Press release from Asheville City Schools:
This summer, nearly 700 students from across the state will converge on college campuses for Governor’s School of North Carolina. Asheville City Schools will have four from the Class of 2019 as well as one rising Junior take part in this elite group dedicated to exploring cutting-edge concepts in both the arts and academics.
SILSA Sophomore Gray Pearson is an oboe player who will be studying Instrumental Music. Asheville High School’s Ascher Walker Wilson will be dedicating five and half weeks of the summer before his Senior Year to Spanish, while SILSA 11th Grader Emma Cohn as well as Asheville High Juniors Ilyas Colie and Joe Hanlon will all dive deeper into Social Science.
The ACS students were among 1,796 high schoolers nominated to attend Governor’s School, representing five of the chosen 670.
Criteria for selection included grades, aptitude, and achievement test scores as well as teacher recommendations.
Additionally, because his focus area is performing arts, Pearson was required to audition in Raleigh.
Both Asheville High and SILSA’s school nominations were submitted to the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction, and a statewide committee made the final selections.
Some high schoolers might waiver about trading in their summer swim trunks for almost six weeks of additional coursework, but, for Joe Hanlon, the decision to attend Governor’s School was easy.
Having known students who attended last year’s Governor’s School, Hanlon explained that he’s most looking forward to “learning in an environment that isn’t focused on grades or tests but just learning for the sake of learning. At Governor’s School, you aren’t worried about trying to graduate from something or make a certain grade.”
Instead, the curriculum is focused on examining recent ideas in each discipline and does not involve credit, tests or grades.”
Ascher Walker Wilson echoed Hanlon’s sentiment, adding “I knew that if I got in, I was going because the opportunity to spend six weeks of your life not worrying about anything else but learning what you want to learn about – the concept of choice and what it means to learn for you individually – is extremely important.”
In addition to learning in “the ideal classroom,” all five ACS students agree they’re looking forward to living in a dorm and receiving their first taste of college experience, as they’ll each be spending five and half weeks at either Meredith College’s East Campus or the West Campus at Salem College.
“I was really surprised at all the freedom they give you,” said Ilyas Colie. Besides participating in college club sports and eating at one of the restaurants near his summer campus, Colie said he’s excited to “meet new people who are coming from diverse socio, political or geographical areas from around the state. It’s just awesome.”
Ascher Walker Wilson said he’s most looking forward to shedding light on Asheville High School’s Spanish Department.
“My mentor, Señora Booher, is, I believe, one of the best teachers at this school,” he said. “I just want to be able to demonstrate that the people learning Spanish here are learning the correct values, not just the language. I’m excited to show what Asheville High School can do in that regard too.”
Despite the range in subject matters our five students will be studying, one thing’s for certain. We know Gray Pearson, Emma Cohn, Ilyas Colie, Ascher Walker Wilson and Joe Hanlon’s desire to spend nearly six weeks of their summer thriving in an environment that’s sole focus is learning, exploring and discussion is a prime example of #TheACSWay.