“Since the administration of Dr. Joseph B. Johnson, the High Ability Program has been around,” said Veterine Simpson, director of Retention and the High Ability Program. Simpson has been the program’s director for three years.
The High Ability Program at GSU is enrichment for high school juniors (rising seniors) who have exemplified outstanding academic standards throughout their high school years. These students are offered college credit. The program, which began June 21, continues through July 23, 2008. For approximately five weeks, seniors from all over (California, Alaska, Georgia, and Tennessee) attend the High Ability Program. Each year the number of students who attend varies. Last year there were 85 students and this year there are 50 students.
The eligibility requirements are high school juniors (rising seniors) with the minimum of a 3.0 GPA on a 4.0 scale. The students can also receive a scholarship to attend the program. Full scholarships are awarded to students with a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.3 or above based on a 4.0 scale. Partial scholarships are awarded to students with a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0-3.29 based on a 4.0 scale. Partial scholarships cover tuition only. The cost for housing and board is $564.
While attending this program the students will receive seven college credits. They receive three credits in English, three credits in mathematics, and one credit for First Year Experience. The students also attend a vocal music program that is mandatory for everyone. The students stay on campus at Jewett Hall and Truth Hall.
They’re also put on a rigorous schedule that has them up from 6 a.m. until 8 p.m. But it isn’t always work and no play; the group does something every weekend. Some Fridays the group has a dance and sometimes they travel.
“Last year they went to Florida, Walt Disney World,” Simpson said, “and this year they went to Moody Gardens in Galveston, Texas. Also, they will be going to the University Club on Friday, for exposure, etiquette and charm.”
All of this is possible because this program is mandated by the Board of Louisiana and funded by Academic Affairs. The students pay just $500 for activity and travel. Students don’t mind talking about their experiences.
Veronica Williams from Houston said, “I really like the program, and that it’s easier than I thought and that I can receive some college credit. The one thing that I dislike about the program is not enough freedom.”
Williams attends Gibsland Coleman High School.
Andrea Zanders from Anchorage, Alaska, said, “I like the program and I’m also here to receive college credit as well. I also have a lot of fun with my peers. I dislike that there is no freedom and no personal time.” She attends Robert Service High School.
Debralyn Partee calls the program “very helpful.”
“I also like that I get to meet a lot of people and I dislike the very tight schedule and no freedom,” the student from Overton High School in Memphis, Tenn., said.
Dominique Staunton from Inglewood, Calif., said, “I like the program so far. I get to receive college credit, and possibly attend Grambling in the future. I dislike the food and early mornings, but the program is interesting.”
Staunton attends Culver City High School.
“I like the program and the experience that I’m getting,” Olaolu Ogunyemi of Ruston said. ” I also feel the program is a little unorganized, but so far, so good. The constant monitoring of the RAs is what I really dislike. The students are nice and the Resident Assistants are just doing their job.” Ogunyemi attends Simsboro High School.
The High Ability Program will have its closing program at 11 a.m. Wednesday in the Black & Gold Room of Favrot Student Union on campus.