Tag Archives: Governor’s Honors Program

Governor's Honors ProgramTALENT ON DISPLAY: Participants in the 2018 Georgia Governor’s Honors Program perform in the Cage Center last summer.

Berry welcomed approximately 6,000 visitors from across Georgia on Feb. 23 for this year’s Governor’s Honors Program interview day.

The Governor’s Honors Program is a four-week summer experience for gifted and talented students who are entering their junior or senior year of high school. Its goal is to provide participants with academic, cultural and social enrichment that will equip them to become critical thinkers, innovators and leaders. Each student must be nominated, complete an application and go through the interview process specific to their intended area of study.

“GHP was easily one of the best four weeks of my life. The friends I made there are friends I’ve maintained to this day,” said Berry sophomore Rachel Heiter, a GHP participant two years ago. “Interview day is nerve-wracking, and the process for applying for GHP was exhausting and, at times, even intimidating. But I can promise that it is absolutely worth it. Let the nerves fall off your shoulders, and allow yourself to embrace your inner weirdness.”

Berry first hosted GHP in the summer of 2017. Last year, 646 students from 68 Georgia counties took part. This year, approximately 1,650 students and their families passed through the Gate of Opportunity for interview day. Those accepted will return to campus in mid-June. Tuition and boarding costs are covered by the Georgia General Assembly.

“Attending GHP at Berry was honestly such an amazing experience,” Heiter said. “Not only did it get me intimately acquainted with such a beautiful campus, it also exposed me to a friendly, caring and amazing environment that you can only really find at Berry.”

By Student Public Relations Assistant Megan Benoit

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Debbie Heida PortraitMerriam-Webster defines “pillar” as “a supporting, integral or upstanding member or part,” as in “a pillar of society.” Such words aptly describe Debbie Heida, who this fall was named a “Pillar of the Profession” by the National Association of Student Affairs Administrators in recognition of her work on behalf of students and higher education.

Heida has been a member of Berry’s leadership team for 14 years, beginning with her appointment as dean of students and vice president of student affairs in 2004. This year, she left that role to serve as chief of staff to President Steve Briggs.

“In her 14 years at Berry, Debbie has managed a weighty portfolio of responsibilities and still, to her credit, she is always among the first to run toward a new problem or reach out to offer help when a colleague has a need,” Briggs said. “She is creative and resourceful and therefore one of the people I turn to first for a fresh perspective. She was instrumental in leading the planning effort when Berry joined Division III of the NCAA, and she worked determinedly for several years to bring the Georgia Governor’s Honors Program to Berry and ensure a successful transition.”

Assisting in the nomination process was former SGA President Paton Roden (15C), now second-year experience coordinator at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

“I found my passion at Berry through my student involvement and leadership positions on campus and followed this into my current career in higher education,” Roden said. “I did all of this with the help of Debbie Heida. She is very deserving of this award based on her commitment and involvement.”

Photo by student Matthew McConnell

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Governor's Honors Program

Siddarth Shrivastava makes an adjustment to a “mine finder” he helped build in HackBerry Lab as part of the Governor’s Honors Program. The device is meant to minimize injuries and deaths from landmines left from wars.

A busy summer on the world’s largest campus was highlighted by Berry’s debut as the new host site for the prestigious Governor’s Honors Program. More than 650 of Georgia’s top high school juniors and seniors – accompanied by nearly 100 GHP faculty and staff members – flowed through the Gate of Opportunity in late June to begin the four-week residential experience.

During their stay, participants attended classes in specific areas of study, showcased their artistic talents in various campus venues, and joined Berry students and staff for a night of service benefiting the local community.

“The Governor’s Honors Program aligns with Berry’s commitment to academic excellence,” said Debbie Heida, dean of students and vice president for student affairs. “It was a great opportunity to share the Berry experience with these incredibly talented high school students. I hope to see some of them back at Berry for a full four-year experience.”

The program will return to Berry in 2018.

The arrival of the GHP students for a new Berry tradition came on the heels of a rite of passage familiar to decades of alumni – Student Orientation Advising and Registration (SOAR) – which this year provided more than 500 incoming students with their first taste of Berry life.

Adding to the buzz of GHP and SOAR was a steady stream of summer camps – more than 45 in all – that drew approximately 2,000 participants ages 5-18 for a wide variety of sports and activities.

Related News Coverage: Student enjoys “humbling” experience in GHP

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Rob Franek

Rob Franek of “The Princeton Review” shares insight about selecting a college during interview day for the 2017 Governor’s Honors Program.

More than 1,600 of Georgia’s best and brightest high school sophomores and juniors passed through the Gate of Opportunity on Feb. 25 to interview for the 2017 Governor’s Honors Program. Of those, approximately 650 will return for a four-week residential experience later this summer.

This is Berry’s first year as the host site for the nation’s longest running summer enrichment program. The Governor’s Office of Student Achievement chose Berry from a group of colleges and universities interested in hosting the program, which previously had been held on the campus of Valdosta State University.

Berry’s population swelled by nearly 5,000 as prospective GHP students, parents and volunteer interviewers – many of them teachers from across Georgia – flocked to campus for the daylong interview session. Joining them was Rob Franek, editor-in-chief of The Princeton Review, who shared his insights with parents on the college admissions process. Franek’s tips.

Selected students will return to Berry on June 18 to begin the month-long program. Click here to learn more.

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GHP LogoThe Governor’s Office of Student Achievement has selected Berry as the new site for Georgia’s prestigious Governor’s Honors Program. Beginning in 2017, Berry will welcome 650 of the state’s best and brightest high school students for a four-week summer residential program featuring classes in a wide variety of fields.

“We are thrilled to host the Governor’s Honors Program,” said Berry President Steve Briggs. “Berry’s campus is an ideal setting for a residential program that offers innovative and engaging experiences for Georgia’s most talented students. We expect the GHP students to make the most of this amazing place and its academic, artistic and recreational opportunities. What a great way for them to test-drive what college can be.”

Berry was chosen from a group of colleges and universities across the state that expressed interest in hosting the honors program. In its official announcement, the Governor’s Office of Student Achievement noted Berry’s ability to provide appropriate academic and residential space, as well as a strong partnership and 21st-century resources to support the continued advancement of the program.

“Our specialty is a great residential academic community, and that fits with the Governor’s Honors Program,” said Debbie Heida, Berry’s vice president for student affairs. “We’ll treat these students as our own students.”

Full press release.

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