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Students from Stone Memorial and Cumberland County High School attended Governor’s School, a summer learning program. There are various study programs to apply to and learn from. These students spent a month learning about their focus of study.    


Agriculture Governor’s School

Katelyn Wattenbarger, Stone Memorial High School, and Samantha Essex, Cumberland County High School, attended the University of Tennessee at Martin. Both are leaders in their high school FFA, Future Farmers of America. While at Martin, they studied different fields of agriculture to advance their education and careers. Essex studied agricultural business and veterinary science, and Wattenbarger studied agricultural sciences.    

I, along with 33 other scholars, had the opportunity to partake in many hands-on learning experiences,” Wattenbarger said about her experience at Governor's School.    

Essex and Wattenbarger participated in different activities for their studies to better understand their desired career choice. It also helped both of them understand how college curriculum works.    

The most important lesson I learned is that in order to do well on college-level classes you need at least two things: a lot of study time and people you can count on to be accountability partners. By being with students taking the same courses, we were able to have study groups and helpful reminders for tests and due dates,” Essex said about her studies at Martin.    

Stone Memorial’s Spencer Moore, also, participated in Governor’s School for Agriculture.    


International Studies Governor’s School    

Karun Parek of Stone Memorial High School attended Governor’s School for International Studies at the University of Memphis.    

I got to take a fun six-hour drive to Memphis and got to see an IKEA in Tennessee for my troubles,” Parek said about his trip.    

Parek had classes five days a week and guest speakers throughout. He and his peers discussed daiy topics that allowed him to strengthen his debate and critical-thinking skills by reviewing current events.    

I met people with interesting viewpoints about the world, and this helped me see from multiple perspectives but also gain a more solid viewpoint and debating skills due to disagreements I had with certain people there,” Parek said.    

He said he was able to learn and understand the world from a different perspective. 

Since Governor’s School, he wants to fill the educational gap and help others gain similar opportunities.    

This experience definitely solidified my intention of likely going into law or politics,” Parek said.    


Arts Governor’s School    

Maggie Bacon and Emma Norrod, both from Stone Memorial High School, attended Governor’s School for the Arts at Middle Tennessee State University to hone their talents and immerse themselves in their studies. Bacon attended for instrumental music in percussion, and Norrod attended for dance.    

Bacon participates in her high school band.     

With everything I have learned at Governor’s School, I can happily say that I will bring all the information back to my high school as I help further my peers’ education in music,” Bacon said.    

Bacon attended different classes and was able to experience a college lifestyle. She said she learned time management while participating in ensembles and orchestras that helped expand her knowledge of music. She enjoyed the challenges the program brought.

I plan to major in music therapy, and this program definitely gave me a head start in my college music career as well as matured me as a musician,” Bacon said.

Norrod participated in classes that taught her daily modern, contemporary and ballet dance styles. She also studied the technical side of dance.    

Dance teaches discipline, responsibility and attention to detail. Being in a completely new learning environment causes you to learn how to adapt and navigate social situations as well as unfamiliar environments. These are all great attributes to apply to any work,” Norrod explained.    

Norrod said her most valuable lesson from the school is to always ask questions to clearly understand the technique and how to improve. Although Norrod has danced most of her life, she doesn’t want to make it her career. 

I plan to study to be an eye doctor, which isn’t necessarily related to dance. I still plan to study dance in college, though, and this gave me a taste of different dance styles, expectations, instructors and experiences. Ways to deal with new environments and the push for constant improvement is definitely something to carry on as I enter optometry,” she said.

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