Mountie Spectrum

An inside look at Arkansas Governor’s School

Andrew Elkins, Copy Writer

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.


Email This Story






The summer before senior year is an important time to discover oneself and to build character before going into the next stage of the educational journey: college. An experience unique to Arkansas students that fosters this growth mindset and facilitates a community of learning is Arkansas Governor’s School (AGS). Governor’s school is open to rising seniors in the state of Arkansas, and it takes place for six weeks in the summer leading up to senior year. The application is due in mid January for all interested students.

Learning at AGS is divided into three different “areas.” The first is Area I. This is the subject area that the student indicates they would like to study on their application, and at AGS there are eight different subject areas to choose from. The eight areas are Instrumental Music, Choral Music, Natural Science, Math, Social Science, Visual Arts, Drama, and English/Language Arts. A student’s Area I is a great opportunity to not only look deeper into a subject matter that interests them, but to also explore a potential college major. Some Area I’s are divided up into multiple “courses” as well. For example, in the social science discipline, students have the chance to study developing countries, international relations, sociology, and social entrepreneurship.

“Social sciences expanded my knowledge outside of the bubble of the typical American style of thinking, and it broadened it to the conflicts present in developing countries as well as generally differing walks of life. It is different than some people might believe it to be. It is more of a conversation between the ideas of the minds of the class along with the ideas of past sociologists and international relations experts to create new ideas and solve worldwide problems, from well known to seemingly insignificant,” Bethany Arnold, AGS social science alumna, 12, said.

“Since the class was so small and intimate, our teacher really worked with us on a personal level. She gave us very personal critiques and if you’re even a little interested in the program and theater, it was a fantastic growing experience that I wouldn’t trade for the world,” Melissa Moznabi, AGS drama alumna, 12, said.

“I wasn’t expecting to learn such a wide variety of math. From aviation mathematics, to casino probabilities, to theories of infinity, we learned it all. I would definitely encourage anyone considering to apply to AGS for math to do so. Many people think it’s just math class all summer, but it’s not just that. You will get to experience higher level thinking courses and get a feeling for a university style environment. You will meet so many great teachers and students from all around Arkansas and make new friends that will last a lifetime,” Alex Sharp, AGS math alumnus, 12, said.

Aside from Area I, all students go to an Area II class. Area II, or conceptual development, takes students from multiple Area I disciplines, puts them in a classroom together, and involves them with deep intellectual thought and discussion. This area is often compared to a study in ethics or philosophy. There are almost no lectures as the class is a seminar style course. This means it is discussion based. The topics for discussion range from debating reality and how it is determined to discussing ethical dilemmas and utilitarianism.  On top of getting to discuss these seemingly unanswerable questions, there is an opportunity to work with college professors who teach the course. The Area II faculty also sponsor a movie night every week where they show a film followed by an optional–but recommended–discussion session. Some of the films look at social issues while some are abstract and require loads of interpretation.

“Area II was an opportunity to have deeper conversations with a classroom full of people who care about what you have to say and who also have something to add to the conversation. If someone was applying to AGS I would want to tell them that Area II was my absolute favorite class at AGS because I always took away some new perspective or idea from it,” Sarah Smith, AGS choral music alumna, 12, said.

Along with Areas I and II, there is also Area III. This area is focused on personal and social development. It consists of looking at how one can live a happier, less stressful life–which is very helpful leading up to the college process–as well as looking into one’s life through personality tests. The class also allowed students to reflect on their own lives and the opportunities they’ve been given in comparison to classmates, and this curated an important discussion on privilege. Area III teachers led the class in important discussions about life and what to expect in the future as well.

“Area III is the class that brings people together. While you’re kind of in a homogeneous group in Area I, and Area II focuses on interrogating your beliefs (which can make people a little more adversarial than they otherwise would be), Area III is a lot more about learning about yourself and other people. It’s the class that’s been most practical in my life post-AGS because it provided people with the chance to tell their stories in a way they usually never get to. It’s a space to talk about everything going on at AGS, and at least in my class, we talked a lot about how what we’re learning connects to the rest of the world,” Serena Puang, AGS English/Language Arts alumna, 12, said.

Outside of the classes are the 4:10 and 6:10 seminars. These are optional seminars taught by various AGS staff members on a multitude of subjects. They can range from the JFK Conspiracy Theory to an exploration of noise to how to get involved with local organizations to mindfulness meditation. These seminars are held every day that there are classes, and while they are not required, many students attend them to take advantage of the wide array of knowledge held by the AGS staff members.

On top of the academic opportunities, the residential life paved the way for memorable social gatherings and new lasting friendships. The staff hosts mixers, which are similar to dances, they set up field trips, and they host talent shows and dance recitals. The residential assistants make the experience one to remember, and they add a whole other dynamic to the program. Not only are they there to care for the students, but they also end up becoming close to them.

“I liked that all of my friends were close by and that we had our doors open for each other and we were always able to hang out in each other’s rooms. If I had to give advice, I’d say to bring shower shoes. Also, get close to your RA because they’ll be checking in on you and you should get to know the people you’re around,” Madison O’Neill, AGS English/Language Arts alumna, 12, said.

Many alumni say that Arkansas Governor’s school is a life changing experience. Any rising seniors who may be looking for something to do this summer should take a closer look at this program and should consider applying. It is a great opportunity to grow oneself and to make some potentially lifelong friendships all while getting ready to move onto the next stage of the academic career.

Rogers students with a community of new friends from all around the state.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Leave a Comment

If you want a picture to show with your comment, go get a gravatar.




Navigate Right
Navigate Left
  • An inside look at Arkansas Governor’s School

    Entertainment

    Summer ready playlist

  • An inside look at Arkansas Governor’s School

    Features

    Seniors reflect their past as Graduates of Promise

  • An inside look at Arkansas Governor’s School

    Features

    Fake moon landing theory

  • An inside look at Arkansas Governor’s School

    Features

    Fortnite battles to the top

  • An inside look at Arkansas Governor’s School

    Uncategorized

    The Simpsons are psychics

  • An inside look at Arkansas Governor’s School

    Features

    A Shortage of Pockets

  • An inside look at Arkansas Governor’s School

    Features

    Senior advice

  • An inside look at Arkansas Governor’s School

    Uncategorized

    JFK Assassination Pt.II

  • An inside look at Arkansas Governor’s School

    Features

    Juniors should start preparing for senior year

  • An inside look at Arkansas Governor’s School

    Features

    The Butterfly Effect

The student news site of Rogers High School
An inside look at Arkansas Governor’s School