Putnam County High School student, Lily Thomas, was recognized by the Governor’s Office of Student Achievement as a finalist in the 2020 Georgia Governor’s Honors Program.
Thomas was nominated by PCHS teachers for both the English and Social Studies programs and chose to pursue the social studies curriculum while attending the program at Berry College this summer.
GHP is a residential summer program for gifted and talented high school students. The program provides an in-depth educational opportunity that is much different from a typical classroom setting. Students live on a college campus and attend classes in the mornings and afternoons in their specific area of study. According to the GOSA website, the program is designed to “provide students with academic, cultural, and social enrichment necessary to become the next generation of global critical thinkers, innovators, and leaders.”
“Several members of my staff participated in past programs, so I know firsthand about the intelligent and talented individuals who are chosen to participate,” said Governor Kemp in 2020 when the finalists were announced. “These finalists are our future leaders, and we celebrate and encourage their continued educational growth. While we are disappointed that these finalists are unable to participate as planned, we look forward to continuing to honor and recognize their accomplishments.”
Thomas was one out of only 659 students who were chosen out of thousands of nominations from across the state. She participated in a rigorous application process that involved submitting a resume, writing an essay and attending in-person interviews.
“The process was pretty stressful. It was a lot of work,” she said. “Part of it was going to Berry for an in-person interview and so there was a Model UN-type aspect to it where we researched some conflicts, and we took the identities of certain countries and tried to speak on it diplomatically. It was a unique experience, and I wasn’t really sure what to expect coming out of it, but I was really excited when I found out that I made it in.”
Thomas has a passion for social studies and the lessons that can be learned from studying history.
“One thing that I’m really interested in is civil rights,” she shared. “I’m interested in the women’s rights movement and stuff like that. I think that times in which rights have been taken away are really interesting and really telling. They’re important to understand and to talk about and to not repeat. I could see myself going into something with civil rights in the future. I think civil justice is important.”
“I like the connectivity of social studies,” Thomas said. “It includes history, government, interpersonal communication, debates and talking about things that matter.”
The 2020 summer program was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but this year the finalists from 2020 that are still in high school will be able to attend the four-week program.
“I’m really excited for it.” she stated. “I know there’s going to be a lot of different people which is something I’ve had experience with already with 4H. But with GHP, I think it’s going to be really interesting because it’s going to be a lot of really passionate learners and that’s an environment that I’m really excited to be in.”
Thomas will be travelling to Berry College this summer to attend the program where she will attend social studies classes and have the opportunity to meet and learn alongside other high-achieving students.