Governor’s Honors Academy back at MU
HUNTINGTON — After 15 years of visiting other higher education campuses across the Mountain State, the Governor’s Honors Academy has returned to Marshall University for its three-week program for West Virginia rising seniors.
About 150 students from across the state are on campus for the free program, which gives academically motivated students an opportunity to explore different topics while getting a taste of the college experience. This year’s theme is Growing a Culture of Honors and Your Digital World, which is a combination of STEM topics and the arts and humanities.
“I hope students find a passion and develop their potential,” said GH A co-dean Cara Bailey. “I think that’s what GHA is about.”
Marshall W. Page Pitt School of Journalism professor Dan Hollis has been teaching at GHA for 17 years. He said he wants his students to realize being challenged is fun.
“Education is multifaceted,” Hollis said. “Their education up to now has been what it is — it’s great; it’s high school. But on the grand scheme, there is a lot out there. There are lots of ways to teach and lots of ways to learn. The great thing about GHA is we don’t have to worry about tests, but the experience, for the experience is in the classroom. I grow. They grow. I challenge them. They challenge me.”
Hollis said he wants the students to realize the teacher is a partner in their education.
“That’s how I look at college, too,” he said. “It’s not about conforming to certain rules. I love that I learn something every time I teach a class. We are partners. I think GHA helps students understand that.
“My classes are extraordinary discussion based. We tackle every hot-button issue out there. The goal is not to have them think like I do, but the goal is to have
“I hope students find a passion and develop their potential. I think that’s what GHA is about.”
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them think the best they can about it. It helps them figure out who they are and what they want to do.”
For Marshall sophomore and Yeager Scholar Olivia Rogers, GHA alumna and resident adviser for this year’s camp, GHA helped her narrow in on her potential.
“For these students, they have a lot of interests and a lot of things they could do, and it can sometimes be stressful to think about the future,” Rogers said. “It was an amazing experience seeing what could be. It was also our first experience in a college environment.”
Rogers said it was very rewarding to meet so many more people with different viewpoints and opinions, and she made lifelong friends.
“I hope these students realize their potential to do what they want with their lives, but to also give back to their state,” Rogers said. “I hope they utilize their opportunities they are given and the talents they have and see this is an opportunity to see their future — really go for it.”
As wonderful an opportunity it is for the high school students, it’s also an opportunity for a college that is doing all it can to increase enrollment.
“Marshall, in 15 years, has grown so much,” Bailey said. “Of course we’ve added new buildings, new programs, our enrollment has grown, but the students who have gone through the Governor’s Honors Academy haven’t been able to see the fantastic new spaces and technology. Having GHA back at Marshall gives the university the chance to show the state’s best and brightest what we have to offer.”
Hollis said while he never actively tries to recruit students, he is happy the window is being opened for them to see what Marshall has to offer.
The Governor’s Art Academy is also taking place at Marshall.
The Governor’s STEM Institute (GSI), the new name and format for the former Governor’s School for Math and Science, is being hosted for seventh-graders at West Virginia University and at Green Bank Observatory for eighth-graders.
Follow reporter Taylor Stuck on Twitter and Facebook @TaylorStuckHD.