VERGENNES-Last weekend, 330 Vermont 9th through 11th graders began arriving on college campuses statewide for a journey into the power of learning. Several Addison County schools are represented.
Seven different Institutes focused on Arts, Asian Cultures, Current Issues and Youth Activism, Engineering, Information Technology, Mathematical Sciences, and Science and Technology will conduct hands-on programs with Vermont teenagers as part of the Governor's Institutes of Vermont (GIV).
For 19 teens, that will include Taiko drumming with the Governor, Chinese and Japanese language lessons, and study of Asian foods and cultures in preparation for a group trip to China. Another 58 teens will construct robotics systems by hand, develop new sustainable energy technologies and experiment with aeronautics principles as part of the GIV Engineering Institute at UVM.
In GIV's largest Institute, Arts, 113 teenagers will immerse themselves in creative pursuits such as dance, music, composition, visual art, basketry, and drama alongside well-known professionals during a two-week residence at Castleton State College.
"These motivated young people are amazing," says GIV's new Executive Director Karen Taylor Mitchell. "All of these students choose and apply to spend their summer time off doing rigorous, intensive coursework, and fortunately our state and private donors make sure that these unique opportunities are available to every single student with that kind of passion and motivation."
Vermont is the only state in New England with a Governor's Institute, and over 28 years it has shaped the lives of more than 8500 students. Those students have grown into some of Vermont's best-known artists, musicians, and young professionals, many of whom credit the Governor's Institutes with introducing them to their career path and giving them the confidence to pursue it. Friendships are another key benefit of participation, as is aligning passions with real-world jobs.
A few highlights of this year's Institutes include: research trips on the UVM research vessel Melosira, a beachside sand-arch building competition, a gubernatorial forum with current candidates, giant puppet-construction for the Castleton July 4 parade, and a Math Amazing Race.