GovsPLUS was thrilled to kick off the third summer of the program on Monday, June 29th. This year, close to 40 GovsPLUS scholars from all across Lawrence arrived on The Governor’s Academy campus and, after a very filling breakfast in the dining hall, they walked over to the French Student Center, which will be our home base this summer. Each morning begins with two core classes. Ms. Cruz, the Director of the program teaches the humanities course while Ms. Honorato, the GovsPLUS Program Assistant, teaches the math course.
This summer, GovsPLUS scholars are expected to complete a five-paragraph research paper on a pivotal moment in the Civil Rights Movement. Students work on their research and writing in two workshops, “Writer’s Workshop” with Ms. Cruz and “Research and Public Speaking” with Ms. Honorato and Lead Student Instructor, Paola Otero ‘13. The morning classes and workshops are aided by five talented Student Instructors (SIs) which include Ashley Portorreal ’14, and three recent Lawrence High graduates: Bioribel Castillo, Dawyn Henriquez, and Miguel Ponce. We are also supported by Govs faculty and staff. For example, in our first week, Director of Information, Mr. Mandel, was gracious enough to help students log on to laptops as they were doing research for their paper, which is due in a few weeks!
After a full morning, students were excited to eat lunch and move into the fun elective courses. In “Hip Hop 101,” Paola dove right into Harkness-style class discussion on hip hop culture and its effects on social movements. In art class, Ms. Honorato led students in a personal project using charcoal. Later in the week, Ashley and Biorbel began teaching “Social Equity: Then vs. Now,” an elective focused on issues of inequality like poverty and women’s rights. Dawyn and Miguel also began teaching an elective course called “Fiction Shorts,” where students began developing characters for their short stories.
With all the hard work and critical thinking in the classroom, students are enthusiastic to head outside as much as possible. On Monday, we began our lacrosse program on the turf field. Govs lacrosse coach, Tim Winslow ’10, along with Emily French Breakey from the Alumni and Development Office, and Govs student Pete ’16 taught GovsPLUS scholars the basics of throwing and catching with a lacrosse stick. Our students enjoyed it so much that some even took the equipment home to practice on their own! A special thank you to our lacrosse coaches and to Mr. and Mrs. Gary and their nonprofit for donating the GovsPLUS program over forty sets of lacrosse equipment! When not in lacrosse, students often head to the Govs Field House in the afternoon for some free time. Most students spend their time playing basketball while others toss a football or a soccer ball around.
Each Wednesday, GovsPLUS takes a break from the rigorous academics and heads on a field trip. In our first week, we were planning on going canoeing on the Charles River in Boston, but unfortunately we had to cancel because of the thunderstorm. Instead, students were more than happy to watch one of their favorite movies, Divergent. Needless to say our students can watch that movie a million times! After the movie and lunch, we headed to the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston where the students spent countless hours wandering around with their SI groups, touring most if not all of the Museum in one walk through adventure. The contemporary art and ancient Egypt/Asia exhibits seemed to be the students’ favorites.
On Friday after morning classes, GovsPLUS headed for a bonus field trip in the woods at Project Adventure in Beverly. There we all bonded in strategic team-building exercises and as we tried to navigate the low ropes course. Students learned the meaning and power of teamwork and by the end of the day, SIs and students alike had gotten to know each other’s strengths and weaknesses. Hopefully our students and staff will bring what they learn into the GovsPLUS classroom!
What a whirlwind of a first week here at GovsPLUS! We look forward to the start of week 2 after the 4th of July weekend!