After a year’s hiatus caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, Meredith College welcomed Governor’s School East students and staff back to campus in June.
On June 20, a group of 337 high school students moved into residence halls at Meredith for Governor’s School. The five-week Governor’s School is the nation’s oldest statewide summer residential program for gifted high school students. Meredith hosts Governor’s School East and High Point University hosts Governor’s School West.
President Jo Allen calls Governor’s School “an outstanding opportunity for high school students to refine and strengthen their talents and, equally important, their abilities to make critical connections between various areas of study and expression.”
Allen said Governor’s School’s mission mirrors Meredith’s mission, making the campus a good fit for the program.
“So many of the alumnae/i of this program attest to the life-changing experience that is Governor’s School East,” Allen said. “It is no coincidence that it is set at Meredith, where so many of our own students make the same attestation. In that sense, introducing young minds to extraordinary educational experiences mirrors the College’s mission to help students own their strengths and flourish.”
COVID-19 Precautions in Place
Meredith College and Governor’s School worked together to implement COVID-19 safeguards to make an in-person program as safe as possible. Nearly 95% of program faculty/staff and 84% of student participants have been vaccinated against COVID-19. In addition, Governor’s School participants are following community standards and are operating as a “bubble” by requiring participants to remain on campus for the full five-week programs.
“Members of Meredith’s Executive Leadership and Incident Response Teams worked closely with GSE administrators and state health officials to develop a robust COVID-19 mitigation plan to ensure the safety of both communities,” said Vice President for Marketing and Communications Kristi Eaves-McLennan. “Elements of that plan include entrance testing, surveillance testing for unvaccinated individuals, daily symptom monitoring, masking and distancing while indoors, and making extensive use of outdoor spaces.”
Year-Round Effort Makes Governor’s School Successful
There are 58 staff members working with Governor’s School East, including Site Director Laura Sam, who says staff prepare for the program year-round. They arrived on campus a week ahead of the students for orientation.
“During this week, we crafted the details of our curriculum, including cross-curricular collaborations, cornerstones (Area I students sharing what they are learning), film series, speakers, activities, etc.,” Sam said. “But year-round we work with high schools across the state to nominate students who then apply each fall. Selection committees convene in the winter to read applications and to judge auditions. New staff members are hired in the spring.”
Sam is pleased that the program is able to be offered in person again this year.
“The students this summer are thriving and have expressed repeatedly what a wonderful time they are having here at Governor’s School, hosted by Meredith College. Many experienced over a year of virtual learning and so are even more appreciative of their experience this summer,” said Sam. “As I observe classes and activities each day, I see students and teachers who are passionately engaged in rich discussions, and I see counselors and staff who are committed to supporting our students in every aspect of their Governor’s School experience.”
Director of Meredith Events Bill Brown works with the Governor’s School staff throughout the year to ensure a strong program is in place each summer. Sam notes that Brown has been recognized by the Governor’s School Foundation as the recipient of the Jim Hart Champion Award, which recognizes extraordinary commitment and contributions to the Governor’s School.
A wide range of other Meredith employees also play important roles supporting Governor’s School. Among those Sam mentions are Meredith Events, administrators, Campus Police, Dining Services, Technology Services, Media Services, Facilities, Housekeeping, Grounds, Maintenance, the Post Office, the SMB lab manager, and more.
“Meredith College has been a wonderful host since GSE moved here in 2000,” Sam said. “I am sure that I am leaving someone out (unintentionally!) but am doing my best to express that we are so deeply appreciative of all that Meredith College provides that supports our program so beautifully.”
Director of Meredith Events Bill Brown also thanks Meredith College community members for their support of Governor’s School East.
“Everyone at Meredith plays a part in making the campus a welcoming place for Governor’s School East students, faculty, and staff,” said Brown. “The Meredith community is proud of this long-standing partnership.”