Three VHS students have been selected to attend Arkansas Governor’s School including Ashlyn Estes, Andrea Stitt and Bailee Jo Thorn. The Arkansas Governor’s School is a six-week summer residential program for gifted and talented students who are upcoming high school seniors and residents of the state of Arkansas. The program is funded by the Arkansas State Legislature as a portion of the biennial appropriation for gifted and talented programs through the state Department of Education. State funds provide tuition, room, board, and instructional materials for each student who attends the six-week program on the site of a residential college campus, leased by the state.
The Arkansas Governor’s School is a non-credit program that seeks to create a unique experience for a select group of Arkansas’ best students—the potential leaders of the 21st century, according to their website. Both inside and outside the classrooms, AGS provides highly motivated, creative students with an intellectual atmosphere impossible to sustain in ordinary academic settings. The excitement of intellectual and artistic pursuits and the expectation of significant conceptual gains permeate all aspects of the participants’ lives for the full six weeks.
The curriculum is designed as a unique supplement to the usual high school curriculum. It is neither an acceleration of high school nor an anticipation of college curricula. Students are led to explore cutting-edge theories in the arts and sciences and to develop a greater understanding of how art, culture, and knowledge change with time. Students are challenged to develop the rigorous creative and intellectual skills that will be critical to their leading the ideal "life well lived" and for making positive contributions to their communities and to society at large. Behind the AGS curriculum, according to the website, is the assumption that these skills will be universally important, no matter what career path a student may choose.
Students are selected on the basis of their special aptitudes in one of eight fields: Choral music, drama, English/language arts, instrumental music, mathematics, natural science, social science, or visual arts. All students also take classes in general conceptual developmentand in personal and social development. Estes is doing English/language arts, Stitt is doing social science and Thorn is doing English/language arts.