Sydney Swindell and Mary George King have an interesting summer ahead of them. The two juniors at North Lenoir High School will spend nearly six weeks of it at North Carolina Governor’s School.
“I hope to meet new people and expand my knowledge about the world around me and how society works,” said King, who will study social science at Salem College in Winston-Salem, the west campus of Governor’s School. “I want to bring back my experiences and be able to tell students who want to apply next year about it.”
Swindell will study math on the east campus, at Meredith College in Raleigh. “I’m really want it to be something where I can learn more about math,” she said. “I love math and I’m hoping I can further that and understand the subject more, as well as have the experiences, meet the people, do all the stuff you expect to do with a summer-long program.”
Governor’s School is a summer residential program for academically or intellectually gifted high school students that offers instruction in one of 11 areas of academic or artistic emphasis, as well as a broader curriculum that integrates these areas. It is the oldest program of its kind in the nation. Each campus accepts 325 students, mostly rising seniors, from the more than 1,800 nominations received. This year, Governor’s School begins June 18 and runs through July 26.
Students win admission after being nominated by their schools and compiling an application package that includes grades and test scores, teacher recommendations and essays that shed some light on their personal and academic interests.
Both King and Swindell are typical of the high-achieving students selected for the program – at the top of their class academically, involved in sports and extracurricular activities at school and active in the community.
Swindell plays tennis for North Lenoir, is a member of the Quiz Bowl team and Math Club, volunteers as a reading tutor at Banks Elementary School, volunteers with her church and works two after-school jobs.
King is an all-conference soccer player and a cheerleader; is a member of the SGA, Math Club and HOSA, a health occupation group, at North Lenoir; and volunteers with the county’s recreation department and at Southeast Elementary School.
Both are members of the Honor Society.
With King and Swindell, North Lenoir has sent 10 students to Governor’s School since 2014.
“We owe it to our teachers at North Lenoir and to our parents,” King said. “They helped us get in. They pushed us.”
Swindell is the daughter of Rebecca and Frank Swindell of Kinston; and King, the daughter of Lesley and Keith King of La Grange.