• 45°

WHS students chosen for Governor’s School

Two Washington High School students will be among 550 distinguished North Carolina rising high school juniors and seniors who will attend the 2012 Governor’s School this summer.

Chosen to attend the school were Ryan V. Cowell and James H. Martin, both of Washington.

They were chosen from more than 1,700 public- and private-school nominees statewide to attend the six-week summer program for academically or intellectually gifted students.

“These are outstanding students,” said Washington High School Principal Russell Holloman. “They are great role models, and I know they will represent us well at Governor’s School.”

Before being chosen to attend the school, students are nominated in one of 10 curriculum areas: art, choral music, dance, English, foreign language (French and Spanish), instrumental music, mathematics, natural science, social science and theater.

Cowell, 17, a junior at Washington High School, is the son of Belinda and David Cowell. He will attend Governor’s School West and study natural science.

Cowell said he is happy that he was chosen to attend Governor’s School.

“I was thrilled that I was accepted,” he said. “I know some people who have gone, and they say it is very worthwhile.”

Cowell said he has enjoyed science — particularly biology — and has always found the subject easy to understand ever since he was a child.

“I’ve always liked finding out how things work,” he said.

At Washington High School, Cowell is a member of the chess club, has appeared in three of the school’s theatrical productions and recently participated on the school’s mathematics competition team at Chowan University. He is also active in Boy Scouts and is a Life Scout in Troop 99 at First United Methodist Church.

He hopes to attend the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill after graduating from high school.

Martin, 17, is a junior at Washington High School. He is the son of Jay and Jeanne Martin and will attend Governor’s School East to study French.

Martin, whose older brother, Graham, is a Governor’s School alumnus, said he is looking forward to the experience.

Martin said his brother “loved the environment of learning for the sake of learning and that idea really excited me.”

Martin said he has discovered a facility for languages. He said his study of French has “broadened my view of the world.”

At Washington High School, Martin is a member of the Student Government Association and has participated in recent Stunt Night productions. He is active in the Boy Scouts and is a Life Scout pursuing his Eagle Scout rank. He has participated in recent mission trips sponsored by the Baptist Church.

Martin also hopes to attend UNC-Chapel Hill after completing his high school studies.

Both Cowell and Martin were recently named scholastic marshals at the high school.

State Superintendent June Atkinson congratulated the students on their selection to Governor’s School.

“I’m thrilled these students are going to be able to participate in Governor’s School this year and benefit from its unique learning environment that encourages inquisitiveness and creativity,” she said. “The Governor’s School has a renowned legacy for stimulating the creativity and inquisitiveness of our most gifted students. I’m confident that this year’s students will continue to build on this legacy.”

The Governor’s School curriculum focuses on the exploration of the most recent ideas and concepts in each discipline, and it does not involve credit, tests or grades.

The Governor’s School of North Carolina, founded in 1963 by then-Gov. Terry Sanford, is the oldest statewide summer residential program for academically or intellectually gifted high school students in the nation.

After funding for Governor’s School was eliminated by the state Legislature from the 2011-2013 biennial budget, the future of the school was in doubt. However, a fundraising drive by the North Carolina Governor’s School Foundation raised more than $700,000, allowing the program to continue this year with a reduced number of participants and session length.

The program, which is open to rising seniors only, with exceptions made for rising juniors in selected performing/visual arts areas, is located on two campuses. Governor’s School West is located at Salem College in Winston-Salem. Governor’s School East is located at Meredith College in Raleigh.

The 2012 session runs from Sunday through July 21.