Three Adair County High School seniors spoke to Columbia-Adair County Chamber of Commerce members about their experiences being students in the Governor’s Scholars Program and the Governor’s School for the Arts at the March meeting.
The Governor’s Scholar Program is a highly competitive program that provides academic and personal growth through the balance of a strong liberal arts program with a full co-curricular and residential life experience.
It also provides its graduates a full-tuition to any state college in Kentucky.
Walter Baker, son of Mark and Carla Baker, said he learned about GSP in the sixth grade and knew that it would be an opportunity for him one day.
When he decided he wanted to attend University of Kentucky to pursue animal science and professional school to eventually become a large animal veterinarian, he learned that he needed to have an exceptional ACT score to get a GSP scholarship at UK.
Baker doubted his ability at first, but with encouragement from his parents, he worked hard on his application for GSP. He would bring his application paperwork to work or in the deer stands.
Baker was accepted the first round and attended GSP at Bellarmine University in the summer of 2019.
He said he met friends from all over the state at GSP and was able to connect with people vastly different from him. He was relieved to see several of the friends he had made at GSP when he went to UK orientation this past weekend.
“Governor’s Scholars was a good experience and I truly am grateful,” said Baker.
Lauren Grant attended GSP at Centre College in the summer of 2019 and admits that she was nervous to attend.
She said it opened her eyes to other cultures, especially regarding diversity and religion.
Grant learned about other faiths and her own Christian faith was questioned and looked down on by other students at GSP.
She said it was challenging, but she chose to grow and make it a goal of hers to share her faith with others and let her faith shine through her.
Seeing her faith grow over the five weeks was surprising to Grant, but one of the most important outcomes, she said.
Connecting with other scholars was another major step out of Grant’s comfort zone, but she said connecting came quickly.
“I was shocked by how much I learned by conversing with the other scholars and how our conversations were actually meaningful and intelligent. That’s something that you don’t usually experience with other teenagers,” said Grant.
She stays in touch with many of her friends from GSP and is even rooming with two friends at UK in the fall.
Overall, Grant said she grew as a person, gained confidence and feels more prepared for her future.
The Governor’s School for the Arts is a three-week summer program at a state college campus that gives students arts instruction in their various emphases.
Like GSP, it also provides full-tuition to state colleges for its students.
Emma Grider began her speech to the chamber by performing a monologue from a play in which she performed previously.
Grider attended GSA at the University of Kentucky to study drama and said that her time there was the best of her life.
She described the rigorous daily schedule of a student at GSA that she said was exhausting, but worth it.
Grider said she learned more about theatre in those three weeks than ever before.
She said she felt closer to the other students there than she ever has with anyone else and that sense of community is what she remembers most.
She would love to see more appreciation for arts at Adair County High School so that other students like her could feel confident to pursue their art.
As a GSA alum, she was challenged by her instructors to take what she learned back to her community to make a difference.
“This is me attempting to keep that promise. Our community has a need that I want to bring to your attention because it’s easy to miss if you’re not looking for it,” said Grider. “There’s so much more that we can do to support these kinds of programs. One day I’d like to be able to come back home and watch a school play on a real stage and not the high school cafeteria.”
By Anna Buckman