an accumulation of my prior experiences, with the additional pressure and motivation to strive for personal excellence and that of others.
1983 Dance
From Wake County
It was so important to me to be able to meet people from across the state who were interested in the same kinds of things I was interested in. We did not always agree but we were willing to give each other time to think about ideas and to think about each others ideas. Part of what made Governor’s School great was the fact that, although we all shared this passion, we were also a very diverse group. I came from a middle-class background in the Triangle area and my family probably would have been able to send me to GS with a $500 tuition. However, some of my classmates and great friends there might not have been able to say the same. Not only would they have missed out on a life-changing experience, but mine would have been lessened because of their absence. We need thinkers and doers for the future of North Carolina – people who can get excited about problem-solving. Losing GS means one more opportunity lost for the future.
1998 Natural Science
From Durham County
I attended GSE ’98 and it was one of (if not THE) most profoundly impactful experiences of my youth. In hindsight, just being invited was a great honor, and until college and the workplace, GS was the first place where I was surrounded by only students for whom excellence was the norm. I cannot imagine this opportunity not being available for future students. Most of my GS friends still live in NC and in fact, I am moving back to NC this spring and would love to see my own boys able to attend when they’re in high school! Please continue the program – it is truly a valuable investment in our children’s futures and is helping create openminded, confident, and grounded adults that will continue to give back to the state and other communities for years to come.
2010 Foreign Language
From Alamance County
I can scarcely begin to describe such a wonderful program GS is for the State of North Carolina. It is not just an educational summer program. It is a program that changes lives. I know that it changed mine. Before GS I knew what I wanted to do with my life, but I had little confidence in myself and was far from making anything of my goals. GS changed all of that. Because of GS I am a more determined person, a more open person in social situations, and a person that one can rely upon. Essentially GS transformed me from a scared little girl to an adult who can think critically and openly about the world around her. GS was the best thing that ever happened to me. To remove such a program from the state would be a travesty. I sincerely believe that this program should be an available program for students across the state. Not only does it change student’s lives, but it shapes the future leaders of North Carolina.
1969 Dance
From Cimberland County
GS opened new worlds for me. To be able to study philosophy and psychology and also to be exposed to the cutting edge of dance, music and drama had great impact on my life. As a result of GS, I skipped my final high school year and went directly to college.
2011 English
From Stokes County
Governor’s School has changed my life because it opened numerous doors for me along with teaching me. I have learned to be more open to new ideas, and I believe that I can do anything that I set my mind to. I am confident that it has given me more scholarship opportunities along with more confidence with applying to my first choice colleges. Governor’s School also gave me confidence for being in my classroom at school and feeling like I can speak up in class. Governor’s School made me a more open-minded and confident person while introducing me to wonderful opportunities.
1992 Natural Science
From Graham County
Prior to Governor’s School, I was afraid to speak up and show my mind and intelligence. After a few weeks with others who were interested in education, learning and making a difference I came out of my shell and have never looked back. I feel like I arrived one person and left that person behind to become a better version of myself. I believe that some people go to Governor’s School and are able to use the experience as a way to cross over towards adulthood and get ready for the college experience. I know people who went who didn’t enjoy it because they were concerned about their friends or significant others back home. I also know those, like myself, who look back on that summer as one of the greatest experiences of their lives.
2002 English
From Buncombe County
Governor’s School was an especially formative experience for me, as I came from a small, county school in Western North Carolina. Before attending, I didn’t really understand the true impact of college or attending a highly regarded school. I made tons of friends whom I still keep in touch with today. The connections I made in Governor’s School have lasted for 10 years now and I believe will continue to last for years to come. I contribute a great deal of my success now to my summer at Meredith College. My confidence grew significantly that summer and helped me to become a well-rounded, strong applicant to college.
1974 Social Science
From Alamance County
As a minority student in the early 1970’s who started in a segregated school,I did not have the background that my white peers had. That said,I was often a leader in my classes, but my performance on graded work often did not rise to the level of which I was capable. So I was nominated for GS as the highest ranking minority in my class. GS put me in an atmosphere where learning and intellectual curiosity were more important than a number. There, I thrived. I loved the conversations, serious and funny,that happened inside and outside of the classroom. We challenged each other and supported each other on more topics than I can remember. I soaked in the cultural experiences that I would never have had back at home. I learned to think and listen on a level that has served me well in my vocational and civic work and prepared me for numerous leadership and service roles. GS shaped me so profoundly that now I can help to shape the world around me, especially in my role as a classroom teacher.
1985 Theatre
From Buncombe County
Governor’s School had a profound effect on my life. It opened my understanding to a much wider range of world views. It put me in contact with a tremendously capable group of peers. It helped me understand what it would mean to perform at a higher level of excellence than I had previously attempted. It gave me an opportunity to apply to the college of my choice. It was the beginning of a path that has led me to a full and fulfilling life. I will always be grateful.
2011 Foreign Language
From Onslow County
It was more than a summer program. It wasn’t just six weeks of school, it was six weeks of mental rehab. I saw first hand how some people came in shy and left extremely outgoing and confident and more willing to get involved back home. It’s not just about the people who you meet who help you grow, it’s about how you as a person open yourself up to the world little by little. GSE was a wonderful gateway to pass through. Many people will say it is an unfathomable happiness where they found a family bigger than the mind can grasp and others will just say you had to be there to experience it first hand. It’s true that someone who did not attend will just see it as another program that they can just cut, but that would be a mistake. People at GS are talented and are sometimes limited by where they live and it’s not their fault. By cutting this program, you’re cutting the growth of many talented young adults who might be victims of their circumstances. Let’s not limit our young innovators.
2006 Natural Science
From Carteret County
Governor’s School is one of the best things to ever happened to me. With the shrinking middle class, it is apparent now more than ever that charging tuition for Governor’s School weeds out students who come from less privileged backgrounds, which will ultimately contribute to this growing disparity. If Governor’s School were ever to cease to exist, countless NC students would miss out on a life-changing experience that has great potential to propel them forward in school and in their careers. I am currently a medical student in NC and I know that I never would have had the courage or resources to pursue this path, if not for Governor’s School. GS instilled confidence in me at a critical point in my life and challenged me (intellectually) in ways I had never been challenged before. GS was a profoundly transformative experience, and it placed a feather in my cap for future academic endeavors.
2011 Natural Science
From Davidson County
Governor’s School is a program with positive impacts on multiple aspects of my life. Not only did I learn on subjects which would never be addressed in a normal classroom setting, but I was able to gain relationships that would have never been possible without this wondeful six week program. Governor’s School deserves to be continued in order that students may have the same amazing opportunity that I had. Education is the base on which all other success is built. Without education, there would be no other growth or development, and our Nation would fall behind. Educational opportunities such as Governor’s School are what set us apart from the rest. It is a necessity.
2011 Inst. Music
From Forsyth County
Governor’s School changed who I am. Everyone says this, but until one has actually attended Governor’s School, it is difficult to explain what it is and how it affects you. There is a certain atmosphere of Governor’s School that can’t be found in the student body or community of any other school.
2005 Math
From Carteret County
While I would have been able to attend various other educational enrichment summer programs over the years such as the Duke TIP programs, Governor’s School was the only one of this kind that I was able to attend due to the state covered tuition. I absolutely loved my time at Governor’s School, and actually wrote my college application essay to Duke University about the experience. I was accepted to the Pratt School of Engineering, and graduated in 2010 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Mechanical Engineering from Duke. Not only did GS allow me to explore education in a way I would not have been able to at my public school, it also motivated and prepared me for the college experience. I worked hard in high school, and being given the opportunity to attend GS and Duke University (which meets all demonstrated financial need for those accepted) was extremely rewarding and I feel very grateful to the State of North Carolina and those who made the opportunities possible. Katie Henderson, GSE ’05
2010 Inst. Music
From Wake County
Governor’s School did not change me; It helped me find myself, and that is something everyone deserves to do at least once in their lifetime.
1994 Inst. Music
From Cumberland County
I will be sending in a longer testimonial, but now it suffices to say that I believe Governor’s School should be preserved, both for the students who attend and also for the state, of which Governor’s School is so positive a reflection.
1994 Natural Science
From Washington County
Attending Governor’s School West was an incredible opportunity for me! It was the most rewarding experience I had during my high school years, without a doubt. I met so many talented individuals and learned so much, not only in Natural Science (my field of study) but about myself. I grew up so much during that summer. It also gave me the chance to be exposed to the Arts, including Drama, Design, and Classical Music. These curriculums were not offered at my high school due to very limited resources. Attendence at GSW not only prepared me for the course work/routine of college (which was very challenging), but I believe it helped me gain early acceptance at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and North Carolina State University. While I currently reside in Virginia, I hope to move back to North Carolina one day as it is my home. I sincerely hope that Governor’s School will be around for other rising high school students in the future. It is a program worth supporting!
1972 English
From Montgomery County
I remember the atmosphere of GS as one of freedom, openness, and friendship. Freedom was a major part of our classes as there were no tests or grades, but we were free to learn simply because it was fun. Openness came through the psychology and philosophy components that helped us think through what we believe and why. GS is also friendship…a place where students from many varied political, religious, economic and ethnic backgrounds can develop a friendship which transcends outward differences and overcomes prejudices with a realization of our fundamental humanity. Coming from a small school in a small, poor county, GS was the best preparation I could have had for life. Forty years later, I still count it among my greatest blessings, and I hope and pray that it will continue to be there for generations to come.
1963 Inst. Music
From Lenoir County
Governor’s School can be a life-changing experience. It was for me. I grew up in a small farming community. Opportunities for interaction with other young people who shared my passion for music, the arts and other intellectual pursuits were few and far between. Creative expression was often rewarded with ostracism. At the Governor’s School, I found myself among people who shared my interests, and pushed me to explore ideas and projects that I would have thought beyond my reach. Some worked, and some failed, but the failures were learning experiences, not fatal. The lessons of GS, and the confidence to take necessary risks, and deal with occasional failures has enabled me to become a contributing member of my community, a successful businessman,a source of energy to my clients and colleagues and a significant contributor to charity. The Governor’s School stands out as the best of what NC can do for its young people. And the payback can be huge. It’s a smart investment.
1980 Art
From Burke County
Governor’s School deeply impacted my life in so many ways. As an artist, it was instrumental in defining my aesthetics and philosophy. As a student, GS transported me to a place where all the other students were interested in learning, exploring ideas, pushing the boundaries, examining possibilities. It was a far cry from the high school environment where one felt pressured to fit in (in other words, not be “too smart”). GS was a place where it was cool to be a smart and talented kid, and be surrounded by the best-of-the best teachers. It opened the doors to a lifetime of learning for me.
2011 Natural Science
From Pitt County
My peers at Governor’s School West became my family, not only for the summer, but for the rest of my life. The fact that I, who normally does not open up to people easily, was able to forge life-long bonds within six weeks says a lot about the program. It was also successful in providing real learning to high school students. As a current senior in a public high school, I can honestly say that our educational system is less than stellar. It focuses on the memorization of facts. In order to “prove” that knowledge has been achieved, these facts must be regurgitated onto a test. This is not a measurement of whether a student has learned anything, rather if a student can retain exactly what they are told and spit it back out to you. Governor’s School was the exact opposite of this system. There were no tests or quizzes. It taught us by engaging conversation and allowing us to stumble upon the answer for ourself. Not only does this state desperately need GS, but so does the entire country.
2011 Choral Music
From Wake County
It made me realize that singing was what I wanted to do for the rest of my life and it made me feel like a part of something bigger than me. It reminded me that Cary, NC isn’t the only place I will ever be and I’m so blessed to live the life I live. There is something about GS that changes everyone, whether they realize it or not. I can’t imagine what my life would be like if I hadn’t been able to attend this past summer.
1975 Math
From Edgecombe County
I was able to experience areas in my field of study that were not available at the small school that I attended. That experience made a profound mark on me and are the reason that I am currently working in my chosen field.
2011 Natural Science
From Surry County
Governor’s School was one of the best programs I ever participated in. It allowed me to get outside of my comfort zone, and to explore concepts and ideas I would not be able to anywhere else.
2011 Math
From Pitt County
Governor School was the best experience in my life to this day.
2011 Inst. Music
From Orange County
Governor’s School invigorates entire communities. Since I have been home, I have had countless conversations with people about all sorts of things- conversations that would have been impossible without what I learned at Governor’s School. Governor’s School increases awareness of societal issues and also creates many innovative solutions. Every Governor’s School enables hundreds of teenagers filled with diverse thoughts to put their ideas into actions. Governor’s School provides a supportive community so that our future leaders in all fields can work diligently to achieve their dreams. I can hardly imagine a matter more crucial to the future of North Carolina.
2011 Natural Science
From Rowan County
Governor’s School was one of the best experiences of my life and I would not have traded it for anything. It helped me learn more of who I am, and that there really are intelligent people in this state. Getting rid of Governor’s School would be an awful thing for the state. It would limit the intelligent people and the thinkers, and leave them behind with less intelligent people.
2011 Math
From Iredell County
Governor’s School is an experience I will never forget because of the people I met. The people at GS will be your friends for life, not just for the six weeks you were together. GS brought together so many different view points and beliefs that it actually helped me to become stronger in my own views and beliefs. GS is a place for students to enjoy learning. It is a place for students to question not only the material being taught, but the logic behind a person’s thinking or beliefs. It is a place where students can explore new views in an environment where they will be respected no matter what they believe. GS was a blast! Even though I was skeptical about attending at first, it broke my heart to leave my “family” at the end of the six weeks. We all made a bond that can never be broken – a bond of respect, friendship, and trust. GS is awesome and I’m so glad it is being continued so generations to come can experience the opportunities that I have through GS.
1988 Inst. Music
From Wake County
As a high school teacher, I can attest to the life changing opportunities which Governor’s School can bring to a student. I teach in a rural county and for the students selected for this program, it opens them up to a variety of thoughts and experiences which they would never of had otherwise. It gives them the freedom to explore without concern over what their peers will say. The students know I am an alum of Governor’s School and they inevitably make a bee line to my room to tell me about their experiences. In so many cases, it’s that excitement of new ideas & people which stimulates the gifted mind so much. They find themselves making connections in ways which were not possible before. Finally, the personal connections & experiences seal the importance of this event. The friends they make and the different points of view they find themselves exposed to have a profound impact on their lives. This is why the program should be saved. They are our future leaders in all of NC.
2011 English
From Henderson County
I would be a different person without Governor’s School. It dramatically expanded my world. Every day, classes challenged me and various enrichment activities excited me. The teachers I had there were unlike any adults I had ever met; they provided me with models for the person I hope to become. I also had the opportunity to connect with intellectual peers, and to be knocked down a few notches before starting college by the realization that I was not in fact the smartest person in the world. This is a realization many gifted high school students are lacking, and I feel it is important for them to have an experience like Governor’s School in order to become the best adults they can be. I can honestly say that my time at Governor’s School invigorated me with direction, excitement, and with the assurance that there is a place for me and for my interests.
1971 Natural Science
From Madison County
Attending the Governor’s School in 1971 was a life changing experience for me. Coming from a small high school in Western North Carolina, the summer experience of taking classes with other college-bound students from truly high quality teachers inspired me to want the very best in a college experience. In addition, living in a dorm, taking classes on a college-type schedule, making friends from around the state, and having to structure my life to get everything done and take care of personal living experiences, prepared me for college in a way that could not have been replicated in my home town. I truly credit my college success, in which I not only received a BS in Chemistry from UNC, but graduated with honors and made Phi Beta Kappa, and earned a full scholarship to graduate school, largely to my GS experience. Having earned a PhD and studied at Washington University and Johns Hopkins, I’ve now been able to participate in cancer research and make a real difference. Thanks to GS.
1963 English
From Randolph County
I attended a small (1-A) high school in a rural area. It was actually quite a good school, but in 1963 students from places like Farmer High School felt distinctly inferior to students who attended the “name” schools like Reynolds and Grimsley. Governor’s School taught me two things that may seem contradictory: that I could hold my own on a much larger stage and that there were many students with abilities equal or superior to my own. I would probably have been admitted to Wake Forest without Governor’s School, but I don’t think I would have done nearly as well there, and I might have lost my nerve and chosen a less competitive school. It may also be relevant to add that I have spent 40 years teaching in one of the constituent institutions of the University of North Carolina. I believe the money the state spent on my education was a good investment–at least, I certainly hope so!
1998 English
From Buncombe County
Attending a summer program that charged any sort of fee was out of the question for me when I was a teenager – my own financial situation and that of my parents did not permit the expense. GS was my only opportunity to experience that sort of learning environment, that taste of what university life could be like and what makes higher education so rewarding. Students who might be discouraged from attending university due to financial constraints are exactly the students who need to experience the benefits firsthand in order to make an informed decision about what a college education can do for them. It’s also an amazing chance to study something you love, but might not major in, in-depth. The structure of the program also is a great trial run for college life; I definitely had an advantage over my classmates that first semester at UNCG, when so many others were having trouble settling in and mastering their own schedules.
1981 Choral Music
From Granville County
GS was an essential part to my becoming an adult and being prepared to attend college. GS taught me to work with others as a team through my main area of attendance, choral music, but also to produce other types of projects from additional classes.
2008 Social Science
From Craven County
The North Carolina Governor’s School is a life-changing educational atmosphere in which students are encouraged to think, push boundaries, and pursue interests and passions, often above and beyond what their high schools can afford to offer them. Through my Governor’s School experience, I grew as a person. I became more confident in myself and my beliefs, and I found a passion. From studying, talking with fellow students, and delivering a final presentation, I came to the realization that I needed to teach. Since the summer of 2008, I have been doing everything I can to prepare myself for a career in education. I began tutoring in local high schools, I started a sailing education program at my university, and I even worked as a TA/C at GSE. Because of this program, the state of North Carolina gained a truly passionate teacher, as every year gives birth to passionate artists, academics, scientists, health care professionals, lawyers, etc.
1983 Math
From Gaston County
As a Governor’s School alumnus and a public school teacher in NC, I have experienced the life changing opportunity that is GS, and I have had the opportunity to nominate my students for this experience and see how it has impacted them.
2011 Social Science
From Forsyth County
This program is more than life changing. It helps students grow in understanding themselves as well as worldly topics. The curriculum enhances a student’s mind in ways public education could never do. I asked some close friends to revise my scholarship essays. None replied. I asked my GS group on Facebook. 12 replied. Enough Said.
2011 English
From Cabarrus County
As a high school senior and only seven months removed my GS experience, I’ve already seen so many ways that GS has impacted my life in a positive way. I’ve been able to add to my public school classes based on the insight I gained at GS and I definitely think it made a big difference in my acceptance to a four year university. I often describe my GS experience as the most significant educational experience of my life, far outweighing my 13 years in public school. GSW 2011 is six weeks of my life I’ll always wish I could go back to.
2004 Choral Music
From Catawba County
As an educator in South Carolina, I work with children of varying ability levels on a daily basis. Each child has different needs, and I must find unique ways to meet them. While much of our current legislation focuses on those children that enter school behind, those children that enter ahead face and equal, if not greater, challenge. The advanced students are more likely to be quietly ignored as teachers focus efforts on those that need them most. Sure, these students can function independently in a learning environment, but are we doing them a disservice by allowing them to continue at their present achievement levels without challenging them? Governor’s School changed my life. It challenged me to think, to really think, for the first time in my life. I realized from this experience my role as an active citizen. Now, it is my job as a teacher to challenge my own students to think, to serve actively in their communities, and hopefully to activate change in the future.
2011 Social Science
From Gaston County
Governor’s School was more than a summer program designed to educate the leaders of tomorrow. Governor’s School was the chance at uncovering truth, realizing my potential, and gaining the courage to act on my strongest beliefs. The experiences I had at this institution will stay with me always as I head down a journey of progress and tolerance.
2011 Choral Music
From Wake County
GSW changed my life by opening up my mind, my heart, and my personality. I learned what true dedication is and what I had been doing before was merely going through the motions. I realized what it is like to truly be passionate about something. I shaved my head to raise funds to keep Governor’s School open and looking back on my choice, I’d do it every time. That moment gave me the courage to sacrifice something that I cared about and that meant something to me for something I believed in. That moment is what I think Governor’s School is all about, finding what matters the most to you as an individual so you can fight for it.
2011 Natural Science
From Watauga County
Governor’s School inspired me, and all of my friends, to become actively engaged in our surroundings. We learned what it is like to be a part of a true community. Experiencing GS causes one to have a true hunger for community and supporting others. We learned how fulfilling it can be to put the community before oneself. I know that these feelings will translate to my, and all of my GS peers’, actions in their communities at home. North Carolina will undoubtedly reap the benefit of having such zealous and caring individuals throughout its communities. GS Alumni take what they learn about being a responsible community member back to the community that they originated from.
1965 Choral Music
From Alamance County
Let me just say that the GS experience for me was eye opening and transformational. I was a student in choral music. I became a public school secondary choral director, a profession I remained in until retirement at 30 years of service. I’ve also sung continuously in or directed church choirs pretty much continuously. And, I’ve sung with professional level choral ensembles, including a major opera company chorus and symphony chorus. For the past ten years I’ve directed a community college chorus and have recently become the VA American Choral Directors Association Two-Year College repertoire and standards chair. Without my summer in the GS chorus, it’s doubtful I would have done any of this. The experience was invaluable. This program MUST continue!
2011 English
From Henderson County
I entered Governor’s School as a quiet, naive, unconfident, and questioning little girl. I left Governor’s School a poised, confident, intellectual woman with a cultivated fire within me to change the world. To this day, that fire has been relentless, and I know I couldn’t have accomplished all that I have in life had it not been for those beautiful six weeks.
2010 Math
From Person County
Governor’s School was the best experience of my life. It allowed me to think critically and independently. I worked directly on an intelligent level with groups of people I had never worked before, therefore enhancing my ability to work with others. I also touched on subjects I had never encountered before in my high school career. Governor’s School was a life-changing experience for which I am forever grateful. It helped me to grow academically and physically.
1974 Natural Science
From Edgecombe County
The impact of the Governor’s School (GS)experience on the young high school students of North Carolina cannot be over estimated….. the new horizons opened by GS, the challenges experienced, the new realization of the tremendous power of education and knowledge, and the positive aspects of spending the summer with other highly motivated and talented students and instructors are absolutely life changing. This program is a true “crown jewel” for the state of NC and has been emulated by many other states. The funds invested in this program by the state bear tremendous return to our local communities, state and nation. It would be terribly short sighted to do away with the NC Governor’s school program….in my view it would be tatamount to throwing away a tremendous long-term investment to save a relative pittance in the short run. The Governor’s School program’s “return on investment” to the state of NC is clearly tremendous. Almond J. Drake, III, MD (CAPT, US Navy-retired)
2011 Social Science
From Union County
Governor’s School was the best experience of my life thus far. I know that the fact that I am only 17 lessens the impact of this statement, but I believe that GS will stand out as the most memorable experience of my childhood. I don’t think a day has gone by since I have left GS where I haven’t mentioned it, and I have made lasting and deep friendships from GS. The Governor’s School West 2011 facebook page continues to be posted on daily and we have all managed to keep in touch. Recently, I was at UNC for a scholarship day. Many GS alumni were there; we hadn’t seen each other for half a year, yet we still felt like a family. I have connections across NC that I would never have thought about having a year ago, yet these connections have broadened my perspectives. They have shown me the possibilities and opportunities in the vast world that exists outside of my own. 1000 characters is not enough to describe GS; I loved my experience with all my heart.
1986 Math
From Union County
This experience took me out of a familiar high school setting and placed me with others of similar interests and academic abilities in an unfamiliar college setting. It was a joy getting to know people and studying concepts that were not in the typical high school curriculum. The program not only improved my self-confidence and social skills but also challenged me mentally. My six weeks at NC Governor’s School shaped my expectations of college and greatly prepared me for my future. I would not have been able to attend if a tuition had been charged. There are so many gifted and talented students that deserve this experience and I would be saddened if the program were to dissolve or if a tuition were to be charged as that would ultimately exclude many deserving teens.
2011 Inst. Music
From Guilford County
Governor’s School has been the most influential program ever in my life. It has evoked change in me, and this change has been applied to my daily life ever since the program ended. When I first arrived at the camp, I was timid and afraid of new and unfamiliar situations. By the end of the first day, I was already in the process of meeting new people from throughout the state and sharing with them my background and experiences. In just one day, Governor’s School was able to positively benefit my personality, social skills, and overall knowledge. Think about what it did in 6 weeks and how many high school students could benefit from the experience i have had.
2010 Choral Music
From Wake County
A summer program that does not serve as an academic institution but rather an exploratory institution impacts its participants far beyond its six-week session. I attended GSW in 2010, the first year the $500 tuition was offered. After I was accepted into the program, my parents were confronted with the cost. If it was not for a scholarship I received from an outside source to cover for the tuition, I may not have been able to attend. But I am glad I could. One never knows what to expect stepping onto one of the campuses of Governor’s school, but one always looks forward to the possibilities after completing the program. What starts with apprehension ends with a confidence that says “Yes, I can contribute something to society” and “I have peers who are willing to listen to my voice”. When most of the students of NC go to high schools that don’t support open learning environments, Governor’s school gives a chance to kids who would otherwise be stuck in a false social framework.
2011 English
From Buncombe County
Governor’s School is a place for children to come together and rejoice in what they do best. Whether art, english, instrumental music, or math, all GS students are connected by an innate desire to learn. GS cultivates and refines such a desire within all of its students which is a truly beautiful thing, because the curiosity and dedication that persists within a student should never be taken for granted. Governor’s School is a unique program not only because it effectively creates a “brain trust”, but it also reminds gifted students of the great feats they can achieve with an unparalleled passion and a drive to change the world for the better.
1970 Natural Science
From Guilford County
When I called my mother to tell her I had been selected to go to Governor’s School, her first response was that I couldn’t go. She said my parents were not financially able to pay for me to go. Since there was no tuition, I was able to go. My life would have been extremely different had I not gone. My social standing changed at my home High School, making my senior year one of inclusion. After my GS summer of socialization, in an atmosphere where my parent’s economic status was unknown, I gained so much confidence. I was exposed to science in an experimental setting and was thrilled with it. Having Governor’s School on my activies list was so important to my college and scholarship applications. After graduation I did environmental research in Mississippi and eventually became a cancer research assistant at UNC’s med school. GS on my resume was mentioned at my interviews when I returned to school in 1980. Governor’s School gave me a chance in life I wouldn’t have had otherwise.
2011 Math
From Person County
Governor’s School creates passion. It creates a love for learning and a love for each other. We figured out who we are and what we want to do with our lives. GS was the perfect place to do this because everyone was incredibly supportive and understanding. We learned from each other, and we are still learning from each other. We motivate each other to be the best we can be in every aspect of our lives. The sense of community is so strong that it carries over into our lives after GS. It gives us not only the desire to better ourselves and the community, but the courage and the ability to make our desires a reality.
1963 Natural Science
From Catawba County
Governor’s School led me onward into my lifelong career of teaching and research in chemistry.
1976 Math
From Dare County
I met my husband at GS. We still maintain friendships founded at GS. We helped GS develop an effective Alumni group and supported GS financially. We have had multiple other leadership and life-shaping opportunities and still believe GS ranks near the top. GS helped us realize our potential. My husband went on to be a Morehead Scholar at UNC and earned a law degree. I earned an MD degree and now serve a rural NC population. We are leaders in our church and in our community. We have reared our 3 children with the same high expectations established for us at NC Governor’s School. Our older two have completed Eagle Awards and Silver and Gold Awards in scouting. They both remain commmitted to excellence and service to others. Our 16 year old maintains a rigorous academic schedule while excelling in two varsity sports, working toward her Girl Scout Gold Award and teaching gymnastics. She anticipates attending Governor’s School this summer. Our GS friends have similar legacies.
2005 Theatre
From Caldwell County
I’m not sure that I can stress this point enough: attending Governor’s School was one of the best and most rewarding experiences I have ever had.In the 6 years since I left I have been effected every day by something I learned there or a connection I made. I have lived with several fellow students, and have worked with several of my GS teachers in the professional world. I am currently perusing an acting career in New York City. It’s a very expensive place, and a career that doesn’t pay very well, yet Governor’s School gets an automatic donation from me every month because I feel extremely compelled to give back as much as I can. I can only hope that as time goes on my donation will be larger each month. Still, I feel that as a state, we should be proud to support such a wonderful organization, and it is terribly important to me that it remains free for every student that meets the criteria. A family’s economic standing should not play a part in the decision for a student to attend.
2011 Art
From Stokes County
Of all the programs to get rid of Governor’s School is the very LAST one that needs to be considered. This program really allows the students that are passionate about a subject to be immersed in it more than their school would be able to do. It challenges students to think in a different way with the different areas, seminars, and speakers that the program has to offer. If Governor’s School is no longer around then it is a huge loss for the gifted students that are not often catered to. It is a life changing experience that helps one grow as a student in learning and as a person in society.
2003 Choral Music
From Wake County
Governor’s School instilled in me a deep-seated interest in politics and current events, laying the foundation of my current career as the federal policy associate for the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN), a national organization focused on creating safe schools for all students, including those who are LGBT. But more than that, it taught me to be a critical thinker and to analyze problems from a variety of angles. Governor’s School established close friendships that I still maintain today. It also helped me develop a stronger sense self, allowing me to explore and learn my place in the community and the world. Governor’s School played an enormous role in shaping who I am today. Without a doubt, it was the most transformative, affirming six weeks of my life.
1996 Math
From Gaston County
Governor’s School was an amazing, life-changing experience that is irreplaceable. I was truly honored to have the opportunity to attend, and the life experiences and educational experience gained have lasted to this day.
1989 English
From Forsyth County
Governor’s School provides an incredible opportunity for talented people to be challenged and not be bored with every day high school. There are many opportunities to grow that talented kids in our great state may never have been able to experience, especially those coming from rural areas or low-income families. Finally, it builds a cadre of talented people to keep NC great.
2003 Inst. Music
From Lee County
GS opened my eyes to a whole new way of thinking about and experiencing the world around me. It was one of the most meaningful experiences of my life! I took a roundabout course to get where I am today, a high school French teacher, but I have to think that GS played a significant role in my decision to teach. I can only hope to provide for my students what was provided for me during that wonderful summer!
1982 Inst. Music
From Forsyth County
My Governor’s School experience gave me a preparation for college life that lessened the shock of leaving home. I had the experience, and to this date my only experience, of playing in a symphonic orchestra. That experience opened my eyes to a world of music I had not yet met. I am a lifelong musician, and I owe that in part to my experience at GS West ’82. I also experienced studies in philosophy and psychology, etc that I believe strengthened my faith by making me question the very meaning of life. For someone like me, it took a while {many years}, to gather my own conclusions, but in the end, I am stronger for it. In my opinion, the goal of the Governor’s School program is to mold young men and women with an alternative educational slant. It teaches students to think for themselves, and learn to live with others through independent cooperation. For me, it was an invaluable experience that I appreciate very much. Thank you North Carolina!
1986 Math
From Catawba County
Not investing in programs for gifted students because they might move to another state? Then how will our state continue to attract a highly educated workforce looking for a great place to live and raise a family? As a child, my husband attended programs offered by the Gifted Studies program at the University of Southern Mississippi. Where were the jobs when he graduated from Vanderbilt with a triple majoy in Computer Science, Electrical Engineering, and Mathematics? North Carolina! This program broke new ground and was a model for so many other states. There are only so many opportunities to inspire gifted students to dream big and exercise their talents, and this program has a home run streak unmatched in the sports world. Please continue to invest in our future!
1976 Inst. Music
From Mecklenburg County
Governor’s School was my first experience with a wide range of students who shared my intellectual and artistic interests. It was at Governor’s School where I made clOse friendships that ultimately led me to attend Duke. That experience, in turn, changed my life and pointed me towards my career in education, the first years of which were spent in the public schools in NC. I still work in the field of education, advising students in their pursuit of collegiate options. I have worked on the college side of the admissions process and I know the great value of an experience like the NC Governor’s School in the admissions process at the most highly selective colleges and universities. To this day, I feel that Governor’s School was one of the most transformative experiences in my educational career; every day, I encourage adolescent students to seek out such experiences for their own benefit. Governor’s School was a unique opportunity, one unmatched by programs in any other state.
1975 English
From Anson County
Our public schools do a good job of educating the majority of children to survive in this world, teaching them the basic skills they need to hold a job, read a newspaper, pay their bills. Governor’s School does something more. It’s a unique program that stretches teenagers to take creative and intellectual risks, to learn to ask meaningful questions, to harness that passion deep inside that will drive them to do great things. Governor’s School inspired me, challenged me, gave me a good kick out of the nest of adolescence to believe that I could do absolutely anything in life worth doing. I attended the University of Chicago and became an award-winning investigative reporter and editor who never lost what I learned at Governor’s School: To always ask the questions my heart tells me to ask. Not the safe ones, not the easy ones, but the really tough ones, the ones that keep me awake at night. Bright kids shouldn’t receive a mediocre education. They deserve better, and so does our state.
2008 Theatre
From New Hanover County
What I learned in Governor’s School I think should be made part of the mandatory education system. Many of my classes allowed me to explore new ideas in the realms of philosophy, ethics, and aesthetics and help define those things for myself. I was able to take a look at how I looked at the world, and I feel that many of those classes were critical in helping me establish my identity as I approached adulthood. And within my artistic concentration classes I explored new performance techniques that I had never dreamed of, and certainly would never have had the opportunity to explore at my high school. In my time at New Hanover High School their drama program was negligible, and Governor’s School helped to fill that void in my education of my passion.
1983 Natural Science
From Wilkes County
Governor’s School of NC, was one of the most rewarding, exciting, challenging, and fulfilling educational experiences in my young life. There are far too few arenas in our culture today, which celebrate the creative and intellectual endeavors of high school age students. We have become a culture that celebrates athletics, celebrity, fame, and wealth, none of which make the most meaningful and important contributions to our culture or world. I believe that the NC Governors School, is an excellent model for how to inspire and nurture some of the most motivated and innovative students in our state. Students who will become the researchers, engineers, artists, and cultural and community leaders of our future. Continued support of the Governor’s Schools of NC, is an investment in the future of our state and its citizens; an investment with a guaranteed huge return.
2007 Natural Science
From Carteret County
Governor’s School gave me confidence and helped me mature intellecutally and socially. It helped me question the way I think about things and learn to consider different perspectives. Governor’s School helped prepare me for college, and I made life-long friends. It was an invaluable experience and I want it to remain tuition free so anyone can attend without any barriers. I believe that Governor’s School helps adolescents devleop critical thinking skills and equips them with knowledge to become the future leaders of North Carolina.
2009 Natural Science
From Durham County
Keep it alive. Keep it accessible. It is an amazing opportunity.
1993 Choral Music
From Charlotte-Mecklenburg County
Yes GS was a great addition to my resume, but it helped me come out of my shell, make connections, get an academic scholarship to college, and create the teacher that I am today. I went to GS for choral music, became a choral director in the public school system, and now teach music in an arts magnet school in NC (grades 6-12). For the past decade I have also served as the residence life director at GS’s sister program Summer Ventures in Science & Math. GS impacted me tremendously!!
2009 Dance
From Wake County
Three years later, I still wish I could go back to GS every day. It will probably forever be the greatest experience of my life, something that no one understands except for the people who were also a part of it. GS gave me an open mind, life-long friendships, social confidence, and hundreds of the best memories I have. On the last day of GS, all 400 students were in tears. I think that they would all agree that it had an enormous impact on their lives. Every time I look at pictures or hear a song that reminds me of my 6 weeks at Salem College I am swept into a state of pure nostalgia, and it breaks my heart to think that other kids won’t be able to have this experience. To take this experience away from kids is unheard of. There are so few opportunities for excelling students to learn and grow, to express themselves in their own way. GS is an indescribable experience that has changed the lives of so many people in so many ways. PLEASE do not take this away from future youth.
2004 Math
From Jackson County
It took several years for me to realize the impact that Governor’s School had on my ideas and the way I have chosen to live my life. At the time I enjoyed it; it was fun, and exciting, and I was a teenager. Now I look back on it as a place with a few strictly policed boundaries (the borders of campus, curfew and lights-out, eating only at appointed hours and only in the lunch room) and otherwise limitless freedom. Freedom of the mind. It helped me with the transition from small rural highschool to Southern California college, and it helped me make sense of myself as a person – my values, my goals, and my dreams. I would never have been able to afford to go, had it not been generously paid for by the state. For those young students, like I once was – who cannot now see beyond next week or possibly next month (because they are teenagers after all) – for them to miss that opportunity to discover themselves would be a shame, and it is the state of North Carolina that would ultimately lose.
1993 Inst. Music
From Forsyth County
This experience open my eyes, ears and heart to the world. I learned more about myself in 6 weeks than I had through all my years in school to that point. Through unique conversations with my peers and instructors I was shown a whole new way to participate in our world. I was taught HOW to think. I developed friendships that last to this day – almost 20 years later. I will be forever grateful for my experience and while I understand that not every student can participate I hope that thousands more will get to go for years to come.
1987 Math
From WAKE County
My experience at Governor’s School of NC was instrumental in my decision to pursue a college degree in mathematics and a career in computer science.
2009 Social Science
From Orange County
GS gave me opportunities to learn and grow in ways that I never would have from an NC public school alone. It gives interested students the environment to learn about and discuss different ideas with other students who are just as interested and motivated. Even outside of the Area I classes, GS offered numerous opportunities for students to learn about how to make a difference and provided encouragement to take action. GS also gave me many experiences that I would not have received from my public high school. From the interaction with talented students who were studying a range of disciplines, I was able to become more accepting of others and their interests. A few things that I participated in at GS and have stuck with me since: a 24 hour fast for hunger awareness, an Area II class in which I was hypnotized, a talk from a man who has minimized his annual waste to fill a front yard, and so much more. Lastly, the friends I made at GS are still good friends even though I rarely see them.
2009 Natural Science
From Darw County
If I choose to stay in NC after graduating college my friends from GSW will have been a major part of that decision. I am a sophomore at UNC Chapel Hill and my current roommate and girlfriend both went to GSW with me. I have spent the last three summers exploring Argentina, hiking the mountains of Northern California and venturing through Hawaii’s Hilo island yet I look back at the one before it – those six weeks spent in Winston-Salem – as the best six weeks of my life and that is without question. The benefit of Governor’s School to North Carolina is hard to quantify but I would say that I learned to love my home state for the first time at Governor’s School and I gained a faith in my generation that was completely absent beforehand. This interest and faith in the state of North Carolina is the most powerful thing that Governor’s School does for NC and I would say that there are few programs or institutions that could possibly have a better goal or achieve it more thoroughly.
2009 Art
From Mecklenburg County
I know everyone has some sort of “life changing experience” at one time or another- where they “found themselves” or their “eyes were opened” or something else along those lines. And yes, while GSW, no doubt, served in that capacity for my own life, cliche phrases don’t even begin to scratch the surface of the quality of this experience. Governor’s school is a place like no other. In reality. As I grow older, and my GSW summer slides father into my past, I still continue to understand more and more the extent of its utopian nature. Free from from grades, from pettiness, from all the competition entrenched in school systems and university admissions culture throughout the country – Governor’s School is a hotbed of learning. The atmosphere each and every day – was so incredibly alive. It buzzed with oppurtunity, with ideas, with discussion. A synergy that I have not experienced since that summer, and quite frankly, don’t expect to. Please let future generations experience this too.
2009 Inst. Music
From Wake County
Governor’s School has given me the confidence and passion to stand up for what I believe in in this world. My experience at GSE was extremely stimulating and enlightening, a major catalyst for my successes today. In order for Governor’s School to maintain it’s true purpose, funding must be restored. No student accepted should have to pay a fee to attend. This is not a summer camp for the wealthy, this is a life-changing opportunity for those who are truly deserving. The diversity and freedom of Governor’s School is why it is so vital.
2009 Inst. Music
From Wilson County
Governor’s School is a highly-esteemed educational reward. I came from a high school with almost no money in the arts and no awareness of things like All-District Band, All-State or All-County Band. I didn’t have musicians for parents, I didn’t have money for private lessons; I just ran off of what my public school music teachers taught everyone. Stepping into Meredith’s auditorium was the first auditioning event I had ever been to. I was shaking in my boots because I knew I was surrounded by so many gifted students. When I was accepted, my parents cried and cried. I was so intimidated when I first arrived that I thought about leaving. But then I rose to the challenge and realized that this would be the best learning experience of my life. We recorded three CDs worth of concerts, and they sound like movie soundtracks. I’ve never been more proud, and I will always remember and cherish the friends I made. I would not have had any opportunity like this if it weren’t for GSE.
2009 English
From Cabarrus County
Often times, the North Carolina education system focuses more on helping the masses of low-performing students and neglects to foster the minds of the academically gifted. If the state continues to follow this trajectory, then the state will produce solely mediocre students and professionals. North Carolina should encourage academic excellence through gifted programs like Governor’s School – honors and AP classes in high school are simply not effective in developing analytical skills and teaching about world views. Through this encouragement, North Carolina will produce better informed citizens who are driven to make a positive impact on their community and who will bring better industry and social services to the state.
2010 Dance
From Chatham County
Governor’s School opens a completely new and fresh avenue for learning. The kids that attend GS are intelligent and talented, and most of us have been/are completely bored and not stimulated in high school. GS gives all of us the opportunity to truly explore our potential as learners and human beings. It gives us hope that there are places we can fit in academically in the world and make contributions to the community with our peers. The idea of companionship was so paramount at GS, and it is something that a lot of GS attendees lack in their normal settings. GS breeds the strongest friendship I have ever witnessed, and I hope that can continue for years to come. Overall, GS is an irreplaceable program; remember that the leaders of tomorrow are the learners of today. From what I have seen, GS is the best learning environment/creative atmosphere in all of North Carolina.
2010 Math
From Buncombe County
In the summer of 2010 I spent six weeks at Governor’s School West with 300 high school students I had never met. We came from across the state, from the middle of nowhere and downtown Raleigh, crossing racial, economic, and social divides. We were dancers, mathematicians, musicians, and writers, but we all shared a longing for a kind of community we did not have at home. We sought a place where discussions carried from classes to dinner tables to dorm hallways, where recitals entertained and challenged performers and audiences alike, where writing mathematical proofs and laughing at chemistry jokes were normal, socially acceptable activities. Governor’s School became this community. That summer pushed me mentally, emotionally, and socially to engage the world with everything I have to offer. Currently I am in my first year at the University of Chicago, continuing to push myself beyond anything I could have imagined; Governor’s School gave me my first glimpse of those heights.
2007 Art
From alamance County
There are many things I would like to say about my experiences at Governors School East 2007 but words are insufficient. During my time on the Meredith College campus I was inspired to create a solid foundation for myself and my life. I met many like-minded individuals with a broad range of interests and talents. This taught me to open my eyes to new cultures, philosophies, books… even music. I have never learned so much in such a short amount of time and since then I have challenged myself to continue my education. That summer was the foundation in my life to constantly learn, discover, and create. I made friends who have been nothing short of positive influences in my life. It has been five years since that short summer spent in Raleigh but we keep in touch despite the distances between us. Governors School is not only how we encountered each other but it is the bond that we all share. We are able to look back and remember fondly our days spent growing, learning, sharing.
2009 Natural Science
From McDowell County
GS has had a resoundingly positive impact upon my life, changed my career goals, left me with priceless memories, and lifelong friends. GS’s value lies in that it is interdisciplinary. You may go to learn about a specific area of study, but the lessons reach across all academic and cultural boundaries. You learn as much from the other students as you do from the seminars. It is a meeting of the minds, where you are challenged to think critically, and question the unquestionable. In addition to the innumerable intellectual benefits of attending GS, there are also many emotional advantages. The atmosphere is one of acceptance, and for gifted students it gives a feeling of not being alone. Instead of being the oddball in high school, you are welcomed with open arms, and your eccentricities are celebrated. Personally, GS has impacted my life, by forcing me to reevaluate the way I look at the world, and my place in it. It has made me much more service oriented.
2004 Math
From Rockingham County
Emailed it
2008 English
From Macon County
Without Governor’s School I wouldn’t be where I am today. Governor’s School challenged me not only as a student, but as a person. I learned that I could push myself farther than I ever thought possible. The experience of Governor’s School lead me to apply to UNC-Chapel Hill, a school I thought I couldn’t get into. I’m happy to say that I’m in my third year at Carolina with a 3.4 GPA…something that would have never been possible if Governor’s School hadn’t encouraged me to set a high standard for myself.
1990 Art
From Guilford County
I became more confident, cared less about what others thought of me, made more amazing friendships. I learned to be less afraid of mistakes and failure. I had been fairly apathetic about my school work for a long time unless I was challenged and interested. I was able to skate by without much work. Governors School made me realize how much I loved academics and that there was a better way out there. I could not WAIT for college. If I could be a professional student in many areas, I would. I want to and do share things I learn with others.
1987 Inst. Music
From Rowan County
Governor’s School was truly an eye-opening, life-changing experience for me. Being from a rural county, GS truly exposed me to a much broader social and educational experience than I could have achieved just staying in Rowan County! GS was my first real time away from home on my own. I gained such independence! I learned so much about myself & gained so much desperately needed self-confidence. I honestly believe that GS truly changed my life. Had I not had the opportunity to attend GS, I am sure that not only would I not be the same person today, but I would also not be where I am today. I look back at GS as one of the most pivotal points of my life and education. Especially for a sheltered student from a rural NC county, GS changed my life!
1981 Inst. Music
From Harnett County
I attended Governor’s School for Instrumental Music in 1981 (Salem College). Having grown up on a tobacco farm in Harnett County,I had little exposure to art, music, philosophy,psychology and how life and humanities intersect. I was bored out of my mind in high school, finding very few peers who ever voluntarily read a book, practiced a musical instrument or wrote a poem. When I attended Governor’s School, I met dozens and dozens of kindred spirits who were curious, imaginative, creative and enthusiastic individuals. I was exposed to contemporary art, music, philosophy and what it means to be human in the 20th century. I was never the same after that experience. I became aware of the possibilities. At a time when we face astounding challenges, we need the brightest, most creative minds to have the opportunity to open their minds and explore their own potential. The Governor’s School does just that. It is life-changing.
2011 Math
From Wayne County
Governor’s School was one of the best things that has ever happened to me. I gained confidence, knowledge and wisdom, and formed friendships that I believe will last for a lifetime. I went in only focused on the little things, but I can now see the greater picture. I am so grateful that I was selected to attend and I wouldn’t trade my time there for anything else in the world. Anyone presented with the opportunity to attend Governor’s School should take it immediately. You won’t regret it!
1979 Choral Music
From Cumberland County
What a sad state of affairs to think that the original and premier gifted and talented summer program in the United States would close its doors after 50 years! While budget cuts due to a bad economy may be necessary, the $1M provided to maintain GS is the wrong place to cut. What is the message we are sending our best and brightest youth if we defund this program? It says that mediocrity is OK and if you want to excel in academics and arts, please go to some other state. Meanwhile, I wonder how much statewide funding goes to sports programs around the state? The money invested in sports may provide opportunities for some athletes to excel and make it to college, but GS grads become leaders in industry, education, and government. They give back to NC in immeasurable ways. Please re-instate the funds to continue GS in the way was working the first 48 years so that NC will continue to benefit from its best and brightest.
1998 Choral Music
From Wake County
(sent via email)
2009 Art
From Forsyth County
The experience I had at GS is invaluable. It most definitely affects my everyday in how I think, act and present myself. There is no way to measure the influential life experiences, ideas and lessons I learned that will carry with me for the rest of my life. I would not have such the creative edge that drives my education now in architecture school if it were not for my art education at GS. The ideas presented through alternative classes and lectures do not compare to an “average” public or private school education. The community of students, teachers, and TACS make GS an ideal environment for vulnerable yet driven teenagers to learn about themselves and the world in which they live and WILL change.
2006 Art
From Iredell County
I simply cannot overstate the importance of my Governor’s School experience on my intellectual development and world view. Many of the ideas and texts I was introduced to there continue to be a central focus of my life. Presently, for instance, I am completing a PhD on Performance and Conceptual art that was first introduced to me as a High School student at GSW. Several of the teachers and friends I met there remain closer to me than any other period of my life. GS was my first experience of a vital diverse environment, and I am forever grateful to it. Jarrett Earnest
2011 Choral Music
From Pitt County
Like I said above, the NC Governor’s School changes lives. It turns students’ minds into an open canvas, ready to explore different avenues of opportunity and topics that their future lives will present to them. These attendees are the future of NC – the innovative ideas and life questions Governor’s School provides to them cannot be found in normal high schools. These experiences will prove invaluable to each alumni the moment he or she graduates from this prestigious, wonderful, and priceless program.
1987 Math
From Haywood County
I attended GS the summer after my junior year after having attending Summer Ventures in Science & Math summer after my sophomore year. Both of these programs changed my life. My educational experiences prior to these programs were limited and I had no idea of what the ‘world’ was like and that there were other students like me that valued education. GS and SVSM enabled me to pursue scholarships and be awarded a NC Teaching Fellowship. I say this because it was one of the first questions I remember being asked during my interviews. “How were my experiences in these programs significant?” I learned so much about myself, university life, career choices, and what it meant to be able to make a positive impact on others’ lives. My instructors supported my desire to become a mathematics teacher and I am proud to have followed my dreams. Conceptual learning is key in programs such as GS and being in an environment that fosters such learning has striking impact on all those fortunate to attend.
2007 Art
From Forsyth County
I’m sure everyone is well aware that, as Governor’s School stretches into its 50th year, this program has created a nationwide legacy. As of now, there are 31 other programs in membership of the National Conference of Governor’s Schools. 31, following in our state’s footsteps. What will it mean if this program, and the rich unparalleled instruction it provides, ceases to operate? What does that say about NC’s focus on education? How competitive are we if we shut this down? North Carolina is 45th in the country in both teacher annual salary and per pupil daily expenditure. If North Carolina wants to stand as a state that can keep up with the rest of the country, it only follows that we do not further cut into education, regardless of “economic climate”. The innovators: future generations of students who are searching for an outlet to greatness and leadership do not deserve to be stifled by missing an opportunity as great as NCGS. They are the ones who will inherit North Carolina.
2011 English
From Guilford County
GS has provided me with lasting relationships and friends, a meaningful network of peers and teachers, a broadened understanding of the world and my place in the world, and an experience that will serve a foundational role in my college years and beyond.It is difficult to imagine what would happen if GS was shut down due to the poor decision of the NC State Legislature to cut funding for this worthy and irreplaceable program; thousands of future potential GS students would not be able to undergo the meaningful experience that is GS. I cannot stress enough how amazing GS has been for me, and how it has impacted me in ways beyond measure. I also cannot stress enough to the legislature that cutting GS or cutting funding for GS is one of the worst possible mistakes that could be made. Such a decision won’t save money, because GS produces a huge “bang for the taxpayer buck.” What it really does is steal opportunity from future leaders and citizens.
2007 Social Science
From Stokes County
Though I attended Governor’s School for Social Science, I was inspired by people in every area. I have never experienced another time in my life where conversation was more intellectual or open, and GSE 2007 was the first time I ever felt like my intelligence was a gift instead of something to be ashamed of. Attending Governor’s School helped me realize that I had potential to affect and change the world in a variety of ways. Now I am attending Appalachian State University and I will obtain my BFA in Graphic Design this May. I firmly believe that the interdisciplinary aspects of Governor’s School affected my decision to study Graphic Design, and I am still just as determined to make a social impact through my work.
1992 Inst. Music
From Mecklenburg County
Governor’s School gives kids the opportunity to dream big and the tools to make those dreams come true. It is one reason I am proud to be a North Carolinian.
2008 Social Science
From Forsyth County
While I could have paid the tuition of $500 I would not have gone and paid. I can retrospectivey see the impact the summer had on me but I had no idea what I was going to experience. Had I been able to weigh the opportunity cost of not working vs paying 500 for a program which I did not understand would be so influential on me, I would not have chosen to go. Further, I had people to tell me what the school was like but no one can adequately explain gs to the student deciding if they want to willingly going to school for the summer.
2011 Natural Science
From Alamance County
GS takes the leaders of the future in NC of all backgrounds and income levels and brings them together to give them hope and purpose through a modern, relevent education. Too often, public and private high schools can only teach the background information of a subject–the subject matter that has been known for over 100 years and is essentially exhausted of its innovative potential. Rarely are the modern applications of the subject i.e. MODERN philosophies and MODERN mathematics and MODERN science, even brushed upon. GS, however, brings together the young men and women who have mastered “old school” academics and submerges them in the issues, problems, and discovers of “new school” academics–many of which do not yet have answers or cut-and-dry explainations. GS, with its reasonable cost, opens the windows to these new horizons to students of differing incomes, creating a socially balanced, stimulating, and tolerant environment. GS sparks bright minds to look toward the future.
2003 Math
From Lincoln County
Governor’s School was a turning point in my life. Nothing was the same after I came home.
2011 Math
From Warren County
Before attending Governor’s School, I was starting to dislike attending school and I was having trouble focusing on my schoolwork. I was already one of the top students of my county and I really did not think that I had to work that hard to get amongst the top of North Carolina because I was already on top for my county. Attending Governor’s School made me realize how far I still had to go. Although I was on top of my county, I was nowhere near the level of many of my friends at Governor’s School. It made me want to work harder to achieve each of my goals and I have made great strides during my senior year of high school to reestablishing my work ethic. I also have started to push for the education of my peers. I am currently tutoring one of my classmates through their online geometry class. I now realize how important education really is for myself and other people around me.
1963 Inst. Music
From sampson County
I was honored to be selected to attend the first GS in 1963 and was principal flute in the orchestra. Not only was I a pretty good flute player, but I was near the top of my class academically. I never considered myself to be “Gifted and Talented”, but at GS I was surrounded by those who truly were. GS opened my eyes to the potential of what I was capable of.. courses like Philosophy and Critical Thinking were not offered in public school. I believe I learned more in those eight weeks than I ever did before or since. The following year I was accepted at West Point, which would not have been possible had I not attended GS. I never pursued a career in music, but have continued playing my flute through the years. I have been a member of the Fayetteville Symphony and the NC National Guard Band. Now retired, I play often in church and at weddings and funerals. GS made a huge impact on my life, as I’m sure it has on the thousands of others who’ve attended since. It MUST go on!!
1990 Theatre
From New Hanover County
Ideas and experiences from GS enriched my last two years of high school. I took initiatives I would not have otherwise done. GS also showed me that it was possible to find a group of like-minded peers–intellectually curious, widely read, open-minded, outisde-of-the-box thinkers–with whom I could collaborate and simply feel, finally, like I fit in. Because in large part because of this, I attended UNCA rather than an out-of-state liberal arts college. UNCA felt like an extension and expansion of the GS experience.
1967 Choral Music
From Wake County
My experience at North Carolina Governor’s was, at the time, the highlight of my life, and still remains one of the highlights after the passing of many years and many endeavors. I was not the typical candidate for admission to the program. There was little success that I had experienced up to that point regarding scholastic ventures. My two areas of success in school were music and wrestling, an unusual and improbable combination. My academic accomplishments and social abilities were quite lacking. Governor’s School afforded me the opportunity to re-direct my life and to gain the confidence necessary to achieve success. The following year, as a high school senior, I was able to excel and was also able to become a member of the NC 4A All-State Wrestling Team. Later, as a teacher and principal, I often drew strength from my experiences at Governor’s School. I feel that I was able to offer added benefit to my students as a result of those memorable and meaningful GS experiences.
1972 Choral Music
From Mecklenburg County
GS changed everything for me. I came back with more confidence. I was more engaged in my classes and had higher expectations of myself, my classes and classmates. It changed the way I looked at life and prepared me well for college. I also made lifelong friends who are still in my life. I thrived in the GS environment, and have missed that specialness ever since. I truly believed that we were and are exceptional. Looking back now I realize that even then, I knew something truly special was happening all around me, so I’ve always felt that I never wasted any of my time there. I always felt a little cheated at the end of each day that there wasn’t more time. I want future generations to have this amazing experience. I’m so proud to be a Governor’s School student and always will be.
1972 English
From Iredell County
Governor School was an opportunity to become friends with people who enjoyed discussions about a broad range of topics, including literature and current affairs. Even though I attended in academics, the opportunity to mingle with students involved in the arts helped me and the ability to go to their concerts and plays helped me develop a lifelong love of the arts.
1984 Art
From Guilford County
So many people from small counties and towns described it as “life-saving.” Many times they were the big thinkers in a small town and thought they were all alone. It gave them hope and joy and inspiration. It did the same for me, and it got me out of my predictable but uninspiring summer. Governor’s School gave me challenges, awareness, and horizon-expanding education in a condensed time. I learned things, even in art, I would never have in my school, even in a big county education system. So often in school it’s not cool to be smart or to achieve–really–and being around intelligent, challenging thinkers with different viewpoints open to debate and to experience things outside their norm galvanized me to strive to achieve through the end of high school rather than follow my school peers to apathy. I’m not at all surprised when the big thinkers I meet today–28 yeras later!–are GS alumni.
1987 Theatre
From Craven County
I am who I am in no small part because of Governor’s School. I became interested in injustices and inequalities as a result of my experiences at Governor’s School. When I went to U.N.C.-Chapel Hill, I became friends with a house-full of medical school students, some of whom had already worked in developing countries. We discovered that all but one of those students had attended Governor’s School. Our ways of seeing the world had all been positively influenced by attending Governor’s School.
1996 Math
From Onslow County
Governor’s school (GS) exposed me to learning opportunities I never would have experienced in my public high school in eastern North Carolina. GS helped me appreciate learning for knowledge sake and experiencing learning in both academic and artistic ways. Socially GS introduced me to some of the best friends I’ve ever had and showed me that I wasn’t as ‘different’ as I felt at my home high school. I learned that I was one of many bright students across North Carolina who felt alone at their home school but were a powerful force when combined together for a summer. Quite simply, Governor’s School changed my life. As a voter in North Carolina, I will be juding candidates based on their stands for education, specifically educating North Carolina’s best and brightest.
2009 Theatre
From Caldwell County
GS was my first experience of an open, inclusive environment (outside of my home) where I felt comfortable sharing my opinion and taking in the opinions of others. I grew into a new person at GS as it opened my eyes to a world outside of the close-minded society of my homewtown. At such a vital time in my life, Governor’s School gave me new energy and enthusiasm for seizing the day and seizing a bright future. It was one of the best exeperiences of my life, and I am beyond thankful for it. It is a huge building block in creating the person that I am today.
1981 Choral Music
From Mecklenburg County
My GS experience is responsible for enabling me to recognize and have confidence in my leadership skills. It was an opportunity for me to develop those skills and also be surrounded by a diverse group of peers with various skills, thoughts and ideas. My GS experience gave me the jump start that was beneficial in my college experience. I had the confidence to plug in to college opportunities early on which enabled me to further enhance my leadership skills which I carry with me to this day.
2005 Natural Science
From Rowan County
Going to a low-performing high school where football stars were praised and “geeks” were mocked and made fun of, I was always ashamed of being the “smart kid.” Governor’s School was a chance to meet other “smart kids” and have those intellectual discussions that I was missing out on in my own high school setting. Governor’s School introduced me to topics and discussions that opened my eyes to things I had never been exposed to before, and for that I am truly grateful. It was such an awesome feeling to finally fit in. And Governor’s School will always hold a special place with me because it’s where I met my soon-to-be husband. -GSW 2005
1986 Inst. Music
From guilford County
I went to a good, fairly well-funded public school in my home county, but Governor’s School was without question the most educating experience of my life before undergrad. It not only opened up new fields of study, interest and possibility, but it also introduced me to the rest of North Carolina through my fellow students (and I was even born here!). Governor’s School opened my brain. It helped me define how I best think and learn, and how I can be creative and a contributor.
1989 Theatre
From Cleveland County
Governor’s School broadens the horizons of its attendees in many various and often immeasurable ways. GS was almost certainly a contributing factor to my appointment to the U.S. Naval Academy, commission as an officer in the U.S. Navy, and helped give me the courage to make the first decisions and take the steps that started me on the path I am on now.
2000 Theatre
From New Hanover County
Governor’s School literally changed my life. I learned to trust and respect my peers, and I left feeling like a well rounded adult, rather than an uncertain teenager. If that sounds like a sweeping statement, it is. I left knowing what I wanted to do and how I wanted to do it, specifically in theater but also in other aspects of my life. I left more confident, because it was a place of support and encouragement, rather than of judgement, so present in the high school experience. Some of the support came from instructors and counselors, but the majority of it came from my peers. I learned how to communicate with others in a meaningful way. I learned to trust that if you communicate openly, honestly, and thoughtfully about the experience you are having in this world, people will listen and respond in the same way. I took this with me to UNC Chapel Hill and experienced and learned more because of it. I took it with me out into the world, and I’m still experiencing and learning.
1990 Theatre
From Mecklenburg County
My time at Governor’s School provided me with the experience and confidence that I needed at that point in my life to propel me into a rewarding college experience.
1992 Inst. Music
From Pitt County
High School is hard for everybody, but being somebody on the “outside”, it was horrible. I felt myself folding inward and it wasn’t until I attended Governor’s School that I realized that there was life outside of the bubble I had been living in. There were people who were like me, who thought like me, and if they didn’t, were intelligent enough to accept different views and opinions without dismissing them altogether. I came away from Governor’s School with feelings of self-confidence and self-worth that I would have never believed were possible. I knew that there was a purpose for me and with that knowledge, I have been able to find it. Six weeks in the summer of 1992 changed my life forever.
1976 Dance
From Davidson County
I was exposed to, and discovered, a much larger and intellectually engaging world than I had in my small high school. Instead of being a minority among those who were highly motivated, I was a part of a summer student body where being highly motivated was the norm. Both academic and artistic talents were encouraged and nutured at GS. I was stretched mentally in ways that I would not have been had I not had the wonderful opportunity to attend GS. Additionally, I met some of the most wonderful and talented high school students in the state of NC!
1992 English
From Burke County
Governor’s School was far and away the most beneficial part of my education. My over-crowded high-school had dampened my spirits, but Governor’s School introduced me to fascinating people in our state and renewed my ambition and sense of possibility. I could not have attended Governor’s School if tuition had been required. Speaking frankly, my family does not value education and barely allowed me to take the summer off from working even though the program was free. I am so grateful to the State of North Carolina for giving me that opportunity. I am proud to have been part of the North Carolina tradition of Governor’s School, and I dearly hope that it remains a free opportunity for generations to come.
1991 English
From Wayne County
Coming from Wayne County in Eastern NC there were very few points of view presented in my high school education. My high school taught prejudice and narrow minded thinking. Governor’s School opened up a whole new realm of possibilities for me. I finally had authority figures that said it was ok to question what you have been told and make informed decisions for yourself. I probably would not have pursued my degree in Design from NCSU School of Design if I had not gotten the self confidence that was instilled in me through my experience at Governor’s School. It prepared me more for my future than all my years of public school. It taught me how to live and think for myself and stand on my own two feet…. empowerment to take risks for something you need to be the person you need to be.
Summer of 2009 Theatre
From Durham County
I don’t know how to tell you how incredibly enjoyable Governor’s School is unless you’ve gone. That’s the only way you’d ever understand the full impact it has on your life. Why mess with a good thing? Governor’s School has been around for a very long time, so just leave it alone. It’s great. Simple as that.
2008 Choral Music
From Durham County
Governor’s School is (was) the only publicly funded opportunity for kids who want to lean and expand to do so. Public schools are doing their best, but it’s not enough. Governor’s School provides the zeal for knowledge that is so lacking in our public-school classrooms. I don’t know anyone who attended that could have attended had it cost money. It is vital for the nourishment of the next generation of thinkers and movers that we keep this service open. It is an honor to say I am part of the few who were touched by GS. To think that my little siblings will not get the same chance makes me question where priorities lie. With inspiring children, or elsewhere. It is difficult for me to see why the inspiration of gifted children should not be funded. Sarah Derr Governor’s School West 2008
1989 Choral Music
From Cabarrus County
Governor’s School must be kept open and free to N.C.’s children. It impacted my life substantially. I am now teaching music at a prestigious private school. I was selected over 39 other highly-qualified candidates for my position. Governor’s School gave me the drive and desire to do what I have done with my life.
1979 Math
From Halifax County
GS was a fabulous experience and made me want to seek higher education even more!
1966 Choral Music
From Mecklenburg County
Governor’s School is a once in a lifetime experience for a gifted, talented student to explore and learn. He is able to go beyond the bounds of his current school curriculum and try new ideas, learn new things and above all explore himself. It is a positive, life altering summer that we carry with us all their lives. It enables you to open doors that might otherwise have been closed and gives you an exceptional footing for future challenges both academically and in life in general. Governor’s School is a shining star in my academic career and my life in general, even though I attended over 40 years ago. I hope that it will continue for many years so that more students can have the positive, challenging and encouraging experience that I had.
2003 English
From Polk County
I believe that it would be a shame to deny students the opportunity to attend Governor’s School by closing it down. It is an incredible opportunity for so many students to experience life beyond their own counties and towns. It truly encourages global learning, as each student is challenged mentally, spiritually, and emotionally with new concepts and ideas. They meet people of diverse backgrounds, different from their own, and forge friendships that last beyond county lines or country boundaries. Also, Governor’s School would not have been an option for me personally had there not been funding available. I am the eldest of five children, and my family has never had the money to send us to camps and other extracurricular activities to expose us to different worldviews. The program also benefits North Carolina as a whole because it provides global knowledge to develop intelligent, critically-thinking NC citizens who will work together to make North Carolina a better place to live.
2004 English
From Cabarrus County
As a “gifted” student, I often felt left out in my public high school. Governor’s School gave me pride and instilled in me the confidence I needed to return to high school and continue being successful. My time at Governor’s School made me realize that it was okay to be myself, which is often so difficult in the highly judgmental world of high school. The classes were exceptionally helpful in preparing me for college courses as well. We were able to discuss topics openly and freely because there was not a strict curriculum focused on test scores as there is in pubic schools. It helped me realize that college was going to be a place where I would be able to learn in a more positive environment, and because of that, when I went back to high school I was not as discouraged because I had something to look forward to.
1992 English
From Gates County
Governor’s School is a wonderful opportunity and one that should not go unfunded. My experiences at GS, without a doubt, helped shaped me into the person I am today. Many gifted students in rural counties do not have access to challenging instruction or even the chance to interact with other such gifted students. The gifted program in our children’s schools has been one of the recent victims of budget cuts. My husband and I, who met at GS ’92 and were married in 1996, hoped that our children would be able to experience GS as well. We both remember it as one of the happiest times of our lives. My husband and I have both served in our community, organizing the community to successfully fight against an environmental hazard. We received the “Service Above Self” award from our county’s Rotary Club, the Shining Star Award from the Communities in Schools of the Northeast, the NC Award for Outstanding Volunteer Service, and were the 2008 Newsmakers of the Year for our regional paper.
2007 Art
From Beaufort County
GSE was a very positive experience for me. I truly believe it not only helped me intellectually, but socially, and artistically. It left me better prepared for a college atmosphere and helped me boost my college application and increase my chances of being accepted. I was accepted into all colleges I applied to and I’m currently finishing my last year at UNC Chapel Hill.
1991 Natural Science
From Person County
Our best and brightest students deserve the opportunity to go to Governor’s School. My experience at Governor’s School, over 20 years ago, is still one of the highlights of my life. It was here that I met people that were similar to me. It was okay for me to love to learn, to thirst for knowledge and have discussions with other students that I wouldn’t have otherwise been able to have. My perspective on life truly did change that summer. I grew up in a very small town where it wasn’t very cool to be smart. Governor’s School showed me that it was cool to be smart. I felt accepted and I found friends who were similar to me. I was able to take that experience with me as I completed my senior year of high school. It gave me a longing and anticipation for what my college experience would be like. Governor’s School had a tremendous impact on my life, and I hope current high school students continue to be given the opportunity to have the same experience that I had.
1978 English
From Robeson County
I think that it is important to offer free tuition again. There are other programs for gifted and talented students that charge tuition for those who can pay it. I remember one friend who went to GS who would have never been able to go if he had to pay $500. His parents were disabled and he supported them by working in fast food and he had to ride a bus everywhere. What an incredible shame it would have been for this boy to miss the GS experience. I know that it changed his life. I’m sure that he was not the only one who needed the free tuition in order to attend. It breaks my heart that there are many deserving students who miss out on this incredible opportunity for the lack of money.
1971 English
From Franklin County
Governor’s School provided me the opportunity to reach outside of the limitations of life in a small town and of the curricula of the public school there. I was challenged by the courses, faculty and fellow students there. It literally changed my life and expanded my abilities of critical thinking.
2008 Math
From New Hanover County
I am extremely honored and grateful that I had the opportunity to attend Governor’s School West. It was possibly the best six weeks of my life so far. I met some amazing people and I am very thankful that I got to enjoy their company while I was there. There was never a dull moment and I actually enjoyed going to my math classes (unlike now). This experience gave me exposure to things I hadn’t had the opportunity to enjoy, such as dance recitals, orchestra and chorale concerts, and theater performances. I was never a huge fan of art before GSW but now I have a greater appreciation for it. I also learned how to swing dance which I continue to do at my university. I am extremely sad that the legislature has pulled funding from Governor’s School thereby causing a tuition to attend. I definitely wouldn’t have been able to go if this tuition was implemented in 2008. All in all, it was certainly a once in a lifetime experience and I hope that future generations can enjoy it for free too.
1996 Math
From Guilford County
Governor’s School is probably one of the most unique experiences of my lifetime. The impact of bringing together NC’s brightest at an early age can hardly be stated in a brief message. The connections, collaborations, and personal growth have a life long impact. There are people that I met at Governor’s school that I keep in touch with 16 years later, without having ever seen them again after that 1 summer together. The experience and resulting friendships, along with everything that is poured into the attendees sets the stage for the pursuit of excellence in all aspects of life. I know Governor’s School alum who have achieved excellence in music, journalism, as educators, and in pursuing higher education. The program gives students a perspective from which the possibilities become endless. The program is worth far more to society as a whole than any quantifiable number. To have NC’s best and brightest impacting the world is something to be proud of and should continue in the future.
1963 and 1964 Art
From Mecklenburg County
Through my time at Governor’s School I: • Became politically knowledgeable and engaged; • Grew in my confidence in my talent; • Honed my determination to make a difference in my discipline, which I have accomplished by teaching over ten thousand and and design students over a 34 year career in art and design education; • Grew attuned to living an ethical life, which in retirement my wife of 38 years and I pursue by restoring a North Carolina farm to productive, organic agriculture while maintaining its historic character; • Committed myself to a life of constancy in my relation to my family, my discipline, and my vocation. Without my Governor’s School experience I might well have been successful but I do believe I could have easily missed the joy of a life well led.
2005 Social Science
From Wake County
Governor’s School made me a more interesting and well-rounded person. It ignited new interests in me like classic film and art history. I read things, hear things, and saw things that I that I did not experience in high school and rarely in college. The program enabled students to make scholarly impacts that affect both their academic field and humanity. I felt like what I learned at Governor’s School and the work I did there was valuable both for myself, North Carolinians, and the world. The program enabled me to pursue personal academic interests that normal school curriculum are not currently built for. Governor’s School helped me develop and build what my own life priorities are and what I value in myself and others.
1970 Natural Science
From Cleveland County
At Governor’s School, I learned every day how to think entirely for myself and to express my ideas in a cogent and effective way. This helped me greatly during competitive interviews for Wake Forest’s top scholarship the following fall–a scholarship that made it possible for me to attend a top university that was a great fit for me.
2006 English
From New Hanover County
Governor’s School is an invaluable asset to North Carolina. Departure from our values rooted firmly in the expansion of critical minds and ideas is the only path out of debt, sycophantic class-based social structuring, poverty and ignorance. My experience at GS launched my pursuit of critical thought & analysis and degrees that allow me the freedoms to explore the bounds of contemporary ideas.
2011 Art
From Wake County
Governor’s School was by far the single most amazing thing that has ever happened to me. It gave me a whole new sense of self confidence and self awareness. I’ve learned to view the world through more open eyes and accept people no matter how different or similar they may be. I learned that just because I’m smart or gifted does not mean I’m any different than anyone else. Governor’s School is an experience that can and does change the lives of those who attend it.
1968 Social Science
From Orange County
Governor’s School was full of smart, hard-working students with a thirst for knowledge and a zest for life. North Carolina was way ahead of the times when it established this, the first school of its kind in the nation. I can think of no better investment value that this state has made in my lifetime.
1996 Inst. Music
From Guilford County
Now that I live in Georgia, I see what a gem North Carolina students had in the Governor’s School program. For me, not only did it give me six weeks of intense musical training, but it offered me a chance to really elevate my thinking and prepare myself for a college curriculum. It was at Governor’s School where I learned to think critically and outside-the-box. The friendships I forged while at Governor’s School carried on into college, as two of my roommates at UNC-Chapel Hill attended Governor’s School with me. Those friendships have followed me well into adulthood. I just checked in with one of best friends on the west coast a few days ago. We met at Governor’s School and we’re still a part of one another’s lives all these years later! Governor’s School was a magical and unforgettable time in my youth, and it would be a tragedy for students of North Carolina not to have an opportunity to gain these same memories for themselves.
2009 Choral Music
From Nash County
Governor’s School is an empowering institution which actually allows students to think for themselves. Honestly, more public institutions- secondary or otherwise- should adopt its structure and methods of free thought. Governor’s School plants seeds of thought and accomplishment into young students, and kick starts them into becoming successful and world changing citizens.
1988 English
From Union County
Bringing together talented students from across the state each summer helps to create an indispensable sense of generational and geographic identity. I left Governor’s School proud to be a young North Carolinian and committed to making contributions to the state and region. (I’m also the daughter, sister, and wife of GS alums.)
2005 Art
From Forsyth County
Governor’s School changed my life. I would not be where I am today without that experience. It truly is the gift that keeps on giving.
2007 Math
From Cumberland County
Being able to attend Governor’s School has had a very positive impact on the direction of my academic career; it made me more fearless and more willing to take chances and venture well outside the borders of North Carolina. Right now, I am an English teaching assistant in France after having participated in a corporate internship program with BASF SE in Germany, studied in the UK, undertook an undergraduate internship in Germany, and completed a degree at a university in Wisconsin. While I did not go on to pursue a university degree in my Area I subject, the field I chose was directly related to it and what I learned in GSW helped me in that field. However, what is most valuable to me from the program, in addition to some of the personal ties, is the sense of adventure and willingness to not be bound to one city or one state for all of my life, but to enjoy life and what the world has to offer.
2011 English
From Craven County
Before GSW, I was in a slump. I hated school, it was boring and unchallenging. I felt under-stimulated. I was depressed. I was slipping into a void. GSW saved me. It saved my creativity, my curiosity, my love of life – it renewed my desire to learn. It opened my mind, and my heart. I found my voice in writing. I discovered my positions on issues. I met people from different religions and cultures. I made friends that feel more like family. I learned what it was like to miss people. I found a new home GSW is everything that I should have experienced in school, but didn’t. There was no racism, sexism, homophobia. There were no stubbornly closed minds. There was no hatred. We discussed ethics, politics, religion, morals. We learned how to think, how to ask questions. The GS experience is what future generations need: raw learning, experience, emotion – everything that schools lack. A real, multi-dimensional education. An awakening. NC students deserve a shot at this opportunity.
2011 Social Science
From Davie County
My Governor’s School experience revolutionized my thinking and completely changed me as a person. I learned to think in new ways and consider new possibilities, skills that I now use in my everyday life. I met incredible people at Governor’ School. Today when so many kids seem to think it is “uncool” to be smart or to care about learning, Governor’s School provides an especially significant environment; I do not have words to describe how incredible it felt to be surrounded by peers who actually had the same passion for knowledge that I do. Governor’s School was one of the best times of my life and I never regret for a second the six weeks I spent there.
2004 Natural Science
From Pender County
Governor’s School was a very liberal experience for me. I was challenged in the ethics and philosophy discussions, but those discussions and the reflections that I have based on those discussions are still part of critical thinking and problem solving that I do today. It was a great social exercise interacting with intelligent peers of widely different backgrounds and perspectives. Ironically enough, it was the ethical and philosophical discussions that I remember more than my particular tract, which was Natural Science. I highly recommend it to students that need to experience the growing pains of being introduced to a new environment and learning to make the most of it. It was critical for me in gaining confidence in an environment outside of my usual comfort zone. Governor’s school fostered critical and lateral thinking exercises that helped in building the foundation of being a better higher education student.
2011 Natural Science
From Carteret County
Why preserve Governor’s School? Simply put, because without it, many children, including myself would not and will not have the chance to learn what it’s like to have their opinion matter and have a glimpse at their possible future. Governor’s School enables students to see the world through more critical eyes, and has allowed me to realize that school can actually be something fun besides regurgitating information for a test. It has empowered me with the ability to debate ethics and morals, as well as the will to help support our community through volunteer work or simply sharing a smile. Without Governor’s School, I would begrudgingly accept my fate of going to college, and simply see it as the means to an end. With this knowledge that I’ve gained over the course of those pivotal 6wks, I’ve realized that what you do actually matters, and that there are actually people who enjoy learning and are willing to accept others’ differences.
2010 Natural Science
From Mecklenburg County
The educational system in America is broken. Throughout school, I jumped through hoops and did that wasn’t meaningful and didn’t help me learn. At Governor’s School, I was challenged to understand more about myself, the world and people around me, and how I relate to the them. I was inspired to pursue knowledge further outside of class, and at college this thirst for true understanding, not just good grades, has served me well. Furthermore, it was at Governor’s School that I really developed the drive and gained the tools to have a positive impact on the world, not just to do community service halfheartedly to help me get into college.
1981 Social Science
From Cleveland County
GS fostered an environment that made it clear that learning was an admirable endeavor. In high school, students get put into categories. The jocks, nerds, popular people, etc. GS stripped away those stereotypes and related expectations and placed me in an environment where active participation in class was encouraged and expected. My previous experience had been that such active participation would get you labeled as a nerd, teacher’s pet, or weirdo.
2010 Social Science
From Wake County
This program is what the General Assembly wants–the leaders, thinkers, and innovators who are our youth coming together to begin the process of introspection and leadership that are essential to our state and nation’s longterm growth.
2011 Choral Music
From Wake County
Governor’s School provides young students with a kind of interactive learning environment that is not available to them in their regular schools. It provides a unique experience of in-depth study about a particular subject which the student is passionate about. Governor’s School re-ignited my passion and curiosity for learning, and now my eyes have opened to the topics and lifestyle that I would like to pursue, instead of that which society favors. Through this program I started to figure out who I am, and what I want in life, and I began to appreciate the same individuality in other people. The three areas of study combined helped me to begin my quest for my place in the world.
1979 Natural Science
From Davie County
Governor’s school encouraged creative thinking individualized by each member of the class. One was encouraged to reach beyond the scope of everyday life and learn to look beyond what was, to see what could be. Such forward thinking is what invents things, creates jobs, and brings new ideas to people and communities. The team building and community forming activities help students to look beyond themselves and consider what they can do for others. The idea that when we help others, we help the community at large with ourselves included, was part of what came from the bonding experience of the program. As we left governor’s school and moved into other parts of our lives, we stayed in touch with those with whom we had bonded. Keeping in touch meant that we compared ourselves with each other in positive ways, each encouraging the others to do more good. The generation that follows the year with no Governor’s school will have lost a great asset in the leaders that were never created.
2011 Social Science
From Rutherford County
Governor’s School gives students a glimpse into what life could be and what learning is meant to be. It gives them a taste of independence and a safe environment where they can learn, grow, experiment, analyze, and be exposed to things they wouldn’t encounter otherwise. GS students are individuals who go above and beyond. They are talented; they are smart; they are creative; but most of all, they are full of potential. What GS does is unlock that potential and allow students to fulfill it in an enjoyable experience without many of the added pressures of life. GS is an environment that empowers students to develop their passions and abilities with peers and teachers who help them to be their best. On day one students receive a blank canvas. Throughout the six weeks they spend together they are provided with the means to create a masterpiece. They always do. It is the only educational experience that develops students into thoughtful individuals committed to the betterment of society.
1972 Choral Music
From Haywood County
Governor’s School is one of the few “real” institutions that truely has a positive impact on North Carolina (and in my case other states). From it’s well springs the young minds that make positive contributions to the arts and sciences, beyond the average, beyond the imagination, and beyond your expectations.
1971 Art
From Wake County
I will e-mail.
2009 Art
From Alamance County
Governor’s School was the spark that led to the flame of social acceptance for me. When I came into GSE, I was close-minded and firmly set in my beliefs. Coming into contact with so many other people, who represented so many other aspects of society that I’d never experienced before, gave me the insight and understanding to have a more open mind in high school, and now, in college. GSE helped me to accept myself and accept others… and to never judge anyone.
2000 Inst. Music
From Johnston County
I attended a small, rural, underfund, high school in eastern NC. I took almost all of the honors & AP courses available at my school at the time. Upon entering college I realized how easy my high school had been, and may of my high school classmates agreed. I know attending Governor’s School was a definite advantage to me as compared to my high school classmates. GS broadened my horizons, encouraged me to think differently, and push harder to achieve more than almost anything in high school. I believe that GS is especially valuable to students from smaller & underfunded schools. GS offers the opportunity to do & experience more than the limited options at their regular school. One of the main reasons NC is great is because we have so many great universities. But to keep NC great we need to really prepare students for success in those universities & beyond… and for me the best preparation came from attending GS. -A.Daughtry, GSE ’00, N. Johnston HS ’02, Meredith College ’06
1997 Foreign Language
From Vance County
My experience of high school was of a lonely place for an intellectual kid like myself, and GSW was pivotal for me in terms of broadening my horizons and opening my mind. I got excited about learning again and about where my education could take me. I also think that I grew a lot from being able to relate to my peers. One of the reasons I transitioned so well and so quickly in going on to college was that GSW helped me to reconnect wit my curiosity and gain confidence in myself. Governor’s School has meant enough to me over the years that I returned to work there– first as a teaching assistant, and then twice as faculty. I would happily teach there again if I could arrange the opportunity.
1984 Inst. Music
From Cabarrus County
My experience at Governor’s School as a student compelled me, later, to teach at the institution for two summers. I am a published author and I co-founded and edited a national literary journal. I’ve served as an officer on the board of directors of a 501 C3 Arts organization. These accomplishments, in no small part, are a direct result of the encouragement I received and the confidence I gained from the Governor’s School experience.
2002 Inst. Music
From Wake County
The benefits of an institution like Governor’s School are difficult to convey because the return on investment is impossible to quantify. However, I can say without hesitation that programs like Governor’s school are one of the best investments the the state of North Carolina can make in its future. The foundation of a great society is its people. People with leadership skills, people with creative ideas, people who feel they have a duty to their community and themselves to fulfill their potential. Governor’s School gave me and my peers a chance to develop these skills and explore the possibilities of our future at a crucial age, in ways the public school system has done a poor job at cultivating. As a GS Alumnus, I gave according to my means to help save the program this fall. As a taxpayer, I feel my dollars are being well spent funding this program for future generations.
1965 Social Science
From Yadkin County
Coming from a small town and a small high school, GS was my first opportunity to interact with and learn from other gifted students. It introduced me to potential careers that I had not before considered. In a small town I had had almost no opportunity to attend concerts or theatrical productions. Introduction to the arts (dance, orchestra, drama) was one of the most valuable experiences I had at GS.
1995 Math
From Forsyth County
Governor’s School was a time to explore new ideas. It introduced me to so many new concepts that helped me in my college career. It taught me to take account of the big picture, which added me in my technology assessment classes. My ethics instructions were so well presented and so well debated that I received a Computer Ethics multi-disciplinary degree from NC State. I still use the various ethical theories when I am debating my stance on various issues and it always helps me. Performances outside of my primary areas also broadened my outlook. After graduation, I bought a CD of Holst after the orchestra performed The Planets for our class. Governor’s School may be the best proving ground for university life in North Carolina, if not the country.
1978 Choral Music
From Carteret County
I grew up in a small town, the daughter of a pastor/social worker and teacher. I dreamed of being an attorney from a young age, but also loved to sing, dance and act. The performing arts allowed me to learn how to be creative, take risks (in a good way), have presence, connect with others and learn about myself. There were few opportunities in my area, but I had dedicated teachers who introduced my family to Governor’s School. At GS, I met others like me, developed both musical and life skills and made life long friends. That experience is one of those I can count on one hand as changing my life and propelling me into a great future–right up there with getting into Chapel Hill for undergrad and law school, getting a clerkship on the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, performing in The Lost Colony for three summers, meeting my husband and having my children! It would be a tragedy if this great institution were taken away from the students of North Carolina.
1990 English
From Gaston County
Governor’s School was the first place I ever felt “normal” and totally accepted by my peers. It seemed all of us were in the same place, and we gained strength from that knowledge. It was the best thing for me at the time to be with people I felt understood me and thought like me – and the staff pushed us past our normal thought processes and showed us a glimpse of what the world could be for us.
1987 Math
From Moore County
Attending Governor’s School East in 1987 was a pivotal moment in my life. Just as I was entering those important teen years when one discovers the world is much bigger than the ol’ hometown, GS exposed me to a wide variety of beliefs, views, and orientations. After that summer, I felt far more confident and curious about the world, which led me to want to push my expectations in my college choice. Once in college, I was far more comfortable exploring new things, and meeting new people. GS was a serious ‘game changer.’
1993 Choral Music
From Guilford County
Governor’s School was a life-changing experience for me. I left a different person than when I arrived, in all good ways. I made lifelong friends. I am still in touch with my choral director. I travelled internationally. The group continued to sing for the community of Laurinburg for years after our experience. I would be very saddened if Governor’s School was discontinued. I will always support it in whatever way I can.
1989 Math
From Union County
Going to GS was one of the most positive and defining moments of my life. I grew up in rural NC and GS was my first exposure to debates on controversial issues, the arts, and highly intelligent peers. GS prompted me to pursue government service as a career, and I’ve proudly served in the Federal government for over 12 years. Even though I’m no longer a resident of NC, those who know me know I’m a proud North Carolinian, and I think I serve as a good example of the type of person the state can produce, someone who is ethical, respectful, and thoughtful. Those are all traits that I fostered at GS. Other students deserve my same opportunity. Don’t deny them or the bigger picture by not funding GS.
2011 English
From Polk County
Governor’s School is the single most rewarding academic experience I have ever had, and I do not go a day without realizing its effects or remembering the incredible time I had there. In countless ways, the summer I spent there has bettered me as person, and made me much more likely to achieve my goals, both now and in the future. Without a doubt, I believe that keeping Governor’s School open for as many students as possible is of the utmost importance to the future and happiness of individual students, as well as the the future of our world as a whole.
2007 Choral Music
From Gaston County
Governors School is a place like no other. The experiences I had there are priceless. I am attending a public university and have not been challenged nearly as much in my four years here as I was challenged during my few weeks at Governors School. It is almost indescribable. The urge to learn extended beyond the classes we attended each day. Everywhere you went people were discussing religious, political, and social issues. It was an environment unhindered by the ugliness of the everyday world and when we left we took it and shared it with everyone we knew. Governors school touches so many people in so many ways. I would venture to say it is the most influential event of my entire life. It made us better and will continue to better generation after generation of future students.
2007 Theatre
From Henderson County
Beyond further education in their fields of study, Governor’s School provides high school students a new perspective in their fields of interest that high school can not provide. They get to talk with professionals working in their fields and really get a sense of whether or not what they study is something they want to pursue. Governor’s School also picks out academically and otherwise gifted students that may not get the chance to interact with others like them in high school. Knowing that there are students who equally share your passion and who are genuinely good people can make a world of difference to a young student. I personally learned an immeasurable amount from the Drama Program at GSW ’07. I am still friends with all my Area 1 mates and have used those skills and theories throughout my college education. Governor’s School should not be considered a “specialty” program that can be taken on and off the table on a fiscal whim. It is a most powerful tool for our future.
2011 English
From Rowan County
(E-mail sent)
2011 Social Science
From Cumberland County
Before GS, I was very confused. After GS, I became even more confused. I also became interested. Interested in my community and the world. I didn’t just want be ANYone; I wanted to be that person who made a difference.
2001 Theatre
From Wake County
I felt much better prepared to succeed in college as a result of the social and intellectual atmosphere cultivated at GSE. It is an experience I still speak about positively some eleven years later, and something I hope is available for NC students for a long time to come. As a lifelong NC public schools, I was provided with an important chance to interact with people who had a broader range of interests and backgrounds than I normally was able to on a daily basis at the time.
1976 Choral Music
From Johnston County
Governor’s School provided me opportunities, such as I had never had, to achieve musical excellence as part of a performing group. It was during this six-week period that I made my decision to pursue music education as a career. In addition, I found, to my surprise, an environment in which I could freely express my religious beliefs in the context of group discussion on a variety of topics in Areas II and III. These and other benefits are undoubtedly afforded to young people currently. They will help to mold them into mature young adults who pursue excellence, master a vast body of knowledge, and seek to understand the world around them.
1977 Choral Music
From Alamance County
I am now a high school teacher and I’m concerned. My students who are excelling are being dragged down by students who show up but don’t really care. There are SO MANY programs for children who are in trouble or lagging behind. There HAS to be a place for students who were like me-passionate about a subject and looking for a place to excel-and to belong. It’s still hard to express how Governor’s school impacted my life. It made a difference to me-because I finally knew who I was and who I could become. I was from the ‘hood’-food stamps and the projects. But somehow I fit in-actually thrived. I had intelligent conversation with intelligent students-and they with me. Of course sometimes I had goofy conversations with goofy kids-but someone finally ‘got’ me! I had finally found my ‘corner of the sky.’ Our leaders,our dreamers-HAVE to have a place to grow and change-their ‘corner of the sky.’ Governor’s School is that place. They will become great and serve this state well.
2009 Dance
From Wake County
Attending GSW was the best six weeks of my life. I met two girls who became my very best friends. Girls I can discuss everything with, from nail polish to the social statement of women in dance to genocide. I met a teacher who I continually learn from. One who really listens to me when I speak, and responds with intellectual and emotional thought. One who is just as excited to hear my ideas as I am excited to hear his. I discovered that I don’t want to live my life with regret. From a journal entry dated Thursday June 28, 2009: If there was ever a doubt in me about wanting to be a dance, it’s gone now. GSW helped me find the confidence to take a stand against those who said, “dance won’t pay the bills” and pursue my dream. I discovered the beauty of being a woman, the joys and freedoms. From a journal entry dated Tuesday July 7, 2009: I feel so much braver now. A lot more confident and sure of myself. A lot more. Everyday I am thankful for GSW.
2004 Foreign Language
From Wake County
Although my Area I class was not as great as it could have been (I believe that teacher did not return in subsequent years), the experiences I had with the people I met, the other teachers and TACs, the books we read and films we watched was extraordinary. GS was a ray of hope in the grim world of teenhood. It showed me that there was a world beyond the grind of high school, a world where people cared about the content of their education, cared about the future of society, cared about each other. GS gave me just enough of a taste of life beyond my limited worldview to get me hooked on new experiences, interesting people and challenging ideas. I’ve left NC to pursue dreams in the big city and a Master’s degree overseas, but I know I’ll return someday to raise my family. I want my kids to have a shot at Governor’s School too!
1987
From New Hanover County
Governor’s School provides an educational/social opportunity that is unavailable in the standard public school system. The interpersonal and problem-solving skills fostered by the program are much more applicable to success (in all parts of life) than and help achieve further success in the traditional classroom environment.
1990 English
From Guilford County
I wrote two blog posts about Governor’s School last year — http://myconvertiblelife.blogspot.com/2011/07/compete-globally-challenge-locally.html and http://myconvertiblelife.blogspot.com/2011/04/saving-summers-at-governors-school.html. Hope that helps…
1981 Inst. Music
From Orange County
I attended GSE in 1981 in Instrumental Music. At the time, I knew that my professional life would not be in Music and it hasn’t been. However, my experiences at GSE and in music in general, have enriched me in countless ways. My success professionally and personally have certainly come, in large part, to my experiences from GSE and Music. Being part of something larger than yourself, contributing to a team, communicating with others, sacrificing for a larger goal, learning something new and challenging, … Also, even though I have not entered Music as a profession, I have continued to play my entire life. I played in bands in college at NCSU and have been part of an adult organization, the Triangle Brass, for 26 years since. This group is a significant part of the cultural scene in the Triangle, the region and nationally. My best friends come from music. Thank you to GSE, to my instructors their and to my fellow students.
1989 Natural Science
From New Hanover County
I met talented, smart North Carolinians that I NEVER would have met otherwise. We shared similar experiences and dreams, and most importantly, we shared a pride in our State that it had the vision to nurture us.
1986 English
From Forsyth County
Governors School, strengthened my identity as a person from North Carolina. It made me proud to be from a state so committed to high-quality public education. I remain grateful that NC invested in me, permitting me to go to Governors School, and, a year later, UNC-Chapel Hill. Several decades later I live outside the US, but I will always be a Tar Heel (and I still vote and pay taxes in the state, and visit every year).
1997 English
From Buncombe County
Take a young adult from the mountains of Western North Carolina and put them in a room with another student from Wilson. Wilson? Where’s that? Where’s Rocky Mount or Elizabeth City? Bring all these students together to talk about ethics, art, music, politics, math and the great writers of our time. Challenge their thinking, encourage them to argue for what they believe in and explain why they hold those beliefs. Bring all these wonderful spirits from across an amazing state together in one place and watch what happens. Their lives will be changed forever. They will become engineers, teachers, writers, physical therapists, consultants, lobbyists and advocates. They will love each other and will never, ever forget the experience that brought them together in one unforgettable summer.
1990 Social Science
From Cumberland County
Please see response just before this.
1979 Math
From Caldwell County
The summer I spent at GS has had a major impact on my life and career. Coming from a small town, it was both challenging and encouraging to interact with the best from across the state. I found my footing in the world. Being the first in my family to go to college, it gave me a frame of reference to go to college and be successful because it was like going to college for the summer. I was encouraged to think about important concepts and began to formulate my own world view. I formed friendships, some of which continue today. The Governor’s School experience is totally unique and it encourages those gifted students in ways that simply cannot be duplicated at home. Once I went to college, I did not have to adapt to suddenly being a small fish in a large ocean. I knew that I could compete. I also knew that there were others who were just as talented, or in several instances, more talented. This experience must be preserved! I would not be the person I am without this opportunity.
2010 Theatre
From Cabarrus County
If only you could experience it yourself. Only then would you truly understand it’s impact. It deserves to stay open to students for centuries and centuries to come.
2011 English
From Henderson County
Governor’s School completely turned my life around, helped me grow more intellectually, socially, and personally than I had in the previous 17 years of my life. Through the super-supportive environment there I was for the first time in my life comfortable with being nothing but myself, without censorship or facades. I did not know that this new person exists. It was amazing to watch myself turn from a timid, unconfident, introverted kid into someone who performs music in front of 300 people, can strike up a conversation with anyone, and is not afraid to voice his opinion. Without GS, I would not be the president of two of the biggest clubs at my school, I would not have had the courage to apply to Brown, my dream school, and I would not be half as confident and self-aware as I am now. GS did not make me who I am today, it helped me discover myself.
1993 Choral Music
From Davidson County
Governor’s School was a HUGE influence on the way my life turned out, and it’s not over yet. GSW showed me that while NC is a great place to grow up, there were bigger things out there than staying in my hometown. I think I’ve done well. I attribute a lot of my adventurous spirit to interacting with kids from other, larger cities in the state and gaining new perspective on the world. I owe the governor’s school institution a great deal, that’s why I donate whenever they ask. It’s an amazing opportunity to mix with people and knowledge that you wouldn’t necessarily get at home.
2010 Social Science
From Surry County
Governor’s School is a priceless program that should be refunded immediately. When you think about it not doing so is unjust. Student who are struggling in school receive extra help and resources to succeed, so why don’t students who need a greater challenge receive resources as well? If Title I got their funding cut citizens across the state would be in an uproar and rightly so. Now, please understand why citizens are likewise in an uproar over the funding cut to Governor’s School. For some students, like myself, who are from small high schools in rural areas Governor’s School was the only time where my intellect was accepted and even valued. Please do not take the feeling of acceptance away from these students who, if nurtured properly, have the ability to positively improve life for future North Carolinians.
1967, faculty 1971-2009 Inst. Music
From Guilford County
GS was the most intense, eye-opening experience of my educational career. Attending as a high school student, then returning to teach for many years continued to shape my intellectual and artistic pursuits through a doctoral program at a top national conservatory and a faculty at a major university in NC. It remains more than an educational “enrichment” program for students from a wide variety of backgrounds of NC, consistently providing an experience that challenges assumptions and motivates student to think creatively about every discipline. GS sessions subtly and overtly reshaped my thinking and continues to do so for countless of NC students. It remains an vital part of NC’s success.
2000 Math
From Rowan County
Had there been a charge for Governor’s School, I would have wound up applying to prep programs that would have given me financial aid. I think those would have had a much narrower perspective than my Governor’s School experience. If there had been a tuition charge and no other programs out there, I imagine I would have needed to do some kind of fund-raising experience to get together the money to pay for the program. I definitely wouldn’t choose to do that as a first line of choices, so I probably would not have attended.
2009 Natural Science
From Buncombe County
In the summer of 2009, I spent six weeks at what was one of the most formative experiences of my life. I was selected to attend with a concentration in Natural Science. Among the courses I took were Synchrony and Chaos and Complex Systems. Through these classes I began to form my current paradigm of science and of academic pursuit in general. The noted courses in particular emphasized the large degree to which science is a dynamic discipline. The weeks at Governor’s School encouraged me to step outside the comfort of linear science, directing me to find order and direction in the nonlinear frontiers of modern inquiry (protein folding and neural networks are two of the topics we studied using this mindset). Equilibrium is root of monotony; it is when things are non-ideal, when there is a lack of linearity and directness, that the truly captivating phenomena emerge from complexity. This has informed my decision to pursue a PhD in molecular biology/biological systems.
2004 Math
From Macon County
I don’t want to drag this out, but the governor’s school community gave me a lot of hope. I was a miserable teenager trapped in a small town that couldn’t nurture my dreams and goals and GS was the first exposure I had to people who had similar aspirations, capabilities, and social experiences that I had. GS gives students who don’t live in cary, raleigh, charlotte, etc a chance to experience the culture of academia, education, and a truly nurturing learning environment in a way they never could otherwise. In turn, I really believe this leads to better college choices and a shot at a more successful future (in both the traditional and non-traditional senses). GS allows you to not only achieve the dreams you have, but to realize the ones you don’t yet.
2006 Inst. Music
From Wake County
Governor’s School is a phenomenal program which allows many students to find out both who they are and what they want to become. It is a place where creativity, openness, and thought are nurtured, which are all difficult to express in a public school setting. Personally, I not only discovered a new side of life by interacting with others of a like mindset, but also was able to figure out what I wanted to pursue in my education. I found a new sort of energy and focus which allowed me to afterward attend one of the world’s top music conservatories. Everyone I know who has attended a Governor’s School program came out a more confident and driven person, and I cannot imagine why anyone would not support this sort of mental and emotional growth. As it is said, the future lies in our youth, and I would not like to imagine a future where creativity, thought, and focus are not thought to be of import.
2011 Math
From Pamlico County
GS opened the doors of opportunity in so many avenues of my life. Never again do I feel that I will have so many options available to me after a mere six week activity session. These six weeks over the summer helped me create life-long connections, get a better sense of my personality and defining factors that represent myself, and also understand that I am important and can make a difference in the lives of others. GS makes the children turned away in the regular school system feel special. I know for a fact that if GS is still around at the time that I have children, then I will definitely live in NC to allow my children to have the same opportunity that I have had. NC has allowed countless students to express themselves and find others that will eventually lead to successful businesses, researchers, and other professions. NC has a great path going for future intellects; hopefully now they will just decide to keep up the extremely important system of helping gifted students.
1963 Choral Music
From Hertford County
My summer at the Governor’s School was one of the high points of my education. Even though I did not pursue music as a career choice, the two months with my peers had enormous impact on my education, life choices, life partner (married 35 years), and psychological balance in difficult times. Programs for gifted children should be a high priority. Tall poppy programs where the gifted are chopped down to make everyone feel equal should be eliminated.
2010 Inst. Music
From Randolph County
This opportunity allowed me to do things I could never experience in a typical high school setting. For example, the type of art, movies, music, and discussion that encountered are not available in high school. I was introduced to many different beliefs than I am used to. My beliefs are much stronger now due to Area II and III. Area III help me discover my values and morals. Area II helped me logically defend and understand my reasoning behind them. I am now a
2011 Choral Music
From Buncombe County
There aren’t many opportunities for this kind of education out there. Most of these kids are taught to believe that the worst thing they could possibly do is chose the wrong answer on a quiz, and memorization is the only way to learn. Governors School provides a place for willing and eager learners to gather and re-set their way of learning and thinking. It resets their entire approach to education. It teaches one how to think for their own. If the government can’t spare this small amount of money in their budget, they are only promoting a generation that will not think for themselves and can allow a corrupt government to continue to evolve as democracy deteriorates.
2004 Inst. Music
From Edgecombe County
Governor’s school was a phenomenal experience. I grew up in an extremely rural and conservative area. My freshman year, I realized I was gay and felt like my life was always going to be miserable. I was verbally and emotionally abused my close minded individuals in my hometown and thought that was the only way people would ever respond to my sexuality. Governor’s school showed me that I could be accepted and appreciated for who I am for the first time. Not to sound cliche but I really was lost before it and felt alone and it showed me the good in people for the first time. Governor’s school helped me grow as an individual and accept others in my acceptance of myself and made me into the person I am today. I appreciate it greatly.
1980 Math
From Currituck County
I attended GS – West in the summer of 80. I was at the top of my class in rural NC. I attended a very good high school and I thought my competition for college entrance would be basically at the same level as I had become accustomed. My GS experience showed me another side of the upcoming competition, I quickly realized that I was going to have to work even harder in my public school and college would be even more challenging. At that time, calculus was not available in the curriculum at home, but had become common place in the Mecklenburg, Wake, Orange and other systems. This experience not only prepared me for the future academically, but it also gave me the experience of living away from home for summer, which would soon become 4 years. I met many friends and I continued relationships through college and beyond. Attending GS is the best experience that I had that prepared me for a successful college experience and my continued public service as a County Finance Director.
1965 Natural Science
From Avery County
As students in a very small high school in Western North Carolina,my sister and I were honored to be chosen to attend the 1965 Governor’s School at Salem College. Without this experience, it is doubtful that we would have been able to pursue degrees at Duke and at SUNY Albany. I have remained friends with a few of the other students from that time and they also have had it positively impact their lives. Students may not pursue high profile careers, but they are well fitted to be parents and contributing members of their communities no matter where they settle. I know of no other school that provides such a diversity of experience for qualified students from all regions of North Carolina. Governor Sanford knew what he was doing when he initiated this school.
1971 Natural Science
From Mecklenburg County
GS set me on the path to personal achievement, introduced me to rewarding lifelong friendships, and bound me to GS and NC for life, no matter where I live. GS gets all the credit for breaking me out of my introverted shell, allowing me to attend UNC as a Morehead Scholar, and launching an incredible life. I’m currently a class agent, a fundraiser, and a heavy contributor to both GS and UNC. GS is the jewel in NC’s crown and needs to remain active for future generations of NC young people.
1971. I live in Greensbo
From Bertie County
NC does little enough for its potentially productive students and future contributors. Fund this magnificent program. Please. Now is not the time for cynicism or political posturing.
1993 Choral Music
From Guilford County
I believe that Governor’s School is important, and should be preserved for future generations of North Carolina’s high school students. Firstly, Governor’s School offers its students an opportunity to branch out and explore topics that would not normally be covered in high school. Secondly, Governor’s School teaches independence and responsibility to high-school-age students. Personally, I was thrilled to navigate and mingle with others on a college campus! Thirdly, Governor’s School teaches leadership skills that are crucial in today’s society. Our directors served as role models, probably without even knowing that it was true. In closing, I have nothing but good memories of Governor’s School. I even pursued similar subject matter in college, and eventually graduated! Thank you for considering the future of North Carolina’s Governor’s School Program.
2006 Theatre
From Cleveland County
Preserving Governor’s School is essential to ensuring that NC remains one of the most productive states in the USA. My experience in the NC public educational system, including attendance at Governor’s School, the NC School of the Arts, and Appalachian State University led me to remain invested and involved in NC. As a gainfully employed, recent college graduate, I am proud to say that Governor’s School prepared me for each step in my educational and early career journies. Governor’s School taught me to explore the uncomfortable, something that is not always easy as a small-town, NC native. Governor’s School taught me to appreciate diversity, a skill that has undoubtedly helped me in my professional and personal lives. Most importantly, Governor’s School introduced me to a group of individuals who challenged and encouraged me to become the person I am today. NC is doing a disservice to its young people if Governor’s School continues to be low on the legislative priority list.
1979 Social Science
From Caldwell County
I currently hold a doctorate and have been a teacher in both the public schools and private colleges in North Carolina for over 25 years. Governor School was the most transformative educational experience of my life. I would be curious to know how many gifted and talented students have been inspired to enter the teaching profession because of their experience at Governor School. I believe and would love to see the survey results of how many GS graduates are now in the field of education. This 6 week program is an amazing investment for our educational system in recruiting our best and brightest into the teaching profession. Please tell our legislators to quit wasting money on standardized tests and testing companies and software companies with secret formulas for evaluating teachers and invest in Governor School if they want to improve teaching, learning and Education in the State of NC. — Betsy Denton Burrows
1963 Inst. Music
From Davidson County
I was filmed back in May 2011 at Salem College giving my testimonial at a ceremony during which Salem College presented the GS with a check for $100,000. I hope that testimonial is still available. Barbara Lister-Sink
1975 Foreign Language
From Cumberland County
So many gifted students attend subpar public schools in NC that do not and cannot meet the needs and challenges of gifted students. GS gives those students the opportunity to experience how it should be, educationally and socially, even if only for 6 weeks. It gives hope and fuels their aspirations. NC benefits from outstanding leaders in all fields.
2011 Choral Music
From Wake County
GS helped me become independent in the ways I think, feel, and act in functioning society. Through GS’s phenomenal environment-teachers, peers, counselors, I feel like I’ve not only found new ways of approaching any situation,and found an entirely new place where everyone is understood and accepted for who they are, but I feel like Iv’e found…myself; and because of GS I like who that person is. I can truly, honestly say that without GS, I would not be who I am today.
1987 Theatre
From Lee County
will email
2011 Natural Science
From Mecklenburg County
Through endless discussions with my friends at North Carolina Governor’s School, I realized that the search for truth is as important as the truth itself. I was willing to share my personal search for truth and, because of that, I deeply connected with my friends. And, I was able to grow intellectually. I drew connections across seemingly unconnected ideas, such as M-theory and evil’s existence in the universe. Even though I know that I can never have all the pieces to the puzzle of truth, I strive to view the world through all the lenses available to me — science, art, history, literature, philosophy, and other’s perspectives — to get a more complete semblance of truth. This realization would not have been possible if I had not attended North Carolina Governor’s School and met students with diverse ideas, opinions and backgrounds.
1966 Art
From Mecklenburg County
It may sound quite cruel and is sad to realize that we have today so many programs to help the afflicted, the learning disabled, the athletes, and yet the legislature ground to a halt the one program that trains the best and the most talented in N.C. When the students at a GS session learn of each other, they form a network of culture, thinking, and compassion that no other program generates in this State. This program was designed to be without cost to those selected so that all economic levels can be represented through demonstrated talent and potential. Please restore funding to this program. I am 62 years old and I still am impressed and guided by my GS learning. Becky Owens GS ’66
1999 English
From Henderson County
Outside of few exceptions, Governor’s School was the first time in my educational experience that I was encouraged to engage in critical thinking with my peers and teachers, to step outside the standard educational institution and orient myself more in terms of possibilities and questions than in terms of rote memorization and getting certain quantifiable results on an exam. I believe that innovation in science, art, and even business leadership necessitates this kind of cultivation. As students, we weren’t merely receptacles but participants. The foundations I formed at Governor’s School still shape my sense of curiosity and community more than nearly any other experience in my life. I wish that every student in North Carolina could have a small taste of what Governor’s School has to offer (a week? a month? a summer?)
1985 Foreign Language
From Guilford County
Prior to GSE 1985, if you had told me that I would have traveled and performed with great performers on stage and video, lived across the country, gone to a prestigious university, found my faith in God, persevered through hard times and emotional rollercoasters, been blessed with children smarter than I was and given the charge to raise them, I would have looked at my future with some hesitation and uncertainty about my ability to handle it all. I went to GSE not even sure who I was and what I wanted – I only knew what the expectations were of me. At GSE, I explored language, psychology, philosophy, music and dance. I wrote, I experienced love, I found friendships that are true to this day, 27 years later. I found vision that, no matter what life threw at me, the most important thing was to be true to myself and make the world better by serving to my greatest capacity. I hope this experience will still be here for my daughters. We need our Governor’s School!
1995 Natural Science
From Macon County
I do believe that I would have been able to attend the program for $500; however, I know that many qualified students would not be able to attend with such an out-of-pocket cost. I would have been able to attend because my father was murdered, and he left an estate. But what about those students who may be from single-parent homes and “just getting by,” particularly in the toughest economy since the Great Depression? One thing I learned at GSW was to respect people from all walks of life, which would include the rich AND the poor. If no students of lesser means were able to attend GS, it runs the risk of becoming elitist. This is the antithesis of what GS stands for. If it is all rich kids, then how are we supposed to learn anything different and gain a sense of compassion and duty to society? We would not. GS teaches the intellectual “cream of the crop” of upcoming seniors in the State of NC, that they are the future leaders of our great state with a sense of purpose FOR ALL.
2006 Theatre
From Chatham County
Governor’s School opened my mind to new ways of thinking that the NC public school system NEVER made possible. GSW brought in numerous public speakers, ranging from College Professors to Published Writers, talking to me about everything from “Hard-Determinism” to “Dark Matter and Dark Energy.” It gave me a love of my craft (theater) that I had never before experienced. This 6-week program inspired me to pursue higher levels of education BECA– USE GOVERNOR’S SCHOOL WAS FREE. Finally an institution that didn’t want my money, but truly believed I have something to offer as a human being with a specific passion for a particular talent. Upon the completion of GSW, I was accepted to every college I applied for. I started at NYU in ’07 and transferred to UNC School of the Arts in ’09 and am currently working towards a B.F.A. in Drama (expected year of graduation: 2013.) When I graduate, I have so much I plan to give back to my community and I owe all of it to GS of NC. – Stephen Shore
2010 Dance
From Buncombe County
Governor’s school gave me an opportunity I would not have had otherwise. It allowed me to spend six weeks with some of the most inspiring and stimulating people in North Carolina. It opened my mind and my eyes to various new ideas and views through the speakers, the movies, and the classes. If Governor’s school had not been available to me, I would not have had the opportunity to realize who I am. Governor’s school gave me a safe place to discover myself and who I am meant to be.
1986 Art
From Lenoir County
To past Governor’s School attendees, nothing compares, in memory, to that special summer where we came together from all across the state and discovered that we each had something unique to bring to the experience. Rural, urban, rich, poor, quiet, or wildly outgoing – an eclectic group of students that had been singled out by their teachers for the opportunity of a lifetime. Six weeks later, we had all grown, enriched in immeasurable ways by the sunshine of individual attention, the rain of academic challenge, and the winds of popular opinion and studied debate. As adults, those summer lessons became an ingrained part of who we are. They still serve to spur us on, to prod us to become that which those teachers had seen in us long before we could see it in ourselves. The Governor’s School experience must be preserved for future generations.
2010 Inst. Music
From Cabarrus County
I attended Governor’s School East in the Summer of 2010, and I cannot stress enough how much of an impact it had on my life. As an instrumental music student, I was already significantly involved in music, but after Governor’s School, my passion for music multiplied drastically. I now attend the University of South Carolina, in the Honors College, as a music performance major, and I am also following the Pre-Medical track in hopes of someday becoming a neurologist. Besides being a purely educational experience, Governor’s School is also a positive social experience. I count many of the friends I met at Governor’s School among the best friends that I have ever made, and we still keep in very close contact. To see the end of Governor’s School in North Carolina would be a travesty to me. The things I learned and the people I met while there had a deep and lasting impact on me, and it helped me become the person I am today.
1987 Natural Science
From Catawba County
A small subsidy is reasonable on the part of the participants with a full need scholarship to a minority? Times are changing sadly and I’d like it to be funded publicly but this may be a challenge for long term security. Many thanks for your efforts Patrick Burnside MD Charlotte, NC
1994 Art
From Nash County
I was a shy, rather sheltered young girl from Nash County, who had been accepted to NCSSM. I had never really been away from home, and this was the first experience of my life of true independence, of finding myself immersed in an atmosphere that brought out the best in me, challenged me, and supported me. It was a heaven of diversity and an experience that helped acclimate me to my two-year stint at NCSSM. It truly was one of the best summers of my childhood. I went on to explore multiple realms of thought at NCSSM–which still has excellent Arts and Humanities programs–and later as a Teaching Fellows at UNC-CH. I am currently a high school English teacher at Enloe in Raleigh, and I know I am a better teacher, not just because of my high school and college experiences, but because of Governor’s School East. The creativity, the energy, and the scholarship of the six-week program helped me better relate to my students and fostered within me a life-long love of learning.