Students enjoy learning, friendships

Published 12:00 am Saturday, July 12, 2003

Suffolk News-Herald

Learning is a prime factor at the Regional Tidewater Governor’s School of Science and Technology; however, friendships are another result of attending the program for gifted and talented students from Suffolk and Franklin, and Southampton and Isle of Wight Counties. Several students spoke out this week on the rewards of time spent in the program.

Neal Whitson, an 11-year-old Isle of Wight Academy student, said he has had great fun learning about space. He plans a career as a veterinarian, however, he said the experiences at the Governor’s School for Technology and Science will help him in problem solving once he’s in college.

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Wesley Semester, of Smithfield Middle School, said he’s about to be 12 years old. He said he’s enjoyed preparing his Power Point presentation on black holes. He said he’s had more time to use the computer than he ever did while in &uot;regular&uot; school.

Kelsey Butler is a Southampton County student attending Hunterdale Elementary School. She first attended the Governor’s School last year when Oceanography was the subject.

&uot;I wanted to come back because I learned that space and astronomy were the subjects to be taught this year,&uot; said Kelsey. &uot;I want to be a writer when I grow up and I believe that anything I can learn in the Governor’s School programs will help with my stories.&uot;

Cole Martin, a Suffolk student attending Robertson Elementary in Whaleyville, said he’s excited about being involved in the Governor’s school. He explained that he’s learned that black holes are exploded stars.

&uot;Science is my favorite subject,&uot; said Cole. &uot;I want to be an astronaut or a country music singer when I grow up and if I become an astronaut, this will help me. I don’t sing yet, but I do plan on a career in music.&uot;

I’ll just learn to sing, too, but that will be another school.&uot;

Aliyyah Ali, is another Southampton Middle School student. She said she’d rather be in the Governor’s school than wasting her summer because she is interested in learning more about outer space.

&uot;Sometimes, on weekends, I enjoy going with my friends,&uot; said Aliyyah. &uot;But, during the week, I really enjoy the experience of Governor’s school. I’m learning so much and making new friends and it’s a lot of fun.&uot;

Chasity Hunt, of J.P. King Elementary School will enter the fourth grade this year. She speaks enthusiastically about the challenge of learning.

&uot;I just like to learn stuff and once I do, it’s in my head for good,&uot; said Chasity. &uot;I want to be a writer or a lawyer and the things we are learning here will help with either career.&uot;

Nansemond-Suffolk Academy scholar Brooks Mears said he’s entering the fifth grade this year. At the Governor’s Science and Technology, he created a spectroscope from a tissue roller, Duck tape, and holographic diffraction grating film.

&uot;It’s sort of like a prism that breaks up the light into rainbows,&uot; said Brooks. &uot;It’s the way they detect the black holes; with the spectroscope. I wanted to be a doctor, but after all this I think I want to work with NASA.&uot;

Will Hawthorne, of Meherrin Elementary School in Newsomes, said he was excited to be a part of the science and technology camp, however, he stated emphatically that he wanted to farm just like his dad.

&uot;I believe that this experience will definitely help me as a farmer,&uot; he explained. &uot;I have never thought about any other career, and this will help me learn problem solving.&uot;

Melanie Watson, of J.P. King Elementary, was intently working on building a rocket from marshmallows, Hershey Kisses and gumdrops as part of the learning process.

&uot;I am seriously considering a career with the space program,&uot; said Melanie. &uot;This is my third year at the Governor’s school and it’s a great way to learn and have fun at the same time.&uot;

Kelli Sweat, another student from J.P. King, said she returned to the school in preparation for her future.

&uot;We are taught to think for ourselves and how to solve problems,&uot; said Kelli. &uot;Whatever we do in life, this is good training.&uot;

While the students were enthralled with all their different projects, the instructors were just as thrilled with them. One instructor, Nancy Cornwell, fairly bubbled over with enthusiasm as she helped two boys understand the source and nature of a black hole in space. As understanding came to them, she opened her mouth and breathed, &uot;Yes! That’s wonderful!&uot;

Cornwell is a teacher in Williamsburg and she said she loves teaching the gifted and talented.

&uot;They are wonderful… so interested and so quick to catch on,&uot; said Cornwell. &uot;I hope I’ve got some budding scientists in here.&uot;

Another instructor, &uot;Rocket Mike,&uot; as the kids know him, is Michael Milteer, who was teaching the students all about rocket science and thrusters. This was his first experience in the Tidewater Governor’s School, however, he’s taught math and science for nine years.

At the Governor’s School, he was moving through the group of students like a whirlwind as he checked out their candy creations; rockets. Once he saw they were completed, he signaled the director of the Tidewater Governor’s Science and Technology School, Michael Hill, to come to judge the rockets.

Hill moved from table to table, tempted by all those Hershey Kisses, no doubt, and declared that he thought each and every rocket looked good enough to eat.

&uot;I think they all look great and you’ve all done a great job,&uot; said Hill.

This is Hill’s first year as director of the Regional Tidewater Governor’s School, however, for the past three years, he taught the math and science programs for the school. He is currently in his ninth year as a teacher.

&uot;This program is heavy on hands-on experience, and there’s no homework but the get to go beyond what they would normally do in a classroom,&uot; said Hill. &uot;They all want to be here, which is a great motivating factor.&uot;

Hill said that every gifted and talented student is eligible for this program. Applications are given to the schools in each of the school divisions and school officials make the selection of students.

For more information on the Governor’s School, contact your local school.