Valdosta Daily Times

Local News

June 24, 2013

VSU hosts 50th Governor’s Honors Program

VALDOSTA — For the next month, 690 of Georgia’s top upcoming high school juniors and seniors will be attending the Governor’s Honors Program held at Valdosta State University. For 50 years, the program has allowed the best of the best in the state to expand their knowledge of their chosen area and interact with others like them.

To be selected, each high school in the state is allotted a quota of the top 1 percent of their students in the chosen categories. This adds up to about 3,000 students statewide. Those 3,000 students are interviewed by judges and given a challenge in their respected field and scored on their responses and performances. Of the 3,000, less than a quarter will be selected to join the program.

Each year, the students chosen to be a part of the program flock to the school campus to learn about one of the 17 majors ranging from AgScience to dance to science.

Dale Lyles, the program director for GHP, was an attendee of the program when he was in high school. Lyles said of the experience, “It changed my life forever. I am who I am today because of what happened 43 years ago (when I attended GHP). It taught me the value of my brain; that I wasn’t the only strange kid out there. It made me realize I had the potential to do anything I wanted.”

Students are not graded and no scores are kept during the program. They are simply given problems or pieces to work on and allowed to find the answers or the perfect presentation their way. The program feels that these lessons help students grow in their fields beyond what they might be able to in a normal school setting.

In a normal school setting, students are taught to learn what the teacher is telling them. At the Governor’s Honors Program, students are free to find their own ways to resolve problems or execute performances and these lessons often carry them through their lives.

Some of the program’s attendees have gone on to use their skills in amazing ways. Jack McBrayer, from the TV show 30 Rock, was an attendee of GHP, as was Wayne Knight, from Seinfield. Georgia House Representative Edward Lindsey and Jeff Greenstein, producer for the TV shows “Will & Grace” and “Desperate Housewives,” also attended the program, along with many other well known politicians, TV personalities and scientists.

“Students here have to be willing to take risks. We free them for the first time, since first grade probably, to play at learning. We encourage them to push themselves to fail,” said Lyles.

And while the unofficial motto of pushing themselves to fail might concern those who are not in the program, students at GHP understand that this simply means that they have the freedom to figure out solutions on their own, with no worry of grade repercussions.

There are two mandates for the program each year. The first mandate is to provide instruction that is significantly different from the regular high school classroom, in terms of content, delivery strategies and expectation of student response.

Lyles explained this mandate as,  “We cover topics that are not usually covered, in ways that high schools are not able to do. We have student oriented instruction instead of the teacher simply teaching what they know. We say here are the tools you need to do this thing you say you love to do, and they do it.”

The second mandate is to empower the students with the skills, knowledge, behaviors and attitudes necessary to become a lifelong learner. Lyles explained this as, “We want them to become independent lifelong learners.”

1
Text Only
Local News
  • election.jpg Black earns most votes in runoff

    State Rep. Ellis Black led the votes for state Senate District 8 Friday with seven of seven counties reporting certified results, according to the Georgia Secretary of State’s Office.

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • 140724-LAT1.jpg Little Actors Theatre ready for summer show

    Since 2004, the Little Actors Theatre has provided a place for children ages 6 to 19 to express themselves through acting.

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • 072414-MichelleNunn003.jpeg Michelle Nunn visits Valdosta

    The day after learning that her Republican challenger would be David Perdue, Democratic U.S. Senate hopeful Michelle Nunn kicked off her Common Sense and Collaboration Tour Wednesday by meeting with business owners in Atlanta, Athens and Macon and continued her tour Thursday morning by visiting the David S. Waller Unit facility of the Boys and Girls Club of Valdosta.

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • lunch.jpg Valdosta One Lunch feeds summer-hungry kids

    Hunger is a concept that many people associate with third-world countries, not their hometown. However, in Valdosta, hunger is real. To combat this hunger, a group of Valdostans have created Valdosta One Lunch, a program that distributes bagged meals to children in need.

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • thumbs up.jpeg Moody squadron commander reaches milestone

    The 75th Fighter Squadron commander hit a career milestone July 17, by surpassing 3,000 flight hours in an A-10C Thunderbolt II.

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • water.jpg New equipment expected to deal with Lowndes water violations

    The Lowndes County Commission’s recent approval of $1.6 million for water-treatment equipment is expected to counter a past series of water-quality violations within the county.

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • 142314-Goodwill.jpg Goodwill hosts the Mexican Consulate

    Mexican citizens living in South Georgia have spent this week lining up at the Valdosta Goodwill to meet with the Mexican Consulate to obtain Mexican government issued identification.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • 140723-Tree001.jpg Chamber plants 100th centennial tree

    Founded in September 1912, the Valdosta-Lowndes County Chamber of Commerce is one of the largest chambers in the state.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • 140723 - Operation M#10E3C7.JPG Veterans First

    With Moody Air Force Base expecting to lose 300 to 400 personnel due to government cutbacks, area organizations are working with military personnel about to enter the civilian work force.

    July 24, 2014 2 Photos

  • Lowndes increases millage rate

    For the first time since 1999, the Lowndes County Commission voted Wednesday to increase the millage rate.

    July 24, 2014

Top News
Poll

School starts again in about two weeks. What do you think?

It's still summer. School starts too soon.
Seems like the right time to return.
Abolish summer recess. Make school year-round.
     View Results