Five Watauga High School Students Selected for Governor’s School

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Watauga High School students Shafer Brown, Stephanie Pawlyszyn, Jessica Simon, Samuel Weeks, and Caleb Wysor have been selected to attend Governor’s School of North Carolina, a summer program for academically gifted students from across the state.

“We are very proud of these five students,” said Watauga High School Principal Marshall
Gasperson. “It is a great honor to be chosen for Governor’s School, and their selection reflects
highly on their ability and on their commitment to excellence.”

Students attending Governor’s School are nominated and chosen in one of ten subject
areas: art, choral music, dance, English, French/Spanish, instrumental music, mathematics,
natural science, social science, and theater. Brown was selected for art, Simon for instrumental
music, Wysor for English, and Pawlyszyn and Weeks in natural science.
Governor’s School is an intellectually rigorous program in which no grades or tests are
given and no course credit is awarded.

The goals of Governor’s School courses and activities are to stimulate student creativity, encourage students to question basic assumptions, and develop an acceptance of change. The curriculum emphasizes contemporary theories and new developments in each subject area. Students concentrate their studies in the subject in which they were selected
but they also participate in courses and activities that are shared among students from all subject
areas.

The Governor’s School of North Carolina is the nation’s oldest statewide summer residential program for academically gifted high school students. It is very selective, typically offering space to less than one half of the highly qualified students nominated by their respective high schools. The faculty and staff of Governor’s School include leading teachers, professors, and professionals from across the country.

Although Governor’s School is widely praised by program alumni and educators, it has suffered even more than most public education programs from cuts to the state budget. All expenses of attending Governor’s School for a six week program were paid by the state until 2009-10, when the legislature reduced funding in response to the state’s budget problems. The reduced state support required the school to institute a $500 tuition fee for each student for thefollowing year. Governor’s School then underwent a near death experience when the current legislature eliminated state funding for the program in the budget for 2011-12. However,program alumni and other supporters organized a North Carolina Governor’s School Foundation and raised more than $700,000 to keep the program alive. Three of the donors – the Golden LEAF Foundation, the Heisman Foundation, and the Florence Rogers Charitable Trust –designated a portion of their contributions to be used for scholarships for selected students.

While Governor’s School has been preserved for the current year, the length of the program has been scaled back from six weeks to five weeks and the number of participating students has been reduced from 600 to 550. Despite the reduced overall enrollment, the number of Watauga High School students who will attend Governor’s school this year is higher than the number (three) who attended last year.

The program operates at two locations, an eastern campus at Salem College in WinstonSalem and a western site at Meredith College in Raleigh. Brown, Pawlyszyn, and Wysor will
attend Governor’s School at Meredith College, while Simon and Weeks will be attending at
Salem College.

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