GSP comes to Centre for the 28th year
In a matter of days, Centre’s campus will be taken over by high school juniors from across the state in a 28-year tradition known as the Governor’s Scholars Program. GSP first came to Centre—and only Centre—in 1983, and it has since expanded to other campuses across the state, including Bellarmine and Murray State.
GSP gives high school students entering the college application process insight into what college is like—both in the classroom as well as outside it.
Nick Gowen ’11 attended GSP on Centre’s campus in 2006 and is returning this year as a resident assistant.
“I remember it being exactly what I needed—it gave me confidence that I could make new friends when I went off to college, taught me to manage my time on a college schedule and introduced me to the student/RA/staff/ professor dynamic of a college campus,” Gowen says. “It’s essentially college on training wheels, and it made my future in higher education seem a lot less intimidating.”
Pottinger Professor of History and Centre’s GSP campus director Clarence Wyatt believes that everyone benefits mightily from GSP, including the students, the faculty and Centre itself.
“For faculty and staff, working at GSP is a professional enrichment experience. They learn new approaches to teaching and learning from their students and their colleagues,” he says. “Centre and GSP have a great partnership. They have similar missions—both believe that hands-on, learn-as-you-go experiences are what help students learn best.”
Assistant Professor of English John Kinkade ‘95 attended GSP as a high school junior in 1990, and now works on the Centre GSP staff. For him, GSP is important because of the opportunities it presents students to learn in a unique way.
“GSP’s flexibility does more to nurture and encourage curiosity than any academic setting I’ve been a part of—released from the pressure of grades, teachers and students can take more intellectual risks,” he says.
Kate Wintuska ’13, who attended GSP in 2009 and is returning as an RA this summer, agrees with Kinkade about the value of such a non-conformist educational experience.
“GSP was a normalizing experience in which I learned that a passion for learning was not uncommon among my peers, and it was encouraged,” she says. “While at GSP scholars are given the opportunity to be challenged (in the traditional and nontraditional ‘academic’ subjects) without formalized schooling structures.”
GSP is about more than classroom learning—it’s about fostering community with other people. Students who meet at GSP often remain friends for life. “One of my friends at GSP ended up being my college roommate for three years,” Gowen says. “Lasting friendships are definitely forged in the small window of five weeks.”
Gowen’s fellow RA Jacob Edwards ’11 also attended GSP at Centre in 2006. For him, the most significant aspect of the program is the opportunity it gives everyone involved to get to know themselves.
“The most important thing I believe the scholars and even the personnel of GSP can learn from being at the program is who they are. GSP is a great opportunity for self-exploration and understanding one’s own beliefs and learning to appreciate individuality,” Edwards says. “The scholars learn the value of acceptance and begin to understand that being different is an opportunity to grow.”