Program offers residential learning for high school students

The Times Argus of Montpelier reports on the exciting learning opportunities available at GIV in “Program offers residential learning for high school students,”

High school students from all over the state will once again have the chance to be involved in an interactive educational program of their choice this summer through the Governor’s Institute of Vermont.

The GIV is offering eight residential learning institutes for high school students, with programs ranging from Asian cultures to digital media.

The chance to apply for these programs has begun.

Students who are accepted into the program — roughly 500 — spend anywhere from a week to two weeks living on a college campus studying a specific subject of their choice.

“It’s a chance to give them a college experience on several different levels,” said Erika Nichols, development associate for GIV. “They study, work and live on a college campus for a week. Essentially it’s practicing for college.”

Each program is at a different college, and students have access to resources such as labs, lecture halls and studio space.

Professors, professionals and experts come to the college to educate the students in each area of study.

“It’s an intense, hands-on exploration of subjects,” Nichols said.

The time spent on campus is very structured, Nichols said, with classes, workshops and field trips that often last most of the day.

“But since the kids are studying something they are passionate about, they really have a great time.”

The tuition for the program is based on household income, tailored to how much a family can realistically afford.

“Price of tuition can be as little as $10 for the week,” Nichols said. “And that is the price a lot of students pay.”

About 20 percent of students pay that amount.

Tuition can be knocked down even more if a female student applies to a program in science, technology, engineering or mathematics.

“There is an encouragement for girls to get more involved in those areas of study,” Nichols said.

One topic that was new last year was the entrepreneurship program that will be held again in Randolph Center at the Vermont Technical College campus.

The program director, Laurel Butler, said the popularity for this area of study is encouraging.

“You don’t see a lot of classes based around business and entrepreneurialism for students at the high school age,” she said. “So a lot of students join this program not even having a basic understanding of these topics, but they have energy and enthusiasm to make up for it. And they learn quickly.”

Butler is the business adviser at the Vermont Small Business Development Center and approached GIV last year about adding a program based on starting and growing a business.

The program took off.

“We had full capacity last year,” Butler said of the 22 students who got accepted into the program.

This year, the capacity has been expanded and will allow for 30 students to take the weeklong course.

A number any greater than that, Butler said, would be too much and the quality of the program might suffer.

The course load will include and explore the ethics, sustainability and social responsibilities of owning and operating a business.

How to market, finance and successfully operate a business also will be areas of study, Butler said, as well as how to work with a business partner and employees.

“It is always useful to understand how businesses work,” Butler said. “Because no matter what you do or where you go, most likely you will be working or involved with some form of business.”

Kaomi Taylor Mitchell

Kaomi Taylor Mitchell

Karen is Executive Director at the Governor's Institutes of Vermont.

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