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McIntosh Students Attend GHP

Samuel+Ellis+and+fellow+Communicative+Arts+Students+pose+at+Berry+College
Samuel Ellis and fellow Communicative Arts Students pose at Berry College

Samuel Ellis and fellow Communicative Arts Students pose at Berry College

Samuel Ellis and fellow Communicative Arts Students pose at Berry College

Jack Vaughn, Features Editor

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From June 18th to July 15th, 14 McIntosh students attended the Governor’s Honors Program (GHP) at Berry College in Rome, Georgia. Ranging from actors to engineers, this group represented the best and most diverse students McIntosh had to offer.

A symbol of specialized excellency, GHP grants students the chance to further their knowledge and experience in a specific field. GHP drastically differs from a traditional high school setting. Instead, the program is characterized by aspects of college life: dorms, included meals, and overnight stays. Because it’s  available to all rising sophomores and juniors, the program is competitive and selective.

Many McIntosh students last year were recommended by their teachers as GHP candidates. Their journey through the application process began at a local level; the students wrote essays for a county-wide selection process. The essays included details about why they wanted to attend GHP and what they could contribute to the program. However, the application differed depending on the field of the student. For example, musicians, such as pianist Sophia Han, had to submit a recording of their music.

After the application essays went through an assessment process, the students attended a county-wide interview process at Starr’s Mill High School. There, the McIntosh students competed against all the other high school students in the county for a chance to advance to the state level essay application. The interview began with specific questions about the applicant’s subject area. Once again, the process differed based on subject; for instance, foreign language students, like Spanish speaker Caitlyn Kinnard, conducted part of their interviews in another language.

After the local interviews, Mrs. Hammock personally notified all the applicants who had been eliminated at the county level interview and suggested other academic summer programs. Meanwhile, the remaining students began preparation for state interviews. In total, McIntosh sent an impressively large group of 21 students to the state level of interviews, living up to its reputation of excellence. The state interviews consisted of more rigorous and lengthy questioning from multiple interviewers. Of the initial group of 21, 14 McIntosh students were accepted into the Governor’s Honors Program.

The Governor’s Honors Program will continue to be offered to sophomore and juniors throughout Georgia. As such, the most recent McIntosh GHP finalists were asked to give advice to these candidates. Samuel Ellis, who attended GHP last summer for communicative arts, shared, “Apply where your passion lies and show it in the interview. 65% of the interview is passion.”

The emphasis on passion carries over to other subject areas. Jessica Zemp, a visual artist, explained the importance of the interview process; she said, “Extraversion is important; interviewers like to see social, outgoing finalists that can passionately talk about their interests.” As an invaluable source of advice for GHP, these previous finalists have the potential to increase McIntosh representation at GHP even further from the already impressive number of students.

As is to be expected from a month-long program, the students formed strong memories of their experience. When asked about her favorite memory at GHP, Kate Cullen, a social studies enthusiast, reminisced about her minor which is an additional area of study. She said, “My best GHP experience was probably on the 4th of July. Since I was a social studies major I was surrounded by people who loved America just as much as I did so we had a party and sang the national anthem more times then I could count.  I also was a dance minor so we had a performance and that was a ton of fun.”

However, the reach of GHP goes far beyond the time spent at the actual program. A GHP finalist for Design Engineering, Tynan Fortune, said,“GHP provided a place for hundreds of kids from all backgrounds and interests to gather and celebrate their passions. Whether those interests be similar or completely different than my own, the passion is contagious and I left loving graphic design even more than when I arrived, which I didn’t think possible.”

Despite the innate rigor of such a selective program, the Governor’s Honors Program seems to have left a remarkable positive impact on the lives of passionate McIntosh students. It appears that the tradition of GHP strengthening McIntosh students will be continued for years to come.

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McIntosh Students Attend GHP