One Thomas County Central High School student spent a portion of his summer immersed in a highly-selective learning event.
Senior Zachary Sharpe, 17, attended this year’s Governor’s Honors Program at Berry College. Sharpe was selected from thousands of students nominated throughout the state. His chosen field was social studies.
Sharpe thoroughly enjoyed GHP’s catalog of classes in his field of study. Examples of courses he took include: “Pop Music through the Ages: the 80s,” “Comets, Kool-Aid and Cults,” “World Philosophies of Death,” “American Figure: Theodore Roosevelt,” “How Democracy is Dying” and “American Eugenics.”
“GHP was worth attending because topics were all across the board,” he said. “They were able to approach subjects that high schools can’t provide. I would not have gotten into these subjects had I not gone to GHP.”
His favorites were “Comets, Kool-Aid and Cults” and the Roosevelt class. The first is memorable to Sharpe because it uncovered interesting facts about infamous moments and movements in American history (Jonestown, Waco, Scientology, etc.); the second because it showcased Roosevelt’s multifaceted accomplishments and why he was such an influential man and president, Sharpe explains.
The youth appreciated the positive atmosphere in his dorm hall and his resident adviser.
“My RA was very understanding of our feelings and was happy to build a positive environment for all of us to live in for a month,” Sharpe said.
Another standout from Sharpe’s GHP trip is the time spent in his chosen minor class of study: “Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning.”
“That class was so appealing to not only those interested in computer science but to any teenager,” he said. “They were very welcoming to teenagers and in discovering how we learn and helping us. They also were very informed on their subject matter.”
His time in this minor also helped Sharpe determine his path for college and a career. He was considering either becoming a history teacher or working in computer science. After taking the GHP class in his minor field, Sharpe has decided he wants to pursue a degree and career in computer science.
“I want to write code and work closely with robotic engineers,” he said.
Sharpe says the experience taught him an important lesson he wants to share with other youth.
“You don’t need to have your life set in stone at 16,” he said. “There’s a whole world of things to learn, study and work with, and it’s OK to change your mind about what you want to do in life.”
He also has a piece of advice for future GHP participants.
“Go as yourself but with an open mind,” Sharpe said. “Be receptive to change.”