Fairmont State welcomes West Virginia’s brilliant young minds to campus for Governor’s Honors Academy

More than 100 of West Virginia’s brightest high school seniors will be on Fairmont State University’s campus to participate in the West Virginia Governor’s Honors Academy (GHA). GHA will take place on campus from Sunday, June 16 until Wednesday, July 3.  

The Governor’s Honors Academy is a three-week, summer residential program funded by the State Legislature. Through a competitive bidding process, Fairmont State was selected by the West Virginia Department of Education to host the Academy from 2022 through 2024. This will be Fairmont State’s third summer hosting the GHA.  

 “Serving as the host institution for the West Virginia Governor’s Honors Academy has been a wonderful experience. When we first received the bid host GHA beginning in 2022, I admittedly didn’t know what to expect. But I quickly realized that the common refrain of anyone who has been associated with GHA that it ‘is a life-changing experience’ rang true,” said Dr. Robin Payne, Co-dean for GHA. “For the best and brightest students across the state to have the opportunity to come together to learn and grow with the support of some of the state’s most outstanding educators is truly a transformative experience. The warm, welcoming environment we have here on campus has provided the perfect atmosphere. For the three weeks that our students, faculty, and staff are in residence, the entire campus community is infused with a positive, inspiring energy that will continue to resonate here for years to come.” 

Key dates for this year’s program include:  

Sunday, June 16 – Move-in with Opening Session — Colebank Hall, 1 p.m. – 2:30 p.m. 

Thursday, June 20 – Painting Bowls for the Empty Bowls nonprofit Program — Colebank Hall, 6:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. 

Saturday, June 29 – Outstanding Educator Luncheon — Colebank Hall, Noon – 3 p.m. — GHA has a tradition of recognizing and celebrating educators for their essential role in shaping the future of the world through supporting the development of the younger generation. The Outstanding Educator’s luncheon honors educators that the students nominate; these educators are key supporters of students developing into the thinkers needed for our society to progress in positive ways. For this year’s Outstanding Educator luncheon, Gia Deasy, a West Virginia educator with a 40-year career as an advocate for all students and their learning, will serve as the keynote speaker.    

Wednesday, July 3 – Academic Showcase  — Colebank Hall, 10 a.m. – Noon — Students will be spotlighting their work for their families before departing from campus 

 “GHA is a unique experience because of the range of robust learning opportunities. The academy is experiential; students deeply delve into complex issues in a s supportive learning environment,” said GHA Co-dean Dr. Keisha Kibler. “Outside of the classroom students participate in field trips and community service opportunities that form a bridge between their learning in the classroom and the world.”  

During the 2024 West Virginia Governor’s Honors Academy at Fairmont State, students will participate in academic and extracurricular activities that explore the embedded theme: “The World We Will Create.” Students will explore a wide range of contemporary issues with an eye to the future and the aspirations of their generation. Generation Z will assume the reigns of leadership in the wake of myriad upheavals related to unprecedented events like the recent COVID-19 pandemic as well as an on-going technological revolution, the potentially catastrophic impact of climate change, growing political strife, challenging socioeconomic circumstances, and intensifying social justice movements. 

The free, non-credit program is designed to uniquely supplement the high school curriculum. During their time on campus, students participating in GHA will live in the residence halls and attend intensive courses that enable them to take a deep dive into a chosen subject area as well as broad-based courses that provide the opportunity to explore topics that might be outside of their intended fields of study. Courses are taught by faculty from the state, high school teachers, and industry-leading professionals. 

In addition to academic activities, students will have the opportunity to visit the Carnegie Science Center in Pittsburg, see the West Virginia Black Bears baseball team play, visit Washington D.C., hike at Valley Falls and more.  

Learn more about GHA by visiting https://wvde.us/gov-schools/honors-academy/.  

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