Letters to the Editor

The Governor’s School is ‘eye-opening,’ must remain publicly funded

Regarding the May 21 news article “Alums appeal to keep state funds for summer program”: I was selected to be in the first class of the Governor’s School in Winston-Salem in 1962. It was an honor, a privilege and an eye-opening experience to be on a college campus for six weeks studying my primary area of interest and talking with my peers from across the state.

To be introduced to the best possible faculty in each subject area and to talented students in those areas was an amazing experience for me. We did not only work in our major area; we also studied and discussed philosophy and the “Great Books”. It was a whole new world for a 15-year-old boy from Burke County. It has been 50 years since then, and the Governor’s school remains an outstanding and successful program. It has broadened the views of students throughout the state.

The Governor’s School has been a model for schools throughout the country. So why do the members of the General Assembly think that such a successful program should not receive public funding ? It is a small amount of money for a large return for the future leadership in North Carolina.

C. Miller Sigmon of Counsel

The Sigmon Law Firm, P.A.

Governor’s School makes ‘world of difference’

Regarding the May 21 news article “Alums appeal to keep state funds for summer program”: I am internationally recognized musician. I have conducted professional orchestras on four continents, performed in the best halls in the world, and collaborated with musicians of the highest caliber. But there is no ensemble closer to my heart than the Governor’s School of North Carolina Orchestra.

The orchestra is representative of the Governor’s School of North Carolina’s commitment to the inclusion of forward-thinking ideas. The orchestra is one of many art forms represented in the Governor’s School, and all of them incorporate ideas and activities from other disciplines – such as mathematics, English literature and Spanish – into their performances. This interdisciplinary focus in the arts is uncommon and highly effective.

This year, the North Carolina Governor’s School Orchestra was recognized nationally by the American Prize for the performance of American music, and was awarded the Vytautas Marijosius Memorial Award for their programming. This summer’s program will include world premieres, national premieres, instrument construction, multimedia presentations, and visits from composers and musicians from the US and Europe, all of which will provide students opportunities they would experience nowhere else.

The Governor’s School not only changes the lives of students, but also those of the guests who come through the campus and interact with the students. Composers from around the world have come to impart their knowledge to students and work with the orchestra because they are impressed by such an uncommonly high level of talent and dedication.

Many of these students would have no comparable opportunity if this dynamic institution loses state funding. Please, do not defund this institution, but increase its funding instead; it could keep making a world of difference, at an international level.

Orlando Cela

Music Director and Conductor, Governor’s School of North Carolina

‘Outrage’ at Governor’s School cuts

Regarding the May 21 news article “Alums appeal to keep state funds for summer program”: The state legislature’s recent proposal to eliminate public funding for the North Carolina Governor’s School, a summer program for gifted high school students, has incited outrage from generations of alumni. I attended the program in the summer of 2014, and like thousands of other alumni, I believe my experience to be an invaluable one that continues to shape the way I see the world.

As an English student, the literature and creative writing classes at the Governor’s School empowered me to deepen my understanding of the power of storytelling. I learned that telling my story could be a tool for change, that listening to the story of another person could act as a catalyst for empathy, and that the ways people craft stories have real consequences.

In a political climate increasingly marked by division and misunderstanding, I believe that young people must be equipped to tell their own stories with boldness and listen to the stories of others with compassion. The Governor’s School is a forum through which these lessons have been taught for decades, and I implore the legislature to reconsider its proposal to defund such a unique and important program.

Kirby Jones


Governor’s school a ‘state treasure’

Regarding the May 21 news article “Alums appeal to keep state funds for summer program”: After earning a doctorate in history and teaching for several years, I got the opportunity to teach social science at the Governor’s School of North Carolina. I have attended excellent schools and earned two Ivy League degrees, but it is not an exaggeration to say that my summers with the Governor’s School were some of the most rewarding and engaging learning experiences I have ever had.

I was deeply impressed by the community of scholarship and wide-ranging exploration of cutting-edge research and theories across all disciplines. I have taught at high schools and summer programs in four different states, and my work has made me conversant with the educational offerings at some of the best schools in the country. I would say that there is no finer school with the power to re-ignite a love of learning than the Governor’s School.

The Governor’s School is a lifeline that deserves to be supported and cherished by North Carolina . Especially in a year when the state has a $580 million revenue surplus, the legislature should not be cutting such valuable programs. Awareness must be raised about the threat to this state treasure.

J. Michael McElreath