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Webb Governor's School students gain academic, life skills

Sunday, August 5, 2012

BELL BUCKLE, Tenn. -- Two students at The Webb School attended Governor's Schools during summer. Micah Rasnick, of Bell Buckle, joined students from across the state at Governor's School for Engineering at the University of Tennessee Knoxville. Caitie Connor, of Murfreesboro, was among Tennessee students selected for Governor's School for the Humanities at the University of Tennessee at Martin.

Rasnick and Connor, seniors, knew that the academic experience would benefit them during their final year at Webb and in college. They were surprised, however, by other aspects of Governor's School.

"Overall as an experience, Governor's School has helped me to learn to be more self-sufficient, allowed me to make relationships that I believe will last a lifetime, and taught me to work and interact with other people both socially and academically," said Rasnick. "Specifically, the Tennessee Governor's School for Engineering will help me in the coming school year because it gave me a basic background in many fields of science that will allow me to do well in my heavily math- and science-based schedule of the upcoming school year." He added, "It has also led me to be more outgoing, an important quality for everyone in our senior class to have in order to be the leaders in the school."

Connor echoed the benefits of her experience and said, "The aspect of Governor's School that I appreciated most was the educational environment. The humanities classes offered were incredibly interesting, and they were all taught by amazing and caring professors." She added, "While a college curriculum is obviously not easy, the professors made it feel that way by maintaining the focus on individualized learning, as opposed to studying or grades or tedious and constant textbook material. Additionally, I appreciated the glimpse it gave me of college life," said Connor. "I've always been excited about going away to college, but now I am so less nervous about it as a whole because I know I'm going to love every minute of it."

Each day at Governor's School, Rasnick had a three-hour engineering fundamentals class that taught the thought process and tools of engineering as a whole and a three-hour biomedical engineering class that detailed anatomy (mainly skeletal structure and muscle), medical imaging devices and other instrumentation.

Connor's two classes, English 111 and Music 112, offered a number of things that will benefit her in the immediate future. "The English class's theme focused on family and familial relationships, and as a rising senior, soon-to-be college student, moving away for college is obviously going to affect my personal family environment. The class's familial theme was interesting and pertinent, and it made me so much more grateful for my own family and home life." She added, "And obviously, the class rigor and writing emphasis has very much helped me as a writer and student." The music class focused on the development of different percussion styles around the world. "It forced me to be much more objective, both as a listener of music and a person as a whole. The emphasis of objectivity in the class was what led me to develop the beginning ideas for a possible senior research project, which I'm looking forward to pursuing."

Rasnick's free time was spent playing cards, sports, or just spending time talking with other Governor's School students. "I was very surprised by how quickly strong friendships were formed. We were only around each other for five weeks, but we developed friendships that we will never want to let go."

Connor had a similar experience. "There's nothing quite like the friendships that you will develop at Governor's School. I'm so glad I was able to spend the month with 71 of the most talented, funny, and creative people I have ever met. Now that it's over, I'm equally glad that I'm a member of this loving and close GSH alumni group."

Connor said she was very surprised with how her classes turned out, and specifically how kind and engaged her professors and the staff members were. "I certainly wasn't expecting anyone to be mean or unwelcoming, but I was completely blown away by the kindness and sincerity of the directors, staff members, scholars, counselors, and professors. Walking into a classroom, cafeteria, or lecture hall filled with students and adults who all choose and want to be there is a wonderful and rare thing, and I believe it was that environment of intellectual eagerness, kindness, and genuine content that I enjoyed most about Governor's School."


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