Having a natural skill, a talent that comes to you intuitively, is a rare and special occurrence. Working hard to improve that skill is the first step to becoming a master of your craft, but it won’t happen without the key element: passion.
Junior Ashley Choo-Hen’s passion for the Latin language is what elevated her skill at translating Virgil to the next level and led her to be selected to apply for the prestigious Governor’s Honors Program. “I love Latin with everything I could possibly give to a language so seemingly dead but so alive with rich rhetorical forms and life-changing works,” said Ashley. “If I go to GHP, I know that it will give me the foundation I need to build upon with other languages that might appear in my career later in life.”
The program, held annually for about one month each summer, is designed to foster this generation’s academic leaders in communicative arts (English), Spanish, French, Latin, German, Mandarin Chinese, mathematics, biology, physics, chemistry, agricultural science and biotechnology, agricultural and environmental science, social studies, visual arts, theatre performance, theatre design, music, dance, design, technology, and executive management (business).
BT senior Andrew Cornell, who attended the program last summer as a chemistry major, greatly enjoyed his time as a GHP scholar. “It’s a really amazing program. I met a bunch of people that I never would have had the opportunity to meet otherwise and it’s a great learning environment,” he said. “The things I learned there, I would not have had the opportunity to learn anywhere else.”
The application process for GHP is quite demanding, especially during a time when students’ lives are crowded with other acronyms such as NHS (National Honors Society), SAT, and ACT.
The application this year is different from past years because the students’ essay portion of the application will determine whether they are called back for an interview, whereas in the past, being nominated automatically qualified you for both a written application and an interview.
“It does put pressure on the students when they write their applications because they really have to sell themselves, and their teachers and guidance counselors do the same,” said BT principal Frank Moore, who has been the BT GHP coordinator since 2000. “Last year by this time, I would have had all the students in twice for a practice interview, but there’s no reason to do that this year because I don’t know who’s going to be asked to interview.”
This year’s nominees, all from the junior class include Amy Brecker (dance), Ashley Choo-Hen (Latin), Josh Cole (mathematics), Dallas Downing (mathematics), Leann Kopp (Latin), Jenn Palmieri (communicative arts), and Haley Weis (dance).
All are excited to have received the honor of being considered for the program. “I want to be challenged in something that not only comes naturally but also intrigues me. I want to meet new people with different ideas and viewpoints. GHP offers me the opportunity to meet and work with students with a similar passion for math and who may become my colleagues later in life,” said Dallas. “I believe I can learn more about math, gain exposure to possible college majors, and be further inspired in my interests in math and science from GHP.”
The next cut will take place in January. “When we find out who made it to the next level, I’ll pull them into my office and we’ll do some practice interview questions there,” said Mr. Moore.