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Flint Hill students accepted into prestigious Virginia Governor’s School

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Samantha Giuntini is accepted to Governor's School!

Samantha Giuntini is accepted to Governor's School!

Photo Credit: Neha Sharma

Photo Credit: Neha Sharma

Samantha Giuntini is accepted to Governor's School!

By Giana Fiore, News Editor

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While summer vacation is normally associated with a break from studying, for some rising seniors, the upcoming months will present an opportunity for further education outside of Flint Hill. Governor’s School, a collection of selective programs for gifted Virginia students, offers an intensive learning experience in various academic and artistic fields.

This year, several Flint Hill students were accepted in their respective areas of interest, from foreign language to the performing arts. These distinguished students will participate in weeks-long residential programs at universities around the state, honing their unique skills and talents.

Senior Nicholas Magdits, who attended the Virginia Governor’s Foreign Language Academy for French last summer, said, “[The] three-week immersion program presented a small but intense window into francophone culture. At the Academy, we ate, slept, and breathed French. Although difficult at first, we quickly adapted to the new atmosphere and, soon afterwards, did not miss our phones or mother tongues, for our new friends and a new language had taken their place.”

The total dedication to studying the language, combined with the opportunity to meet new people and ultimately have fun, drew junior Samantha Giuntini to the Foreign Language Academy.

“I’m looking forward to expanding my knowledge of the French language and francophone culture, surrounded by people who share my passion,” said Giuntini.

The immersive nature of the foreign language programs, which prohibits students from speaking in anything but their language of study, is essential for propelling French, Spanish, and German students towards fluency.

According to the Virginia Department of Education, “All functions, from brushing one’s teeth in the dormitory to class discussions to going swimming or on field trips, contribute to the academy purpose.”

For junior Patrick Lovelace, this program offers a unique opportunity for advancing his Spanish language skills and understanding of various Spanish-speaking cultures.

I am going to the Virginia Governor’s Foreign Language Academy for Spanish, which will take place at Washington and Lee University from June 24-July 15. It is an immersion program, so while I’m there I will be living and spending nearly all my time with other Spanish students and Spanish-speaking counselors and instructors in order to have complete exposure to the language,” said Lovelace.

However, foreign language is not the only field that Flint Hill students will be studying this summer. Junior Becca Stone was accepted to the Governor’s School for Visual and Performing Arts.

“I got accepted into the Governor’s School for Visual and Performing Arts at Radford University. This program takes place for four weeks over the summer. This summer I will be able to work constantly with a group of dancers from all over Virginia to improve my knowledge of the art and its influence on whoever is wanting to know more,” said Stone.

Acceptance into this program is a prestigious achievement, as the performing arts are also highly selective. In order to even apply, candidates must stand out in their particular field and qualify as particularly exceptional students.

According to the online description, “The SRGS for Visual and Performing Arts (VPA) provides artistically challenging and intellectually enriching experiences for a limited number of selected current year tenth- and eleventh-grade high school students. Such students must be identified as gifted in the visual or performing arts, or eligible for such identification.”

Clearly, a strong dedication is necessary to enter the program and ultimately be successful, as the program places emphasis on improving the process, rather than producing a final product.

“I am really looking forward to working with other dancers who are as dedicated to the art as I am and to further my knowledge in dance at this program,” said Stone.

In addition to the arts and foreign language, various academic programs are also available, including Agriculture, Humanities, Medicine and Health Sciences, Marine Science, Engineering, and Mathematics.

Junior Vale Tolpegin will be attending the NASA Engineering Mentorship Governor’s School. This unique educational opportunity allows high schools students to participate in active research alongside NASA engineers.

“I will be joining a team of scientists on a research project and at the end of my time at Governor’s school, I will make an oral presentation of my contributions. I will be working on this project as a full time endeavor during my time there,” said Tolpegin. “My hopes for the program include making a significant contribution to whatever research project I join as well as growing as a person.”
Beyond the intensive study that these programs require, they ultimately provide both academic and social enrichment, which is evident in the positive experiences and new friendships that attendees gain.

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Flint Hill students accepted into prestigious Virginia Governor’s School