The Governor's Program for Gifted Children

GPGC 2018 | JUNE 3 – JULY 21


Afternoon Electives: Which to Choose?

Each and every student have their own special set of talents and abilities. Here at the Governor’s Program we offer 16 unique electives in an array of fields such as music, art, theatre, print media, and even film!

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The 2016 S.O.U.S (summer of unusual size) has officially begun!  Here are all 100 students trying to fit on a stage that is barely big enough.  We couldn’t be more excited.  More updates coming soon!


GPGC 2016 Begins Today!

Today is check-in day for the GPGC 2016 Session. A hearty welcome back to all of our returning students and an especially warm welcome to our new students. Here is today’s schedule of events:

11:00 AM – Check in for new students (Collette Hall)

Lunch on your own

1:00 PM – Check in for returning students (Collette Hall)

2:00 PM – New Student Orientation and Campus Tour (Begins in the Lobby of Collette Hall)

2:30 PM – Parent Meeting (Baker Auditorium, Farrar Hall)

5:30 PM – All Students should be back in the dorm

6:00 PM – Dinner

2015 Final Week Schedule

The Program is drawing to a close for yet another summer but we always end with a smile and a song or two. Our academic classes are ending this week and the next, final week, is devoted to rehearsals and performances. Below is a schedule of the final week’s performances – please remember that all of the performances are free and open to the public. Students must stay until the end of the Chorus concert on Saturday but they may go to any of the performances with their parents that they care to. They will have the opportunity to attend the musical and drama performances on Wednesday and Thursday as well.


Note: the schedule we sent home at the 4th of July Break was a little wrong – the days and times are all correct but the actual dates were off by one day. We apologize for any confusion that may have caused.

Weekly Reports – Grad Classes

Our older students (9th and 10 graders usually) are called “Grads” here at the Program. That’s a long story for another day but these students take college-level classes in the morning. This summer we are offering English (Creative Writing), Psychology in Film, and International Relations. Here are reports from Weeks One and Two for each of those classes.

Creative Writing (Mr. Thomas Parrie, Instructor):

Week One: 

This week we began the poetry unit by talking about how to “turn something on its head.” The “theme” for the class is an attempt to “make the familiar new again.” I’ve been giving them poems published by acclaimed poets and we’ve been discussing them with an eye for craft as well as vision. They’ve also been writing poems in class based off of a prompt in which they take an image that is ordinary and they give it meaning that is unique to them. Next week we’ll begin workshopping their original poems.

Week Two:

This week we read and discussed several poems from a diverse group of poets. They turned in two original poems for workshop. They analyzed and critiqued the poems by looking at content and craft with an eye on how to implement the most impressive elements into their own works. We also focused on social justice and what it means today in the world as well as in 21st century America. We also explored poems that are more cerebral and poems that are light hearted, yet are thought provoking or makes commentary on the human experience in the modern world.

International Relations (Mrs. Jessica Markstorm, Instructor):

Week One:

Students were introduced to basic concepts of International Relations such as power, purpose, and institutions. Basic types of actors were discussed and students were able to provide common examples of each type of actor. Students were able to take theories and international law on the recognition of statehood and apply it to modern issues (i.e., Palestine). A brief explanation of world history occurred with a focus on sovereignty, imperialism, WWI, WWII, the Cold War, mutually assured destruction, and decolonialism. At the end of the week students were assigned hypothetical countries in which they decided their government regime type and began interacting with each other to simulate a world environment.

Week Two:

Students were introduced to paradigms and theories this week. The major prevailing paradigms of international relations, realism and liberalism, were explained with in-class activities, historical examples, current event examples, a short movie celebrating the 15th anniversary of the World Trade Organization, a short movie on the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Seas, and scenes from the movie “Mean Girls.” In addition to discussing the major assumptions of each paradigm, hegemonic stability theory, balance of power theory, complex interdependence theory, and liberal institutionalism were all incorporated into the class lectures.

Psychology (Dr. Linda Brannon, Instructor):

Week One:

The topic of this year’s Psychology class is “Psychology Through the Movies,” which will consist of an examination of a selection of topics within psychology illustrated (sometimes inaccurately) in movies. The areas revolve around social psychology, Freudian theory, mental disorders, and treatment of mental disorders.


We discussed images of psychology and how strongly media depictions of psychology influence those images—which focus on psychology as treatment—lead to distorted images of psychology. Students’ most prominent image of psychology resembled Sigmund Freud, whom we discussed briefly; I pointed out that Freud was important to developing the notion of talk-based treatment, but he was a neurologist, not a psychologist.

We explored the professions of clinical psychology and psychiatry, comparing and contrasting the two professions in terms of background and training, theoretical orientations to treatment, and employment. We briefly discussed how one of the traditional differences—prescription privileges—is no longer restricted to MDs in some states. We also discussed the many degrees that confer the title of Dr. on recipients and how MDs are not the only profession that should be addressed with that title.


We extended our discussion of mental health care professions by covering counseling (both school counseling and licensed professional counselors) and social work, detailing the background and training for these professions. I presented the definition of psychology, which says that psychology is the science of behavior and mental processes, not the study of the mind. We discussed some of the challenges and misconceptions of psychology as a science.


We began considering the many areas of psychology that are not related to treatment, most of which fall into the research areas, including social psychology.

Week Two:

We discussed the social psychology point of view (to which the kids showed some initial skepticism). That view holds that people are more affected by their social surroundings than by personality factors. As an example of how powerful surrounding are, I had chosen the Stanford Prison study. We saw scenes from the movie, The Experiment, which is a fictionalized (sensationalized) presentation of this study.

We continued our discussion about the Stanford Prison Study and saw additional scenes from The Experiment. The focus was on the ethics of the experiment, and I asked students to identify differences between the movie and the study. This line of questioning led us to the Department of Health and Human Services guidelines on the Protection of Human Subjects (HHS Title 45, Part 46), which was not in effect at the time of the Stanford Prison Study but which Zimbardo followed in terms of informed consent and right to withdraw. The portrayal the study in The Experiment contained many violations of research ethics, which we discussed.


We discussed Asch’s study on conformity, including a class re-enactment (which we all enjoyed) and a video clip from Candid Camera showing the power of others’ behavior to provoke conformity, even without a word spoken. I asked a question about using this powerful force to encourage good behavior rather than bad, which resulted in an interesting discussion.


Students saw 12 Angry Men and came to class ready to discuss the group processes in the movies, which seemed to include a situation similar to Asch’s conformity study. However, the jury situation includes persuasion, and we discussed some of the factors that contribute to group decision making, such as group polarization (the tendency for groups to adopt more extreme solutions than individuals would). We talked about what would increase this phenomenon and what might decrease it in government and business settings.

Weekly Reports – Composition

Here are the reports from the Composition teachers for Weeks One and Two.

Freshmen Composition (Mrs. Cecil Tate, Instructor)

Week One:

The students wrote letters introducing themselves to me.  They were free to tell me whatever they thought was important and interesting about themselves. The letters were great and very creative.  They also made a list of their favorite books and wrote reviews for their top three.  Each day the students wrote a journal entry which provided practice for a writing technique.One of the techniques the students enjoyed was the cubing exercise.  They used a paper clip to practice the six ways of writing about a subject or object. They really liked arguing for or against paper clips – or maybe they just enjoyed arguing!
Week Two:
This week the goal was to have the students use various sources as inspiration for compositions  The class used their journals as a brainstorming source in order to develop a personal narrative. They read a translation of Plato’s “ Death of Socrates” and short biography about the life of Socrates which they used to write a short description of his trial.  Next, they practiced varying their sentence structure by imitating examples of sentences by various famous authors.
Sophomore Composition (Ms. Talisha Shelly, Instructor)
Week One: 
In week one, a combination of lecture/discussion/workshop teaching style was employed. To start the week, we worked on familiarizing (or refamiliarizing) ourselves with the writing process, and students wrote down their goals and intentions for the class (which will be revisited during the final week of class). On Tuesday I lectured about the various components of an essay, and on Wednesday and Thursday we discussed the importance of imagination to the writing process (research, prewriting, drafting, editing, revision). Poems by Shel Silvertein were read aloud, along with a short story called “Zolaria” by Caitlin Horrocks–which featured basilisks, space dolphins and other mystical creatures–to demonstrate imaginative writing. For homework, the students wrote their own imaginative stories, and presented them in class; I pointed out the importance of reading aloud, audience awareness and the similarities between essay and story writing.
Week Two: 
During week two, a combination of lecture and discussion teaching style was employed. To start the week, we read and discussed a handout (“Choosing a Topic for Your Essay”); for homework, students were assigned to come up with their own topics for the first essay assignment (Descriptive Essay), based on their personal interests and the world around them. On Monday, students were provided with guidelines for writing the essay. Poems by Shel Silverstein, Robert Hayden and Joy Harjo were also read to demonstrate the components of good descriptive writing.On Tuesday, students worked on prewriting and drafting in class; students were to finish writing rough drafts for homework. On Wednesday, I lectured briefly about common errors in essay writing (word choice, point of view, tone/audience awareness, etc.), then students conducted peer reviews in pairs and worked on corrections. For homework, students completed final drafts of their Descriptive Essays. On Thursday, we read an article (“How Modern Life Depletes Our Gut Microbes”) and began discussing the next essay assignment (Comparative Essay). For homework, students were asked to brainstorm topics for the Comparative Essay assignment.
Senior Composition (Ms. Kristina McBride, Instructor)
Week One: 

The first week of the summer, the class picked up from where they left off at the end of last summer. After taking time in the first two days of class to reacquaint ourselves and decide on focus for senior projects, we discussed the poetry presentations that will be due near the end of the summer. Each student will choose a style, form, or movement of poetry to research and teach. The class then spent time reviewing paragraph and essay structure before working on the first writing assignment, a persuasive essay speaking from the perspective of a holiday’s mascot persuading another holiday’s mascot of their superiority. On Thursday the class debated on which of the class chosen holidays is more important or significant. Friday will be spent working on some in class writing as a way to distinguish between favorite and best through the righting of movie reviews.

Week Two: 
On Monday the class discussed the movie reviews they wrote on Friday, and we created a criteria for a universally good movie. After that discussion we applied that idea to what a good essay should look like, creating a rubric for their persuasive essay they had written and brought to class. After the discussion, the class switched essays and completed peer reviews, focusing on constructive criticism. Monday night’s homework was to read a short essay by Ray Bradbury titled “Just this Side of Byzantium” that was included in his introduction to his novel Dandelion Wine. On Tuesday we discussed Bradbury’s essay and his method for writing. We also discussed how despite how little life experience one may have, everyone has a story to tell that is both universal and personal. We then read a chapter of Anne Lamott’s book Bird by Bird titled “Short Assignments.” We looked at ways to tackle writing and life challenges by taking them on a little piece at a time, or “bird by bird.” We talked about Lamott’s idea of using a one inch picture frame as a reminder that you only need to focus on a small section of an idea at a time in order to complete a project, whether it be a writing assignment or a life goal. On Wednesday the class created their own one inch picture frames and decorated them. Thursday was spent beginning reading “The Thing in the Forest” by A. S. Byatt. On Friday the class used their one inch picture frames to look at the world around them to write a story that would fit within the one inch frame.

One of the best parts of the program

for me was, for once, it allowed me to be one of the "normal" kids, instead of the "brainiac" nerd. I cherish that gift.

– George A., Alumnus

The Governor's Program for Gifted Children MSU Box 91490
McNeese State University
Lake Charles, LA 70609

Tel: 800.291.7840
Fax: 337.475.5447