TCCHS nominees for next summer’s Governor’s Honors Program at the reception held Oct. 21. Now, students must finish and submit their applications by Dec. 3. Hope Nelson, (from left, front row), Asia Gurule, Laken Rutland, Katie Simmons, Sophie Anderson; Guanghui Li (from left, back row), Jacob Hancock, Chandler Watson, Parker Owens, Logan Leik and Cole Donovan.

THOMASVILLE – Nominees for next summer’s Governor’s Honors Program have been announced and Thomas County Central High School has several students completing the application process.

“Student will be completing their applications to Governor’s Honors over the next month or so,” Dr. James Rehberg, director of gifted/accelerated instruction said.

GHP is a residential program held each summer designed for gifted/talented high school students. It strives to help these students “become the next generation of global critical thinkers, innovators, and leaders,” according to the official website.

Rising juniors and seniors are eligible. Nominees are from academic, fine arts and CTAE areas.

TCCHS nominees in academics are: Cole Donovan, Latin; Jane Guo, science; Guanghui Li, mathematics; Kathryn Simmons, science; and, Chandler Watson, science.

Fine arts nominees are: Sophie Anderson, visual arts; Logan Leik, music, voice/bass; and Laken Rutland, music, woodwind/clarinet.

CTAE nominees are: Asia Gurule, technology; and Jacob Hancock, Hope Nelson and Parker Owens, all agricultural science.

“I feel very honored to be nominated,” nominee Sophie Anderson said. “Since I was a child, I loved art. My mom always took me to museums and galleries and gave me art books so I would have an appreciation for art.”

Anderson began “drawing seriously” around age nine, but only since she began high school has she started to think about art as “a serious career path.”

“I would be very happy to be selected to do GHP this summer,” she said. “My hope is that GHP will give me a good idea of what it would be like to pursue art at the college level and help me further challenge myself to produce better art.”

The lookout for potential nominees begins early in the school year. Teachers are asked to identify talent and potential candidates; then, department heads meet in September to discuss potential nominees. Students are selected in October and given a reception to kick off the application process, Rehberg explained.

A reception was held Oct. 21 at TCCHS to honor this year’s nominees.

The deadline to complete online student nominee forms is Dec. 3. Notification of semi-finalists will be sent via email Jan. 5, 2015. State level interviews are in January and February, with the finalists expected to be notified March 13.

“They’ll have to decide if they want to accept or not,” Rehberg said. “Once they confirm with GHP, they are in and just waiting on move-in day to arrive.”

Rehberg explained the school wants “to identify and cultivate talented students who will qualify and be selected” but, for the student, GHP “can mean everything.”

“It’s really a chance to be an individual and shine, to discover things they didn’t realize they were capable of and reconfirm what they may already know,” he said.

TCCHS has had several GHP participants in past years. Justin Knapp participated last year in the area of Communicative Arts.

He said the experience was “a lot more than I expected in that the people I met there contributed more than anything to the overall positive experience for me.”

“I expected GHP to mostly be classroom involvement and critical thinking and, while this did make up a significant portion of it, I felt that the interaction with my peers there was the most valuable aspect,” Knapp said.

The most valuable thing he learned from the experience “is how enlightening other people can be” as the students and teachers “provided me with so much insight into both myself and the world around me.”

The program made Knapp “a better learner in that I am now much more open to the world around me.” He now embraces his curiosity and realizes there is much to learn “outside of a generic classroom setting.”

Knapp encouraged other students to attend GHP. He said the process is long, but “the reward is well worth it.”

“It will require months of preparation and, in the end, you may have the opportunity to experience a summer with 690 students just like yourself as you all explore your passions together,” he said.

Rehberg said the school always wants to send its most qualified students, but the trick to be ready for GHP is to not wait until sophomore or junior year.

“Becoming a GHP nominee and finalist starts years ahead of schedule,” he said.

“You have to look good on paper to make it to the round of interviews. Then you have to be able to sell yourself to the judges. They are looking for dynamic individuals who will take advantage of this unique program and really make GHP a success.”

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