Georgia Governor’s Honors Program: The Experience of a Lifetime

Alix Wagner participates in Governors Honors Program 2018.


Alix Wagner and the research project she completed over the last two weeks of the program. Photo courtesy of Alix Wagner.

Sophomores and juniors have an opportunity to apply for the Governor’s Honor Program (GHP). The applications are due by Jan. 4, 2019. GHP is an organization meant to expose talented and passionate students to their specific area of study in a way that a normal classroom.

“You attend GHP just to learn and gain knowledge that you would never be able to learn during the traditional school year,” junior Alix Wagner said.

Students apply to the program with a specific major in mind, there are many different majors, including science, math, music and more. Students also chose a minor that they want to study, that don’t necessarily need to be gifted in that subject. During the summer of 2019, students who were accepted will live at a college campus for four weeks and take classes on their major and minor. Last year, seven students from Decatur High School participated in the program, one of which was Alex Wagner.

Wagner majored in Analytical and Organic Chemistry and minored in Social Studies. She was nominated by the science department. Wagner not only had competition from around the state, but also other students from Decatur.

“Four of us were selected to take a data analysis test and I was then honored to be the sole student to represent the science department at DHS.”

She then participated in a school wide interview involving all areas of study. 10 students from Decatur applied to the program, and seven were accepted. After her application was accepted, she became a semifinalist who had to pass more qualifications from the program.

While difficult classes and hard work were important to the program, Wagner enjoyed every second of it. She participated in interesting labs that were unlike those she completed at Decatur.

Alix Wagner (left) and two friends she met in the program. Photo courtesy of Alix Wagner.

“The classes were not difficult by our normal definition of difficult. They were challenging, made me think and exposed me to areas of science and social studies that I would never get a chance to see at DHS.”

The program also offered seminars to all of the students and offered enjoyable ways to spend to time with friends. The seminars Wagner participated in included; star gazing, letter writing, journaling, rock painting, and more.

“Our free time was up to us and each GHP student did what they wished in their free time.”

This year more students have the opportunity to apply for the GHP 56. These students should be invested in their major and enjoy being in a smaller classes of about 15 students.

“I would definitely recommend GHP to other students, but only students who really are passionate about a topic and want to learn, stretch themselves, and would be interested in attending school for an extra month over the summer.”

Wagner describes this program as one of the most meaningful experiences in her life and hopes that more students from Decatur can have the same experience.

“GHP is a summer program for exceptionally talented and gifted high school students who are extremely passionate about their intended major,” Wagner said. “You attend GHP just to learn and gain knowledge that you would never be able to learn during the traditional school year. You learn just for the sake of learning, not for a good grade on a test.”