Mallory is going to be a high school senior in the fall, but before she does that, she’s got a busy summer. The DCFS foster child, who is also on the DCFS Youth Advisory Board, is one of 400 students at the Arkansas Governor’s School, a six-week summer residential program for gifted and talented students who are upcoming high school seniors and residents of the state of Arkansas. It is held at Hendrix College in Conway. 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. The selection process for the program is highly competitive and students must be nominated by their schools. “Everyone who knows Mallory knows she deserves it! She will be a senior in the fall, and has about a 3.7 grade point average,” said Toma Whitlock, with DCFS. Seventeen-year-old Mallory has also had a job this summer before leaving for Conway, and will resume working when she returns.
The Arkansas Governor’s School, which was established in 1980, is one of 63 such programs across 21. It 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. 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 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 Development (Area II) and in Personal and Social Development (Area III). Mallory’s special aptitude field is Natural Science and she plans to go on to college to become a pharmacist. This special young woman is on her way up, and definitely going places. View a printable version of this page, from DHS Today