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To the GHP Finalists, With Love

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On January 26, five Cass High students were selected as finalists for the Governor’s Honors Program. They will move on to compete in state interviews at Berry College on February 24 for a spot in the program.

Cass will be represented at state interviews by Grace Weeks for theatre, Alexa Halpern and Jenna Keeler for Communicative Arts, and Brianna-Necole Gonsahn and Christian Alvarez for Social Studies. Thus far, the finalists have passed through school interviews, county interviews, and a vigorous online application round to be selected for state interviews.

“I’m super excited to have the chance to make it to state and compete with other talented kids,” says Grace Weeks, who also interviewed last year. “While the application process can be tough, it absolutely pays off in the end.

The Governor’s Honors Program is, according to the Governor’s Office of Student Achievement, a “residential summer program for gifted and talented students.” There is a 21% acceptance rate for nominees, and only 0.01% of all Georgia students get to attend the program. Once accepted, students get the opportunity to spend four weeks entirely cost-free at Berry College with 650 of the best and brightest in Georgia. They attend classes daily in their majors and attend weekday classes in a minor of their choice, giving them the opportunity not only to dig into what they love but also to explore something new. Along with classes, students may attend voluntary seminars, concerts, and community service nights throughout their four weeks at GHP.

Finalist Brianna-Necole Gonsahn also interviewed for a spot in the program last year but fell just short of making it in.

“Last year, I felt underprepared for the interview and for the debate [that social studies finalists must participate in,]” she says. “Since then, I’ve been doing debates, researching opinions, and sharpening my people skills to prepare, and I feel a lot more confident. I’m really happy I made it again, and I’m looking forward to just being able to nerd out with people who love social studies as much as I do.”

This is truly the experience of a lifetime. Alumni consistently hail the program as one of the best experiences of their lives, with one of the 2016 alumnus describing GHP as “a place where our brains can be at peace– certainly not unchallenged, but accepted.”

Note: I, personally, attended the Governor’s Honors Program last summer. I can attest to every last ounce of the so-called “GHP magic,” and to this year’s finalists, I have one piece of advice: be passionate. Be excited. Don’t hold back your love for your subject in the name of being professional; they want to see that you care, so care deeply. I have all the faith in the world that you can do this, and I want nothing more than to be able to share the magic with all of you.

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To the GHP Finalists, With Love