The Governor's Scholars Program as described by scholars
RELEASED: July 10, 2008
DANVILLE, KY—The Governor's Scholars Program offers a unique learning experience to those Kentucky students lucky enough to earn acceptance. But what exactly comprises this "unique learning experience?" Three scholars were asked to describe three of the principle components that make up GSP.
Often referred to simply as the major, the focus area is the most prominent item on the scholars' schedule.
"We spend a lot of time there," says Katie Lutes of Ryle High School in Boone County. "It's the reason we came, the subject we chose to study during our time at GSP."
Because scholars choose the topic of their focus area, Lutes says the time spent in this class is "with people who are truly interested in the topic and who band around a central theme."
Lutes' focus area is Spanish, which is taught by Maggie Roll, a Centre alumna. Lutes describes a syllabus that contains not only grammar and spelling but also community service.
"On Mondays we generally focus on grammar and culture, but on Wednesdays we work with Centro Latino, a local support organization for Latin American immigrants," she says. "We mainly mentor children ages 3-17 as they help us work on our Spanish."
On Wednesday evenings, Lutes' class watches a Spanish film and then discusses it on Friday.
"My high school Spanish classes are nothing like this," Lutes says. "A lot of the learning we do here is done in groups. So instead of being handed worksheets and reading assignments, we're working together to learn. And I'm getting more exposure to Spanish-speaking cultures here."
Lutes is quick to point out that even though the focus area involves a lot of her time, it's not exclusively what GSP is about. Scholars have a second class that exposes them to a topic they didn't choose but enjoy because of its change of pace.
Also referred to as the minor, general studies is just that: classes taught by faculty members that extend beyond the realm of standard academic topics. Everything from "Hat-making" to "Elections 2008" and "Repairman 101" to "The Craft of Letter Writing" are on the course list.
Stacey Yeley of Paul G. Blazer High School in Ashland is enrolled in a more discussion-based class called "How Decisions are Made and Influenced" taught by Kevin Jackson. So far, the course has explored the influence of sexual images in advertising and the role of ethics in determining whether decisions are right and wrong.
"When we studied advertising, we discussed how there's simply so much," Yeley says. "We called it 'the clutter.' Then we started talking about how and where advertising works."
Whereas focus area classes are taught with more structure, many general studies courses, such as Yeley's, are more freeform and guided by the discussions that take place.
"Both the major and minor are really important to the GSP experience," Yeley says. "They work together because one is something you know you're interested in, but the other teaches you more about the world in a way you didn't expect."
The last regularly scheduled event on the scholars' weekly calendar is seminar. Whereas the focus area and general studies concentrate around a central theme, seminar works as completely free flow of ideas between scholars; it's moderated by a resident advisor.
"Seminar allows us to come together as a group with different backgrounds, without fear of judgment," says Devin Klaserner of Newport Central Catholic High School in Newport. "We discuss many things that affect teens today: ethics, high school, relationships…we even spent some time one day randomly discussing how a laundry room works."
To keep up with the events of GSP at Centre through journals and photos, visit GSP Centre.
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Founded in 1819, Centre College is ranked among the U.S. News top 50 national liberal arts colleges. Consumers Digest ranks Centre No. 1 in educational value among all U.S. liberal arts colleges. Centre alumni, known for their nation-leading loyalty in annual financial support, include two U.S. vice presidents and two Supreme Court justices. For more, visit http://www.centre.edu/web/elevatorspeech/
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