The Governor's Program for Gifted Children

GPGC 2024 | JUNE 9 – JULY 20

Weekly Reports – 2024 Week Four – Morning Classes

Please let us know if there’s anything else you’d like to see or if you have any questions for specific instructors.  We are also posting regularly on Facebook. You don’t have to join Facebook to see our posts. The link is:

Freshman (First Year) and Sophomore (Second Year) Classes:

Flex Science (Ryan Patin, Instructor)

To be updated.

Flex Composition (Meilyn Woods, Instructor)

Students learned the basics of poetry, specifically persona poems.

Freshmen Humanities  (Chris Hebert, Instructor)

This is the week we started Shakespeare’s “Julius Caesar”. Firstly, we spoke of the power of Shakespeare—that while his plays seem far removed from our way of life, the issues he explores are still very relevant today and to all time. This is why we see such a wealth of Shakespearean translations to other time periods and to different cultures: think “Throne of Blood” (a “Macbeth” that takes place in Feudal Japan) and “10 Things I Hate About You” (“The Taming of the Shrew” in an American high school). We also discussed the idea of power and its influence. I also have given students a mighty challenge: to memorize and give Antony’s “Friends, Romans, Countrymen, lend me your ears” speech without a script and without errors.

Sophomore Humanities  (Jessica Markstrom, Instructor)

This week, we viewed how government, economics, consumerism, status, and power influence dystopian environments.  We read through pages 127-271 of Jennifer Government.

Monday – We discussed pages 127-184 of Jennifer Government.  In this section, the students got a glimpse into the only family unit explored in the novel, several characters mentioned major events that provided life-changing perspective, and the limitations of a weak government were also present.  We discussed the social contract with more depth than in previous classes, how the government in the novel was unable to meet the requirements of the social contract, family units (and the importance of family in our lives), perspective, priorities, and actions versus words.  I asked the students to think about how family would be implemented in their utopias and whether the social contract would be present in their utopias.

Tuesday – We discussed pages 185-214 of Jennifer Government.  I played the song “Everybody Wants to Rule the World” by Tears for Fears and had them relate the song to a character, group(s), or society in the novel.  Considering there were many people and entities vying for power in this section of the reading, the song had numerous potential applications.  Students discussed their distaste for the main antagonist’s misogyny and general lack of care for others.  I had them compare similar attributes between the main protagonist and the main antagonist.  They realized that both characters behaved similarly.  However, they were able to note that the main difference between the characters was that one had morality and the other did not.  I also showed some students World War II propaganda to demonstrate the concept of propaganda as the novel referenced it with the phrase, “Loose lips sink sponsorship.”

Wednesday – We discussed pages 216-242 of Jennifer Government.  I started the class by having the students look at Banksy’s mural “Very Little Helps” and apply it to a person or group in the reading.  While the mural could relate to the entire society, there were specific parts in the novel regarding replacing government with corporations, that people would continue to buy from corporations that lacked ethics, and there was a protest group against corporate overreach that the students could use to apply to the mural.

Thursday – July 4th Holiday.

Friday – We discussed pages 243-271 of Jennifer Government.   A common theme in the novel is responsibility (or lack of responsibility) and we discussed how that related to the specific events of the reading.  We also discussed business regulations and their purpose.  I explained legal versus illegal protests in the U.S. as the reading had several illegal protests occur.  I asked the students whether they would allow or try to prevent protests in their utopias and how they might achieve the desired result regarding protests in their utopias.

Senior (Third Year) Classes:

Senior Science (Josh Brown, Instructor)

To be updated.

Senior Composition (Meilyn Woods, Instructor)

Students learned the art of crafting tension in their writing

Senior Humanities  (Jessica Markstrom, Instructor)

This week students engaged with absurdism, realism and surrealism in review of government expressions of power, policing, and oppression.  Topics included:  revolution, immigration, borders, security, genocide, segregation, use of force, media, policing, and the justice system.

Monday – We discussed a selection of poems by Langston Hughes.  Students viewed Judgment Day! a comic initially published in 1953 and censored for having a black astronaut in it.  For parents interested in the comic, you can view it here for free.

Tuesday – We discussed The Brief and Frightening Reign of Phil.  This novella uses absurdism to discuss important issues like immigration and borders, democracy, criminal justice, and the media.

Wednesday – Students started watching Ubu and the Truth Commission. This surrealist play depicts Ubu Roi in South Africa during the time of the Truth and Reconciliation Commissions hearings.

Thursday – July 4th Holiday.

Friday – Students finished watching Ubu and the Truth Commission.  For parents interested in watching the play yourself, you can do so for free on YouTube.

Musically Gifted Studies  (Brandon LaFleur, Instructor)

We discussed the scale degree names and how they are oriented around the tonic pitch rather than the scale order. This led to the default behavior of these pitches in a tonal context which leads to harmonic function. Later in the week, we discussed the neurological condition known as synesthesia, implications for composition, and discovered some aspects of the subfield music-cognition. Since synesthesia is an academic interest of mine, I presented an academic paper of mine to the students about two fugues (An imitative genre of musical composition) by the Lithuanian composer and painter M.K. Ciurlionis. One of these fugues is for the piano and the other is a painting.


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