Chamblee Represents at GHP

Chamblee students including Samrah Khan (front middle) and Sarah Duong (front right) at GHP

Photo courtesy of Samrah Khan

Chamblee students including Samrah Khan (front middle) and Sarah Duong (front right) at GHP

Adam Pohl, Staff Writer

Summer: a time for adventure for some, relaxation for others. And for a select group of Chamblee upperclassmen, it was time to attend the prestigious Georgia Governor’s Honors Program. Hosted by Berry College near Rome, Georgia, the 4-week program offers specialized instruction in a multitude of fields. GHP students can major in anything from Biotechnology to Spanish to Dance. To attend GHP, students must first be nominated by their teachers. Chamblee, however, does this a bit differently.

“At most schools, the teacher picks their favorite student to nominate,” said Chamblee senior and GHP German major Sarah Duong (‘22). “I was talking to other people [at GHP] and they were like, ‘I was like the best German student at my school.’ But for Chamblee, I guess we’re kind of unique in the way that we kind of come to the teachers and ask to be nominated.”

Chamblee students playing a game of volleyball at GHP (Photo courtesy of Kaiyan Xu)

The Governor’s Honors Program describes itself as offering “instruction that is significantly different from the typical high school classroom and that is designed to provide students with academic, cultural, and social enrichment necessary to become the next generation of global critical thinkers, innovators, and leaders.” While that may sound like a high bar, GHP’s reputation certainly preceded it.

“Three years ago, my brother went [to GHP], and he told me about his experience,” said Neathan Aresh (’23), a junior at Chamblee who majored in math over the summer. “So I wanted to go as well.”

Duong, like many other students, was similarly attracted by the program’s reputation for being a fun time.

“A couple of my friends were also applying, and I basically heard that GHP was just an amazing experience,” said Duong. “It was just a matter of getting into it so I could experience it for myself.”

However, some students entered the program with a plan.

“I wanted to do GHP basically because I knew that I was interested in chemistry, but I didn’t know if I wanted to pursue it as a career, or if I would really enjoy it in college,” said GHP participant Ahona Haque (’22). “But this gave me a new perspective, and I’m really glad that I did it because now I know that science is something that I want to study, and without GHP I don’t think I would have that.”

A day of GHP instruction includes two classes: one for a student’s major and one for their elective.

“Basically, in the morning, you would go to a 4-hour major class, and even though it seems really long, it was really fun,” said Samrah Khan (‘22), who majored in German at GHP. “And then after that you’d go to lunch and then to a two hour minor class, like I would go to my painting class.”

Although many might balk at the idea of a 4-hour-long class, the program makes sure that it doesn’t get stale.

“It was really hands-on–that was one of my favorite parts,” said Haque. “We did [chemistry] experiments almost every single day. It wasn’t curriculum based, we had […] a new topic every day.”

The highlights of the program for many students, however, came after the instructional time.

“My favorite part was probably the free time that we had after our classes,” said Aresh. “Because during that time, that was like the time we had to mingle with each other, make new friends and then just have fun.”

Students playing a game of cards at GHP (Photo courtesy of Kaiyan Xu)

GHP also offered structured activities for students in the evenings.

“One of my favorite parts was after dinner, after 7:30 we would have seminars, that was really when I had fun,” said Haque. “I would hang out with my friends, and we would go to different activities like stargazing or like nail polish. It was really fun, so regardless of how much homework I had, I could make time for my friends via the seminars.”

So what did GHP students get out of the experience? It’s no secret that a prestigious honors program like GHP looks great on a college application. But for most students, that was secondary. For some, it started simply as a fun summer activity.

“It was really originally just for fun,” said Duong. “But now I’m really determined to do well on the DSD 2 [Deutsches Sprachdiplom] exam and I think that GHP really helps with that.”

For others, the academic experiences were the highlight.

“I think the best thing I got was a new experience and a new perspective,” said Haque. “In high school, you can only do [what] you can in a regular lab, but this was a college lab and I felt like we had more resources and stuff.”

And for still others, priorities were shifted by the experience.

“[I went] a little for the resume,” said Aresh. “But after I got there, it was mostly just for fun, and the friends and memories I got out of it are probably priceless.”