The Governor's Program for Gifted Children

GPGC 2024 | JUNE 9 – JULY 27


Weekly Reports – Sciences, Week One

Here are some reports from the teachers of each of our Science classes for last week in the Program. We have organized them by class:

Sophomore Science (Ms. MaryKate Core, Instructor)

The students began by understanding science as a method for exploring the world, emphasizing creative thinking and formal reporting. In week one, we introduced concepts of data analysis and organizing raw data, analysis, and conclusions in a report.


Senior Science (Dr. Linda Brannon, Instructor)

During the session, seniors complete courses in science, composition, and humanities and choose one of these areas in which they complete a project. Thus, Science III is oriented around moving students from students to researchers. During the first week of the session, we focused initially on the choice of the senior project. Students who choose a science project must go through all of the steps in the scientific method, which begins with choosing a topic. Some students had ideas about a science project on the first day, all of which were feasible. Students who choose a project in humanities of composition participate in a class study in which they collect data and work as a group on a presentation, so all students have a science experience but not the same science experience.


Grad Psychology (Dr. Linda Brannon, Instructor)

This session’s topic in psychology is Psychology as Science and Treatment, which emphasizes the field of clinical psychology and the overall view of psychology research. I plan to use a selection of media (movies, TV, literature) to lead students to a critical evaluation of psychology as a science (that follows the scientific method just the same as other sciences) and the training and work of clinical psychologists (as well as other professions that provide mental health care. Each student received a topic related to mental disorders or treatment methods. The assignment is to become an “expert” in the topic so as to be able to present information when that topic is the focus of discussion, to serve as a re source for other students when that topic is the focus of a written assignment, and to write a final paper on the topic.

Weekly Reports – Humanities, Week One

Here are some reports from the teachers of each of our Humanities classes for last weeks in the Program. We have organized them by class:

Freshmen Humanities (Ms. Kristen Harrell, Instructor)

On Monday, we began classes by discussing the Latin phrase on their t-shirts and what that meant in the context of this class and the program. This led into what the Latin and Greek languages were/are and why they were important to Western Civilization. They were given a Greek alphabet sheet as well as a list of ancient Greek names and their meanings. Their homework for the next few days was to choose a name from that list to be their own for the class. This usually leads to a discussion on etymology and the understanding of English words with Greek roots. I also gave them a cheat sheet of sorts that they can use for their cursive handwriting. I do this so that all of my students will be able to read a primary document which may be in cursive in the future. So far, I’m incredibly proud of their work. Also this week, we delved into the pre-Greek culture; the Minoans and the Mycenaeans. We discussed their beliefs their structures and inferred a great deal about their lives by looking at the ruins and artifacts from the palace complex of Knossos and Mycenae. They understood that with a lack of written history, understanding archaeology and art history can help fill in the gaps. The Greek ‘middle ages’ discussion was dominated by the Iliad and the Odyssey and how that sets a standard for any epic tale or journey story for the western world even into modern society. I quizzed them over this material with an Open Notes Quiz and was able to gauge their progress in composition with a free response worksheet. We finished the week by watching excerpts from the miniseries, “The Odyssey”, and discussing everything from its accuracy, the set design, to the ‘Hollywood’ changes.


Sophomore Humanities (Ms. Lauren Howton, Instructor)

This week we did introductions and preliminary discussions of the great ideas so that we may refer back to the ideas while reading and participating in discussions. We took several days to discuss at length the ideas of Utopia and Dystopia. We began a pre-reading discussion of A Wrinkle in Time. We used daily journal assignments as a “jumping-off point” for those students who were more hesitant to participate out loud.


Senior Humanities (Ms. Lauren Howton, Instructor)

This week we started with introductions and the concept of the Great Ideas. We continued on with in-depth discussions of Utopia and Dystopia. Many of the students were interested in my past employment at Disney World (which I briefly mentioned during the first day introductions) so we spun that into a debate about whether or not Disney World could be considered a utopia or dystopia. This debate really informed our pre-reading discussion of Sir Thomas More’s Utopia. We closed out the week with a discussion of the book after the first assigned reading was complete.


Grad Level, Civil Rights/Civil Liberties (Ms. Jessica Markstrom)

This week I introduced students to basic judicial concepts regarding the Supreme Court and constitutional interpretation. Additionally, we addressed the “free exercise” and “establishment” clauses of the 1st Amendment. I placed special attention on the Court’s recent decision in Masterpiece Cakeshop, Ltd. v. Colorado Commission for Civil Rights. We ended the week evaluating 1st Amendment issues in Louisiana including Cole v. Webster Parish Board and Louisiana Senate Bill 512 (which passed the state legislature in May 2018).

Important News from GPGC

On Tuesday, July 12, a McNeese student group in conjunction with the local Lake Charles chapter of the NAACP will be holding a prayer vigil on the McNeese campus (in the Quad) starting at 7 PM. Unfortunately there have been rumors of other groups planning to protest the prayer vigil and although we don’t expect any trouble we have decided, after consultation with the McNeese administration and our security officer, to keep our students in the dorm Tuesday night after dinner. As parents, you are of course welcome to come check your student out of the dorm for any reason Tuesday night but we wanted to let you know that the students will be restricted to the dorm for the night. If you have any questions or concerns about this please feel free to call or email me (Joshua Brown) –, 337-475-5446.

GPGC gave me a sense of community,

a place where being smart was acceptable, where bullying was not the norm, and where creativity was welcomed.

– Cashman P., Alumnus