Local Governor's Scholars enjoy time at Centre College

July 26, 2004|EMILY TOADVINE

From building kites out of plastic bags and sticks to hearing Supreme Court cases, participants in the Governor's Scholars program at Centre College have explored opportunities to learn.

Stephan Crown-Weber of Danville High School, and Sean Lair and Brittany Camenisch, both Lincoln County High School students, are among the 352 students in the five-week program at Centre.

Of the many things they have done, all three lean toward film studies as their favorite part of the day.

Crown-Weber liked Hitchcock's "Rear Window" for the suspense.

Each student has a major and minor, and most of Crown-Weber's studies have been devoted to Russian language and culture. He did not get his first choice of study - architecture. He has made discoveries about himself through his philosophy minor, where some of the discussions have centered around the ethics of cloning humans.

"I've discovered I'm a consequentialist," he said as he finished a glass of milk and dessert in the Cowan dining room. He explained his categorization as "someone who does what they think is right based on what the outcome is going to be."


Adjusting to dorm life has been one of his biggest challenges.

"I'm not used to trying to go to sleep and having lots of other people playing music," he says.

He tries to prepare for this situation.

"I go jog so I'll be tired enough at the end of the day that it doesn't matter how loud the music is - I'll fall asleep.

With the program being held in his hometown, Crown-Weber says he has bumped into people he knows. His philosophy class even met at his mother's restaurant, Two Roads Cafe. Yet Crown-Weber says being in the program lends a different air to his familiar haunts.

"I feel like I'm almost in a different place."

Being with Governor's Scholars is old hat for Lair. His singing ability landed him a spot in the Governor's School for the Arts last summer.

"GSA was a real artsy crowd and here it's more academic. It's all what you prefer," says Lair, who participates in his high school's musical productions.

With the film series, Lair liked all the Hitchcock movies, but particularly liked "Strangers on a Train."

"I'm looking forward to 'Rambo III,'" he says.

This action movie fits in with Lair's studies. In his political and legal issues major, he was assigned the second Constitutional Amendment about the right to bear arms and how it applies to modern life. They have talked about militias and watched the movie "Bowling for Columbine."

The program offers many opportunities to volunteer and Lair says his group was in charge of hosting a day camp in Lexington for refugees from Liberia.

Crown-Weber, who is a member of the environmental club Roots and Shoots at his high school, has been active in promoting recycling. He also has worked at the Salvation Army.

Camenisch also is studying political and legal issues. She has been assigned a Supreme Court case to review and got to see a real court in action when her group traveled to Lexington for a Court of Appeals hearing.

"It usually meets in Cincinnati, but they met in Lexington that day."

Like the guys, she has become a movie buff, but she preferred "Breakfast at Tiffany's," with Audrey Hepburn, to the Hitchcock fare.

One of her favorite aspects of the program is the wide variety of clubs from a massage club to a random acts of kindness club.

"If you have an idea, a favorite game to play, you can pretty much start a club," she says.

She also likes the time outside the classroom to share ideas. She has enjoyed talking about religion with other scholars.

"My roommate is Catholic and I'm Presbyterian and the girl across the hall is Hindu, so we talk about religion."

Despite their long stays away from home, none of the three said they were homesick. They're away from home a lot during the summer.

Crown-Weber spent a month as an exchange student in Belgium last summer. Camenisch barely had time to unpack from an Odyssey of the Mind trip to New York before the program began. She'll experience the same rushed feeling when she leaves the scholars. Lincoln County schools start Aug. 2.

"I'll have one day of freedom. I'll probably wash my clothes or something."

One of the exciting aspects for faculty member Duk Lee, a math professor at Asbury College, is that the students are not worried about grades.

"There are no tests involved or grading," he says. "In that kind of freedom, we can still learn."

He also likes the blending of ideas of the 350 scholars.

"They're learning to respect one another, though they're very different from each other."

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