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Pictured are several North Alabama students, including two from RHS, who recently attended the Alabama Governor’s School at Samford University. Front row (L to R): Anna Catherine Smith, Rebekah Whitehurst, Kimberlyn Snoddy, Abby Sims, Shelby Niedergeses and Madison Thompson; Back row (L to R): Cameron Ridgeway, Ryan Truitt, Jonah Walton and Will Hankins.
Pictured are several North Alabama students, including two from RHS, who recently attended the Alabama Governor’s School at Samford University. Front row (L to R): Anna Catherine Smith, Rebekah Whitehurst, Kimberlyn Snoddy, Abby Sims, Shelby Niedergeses and Madison Thompson; Back row (L to R): Cameron Ridgeway, Ryan Truitt, Jonah Walton and Will Hankins.

Archived Story

RHS students attend governor’s school

Published 4:15pm Tuesday, July 8, 2014

By Matt Wilson

For the FCT

Anna Catherine Smith and Madison Thompson, incoming seniors at Russellville High School, recently participated in the Alabama Governor’s School at Samford University June 16-28.

Smith and Thompson were two of 91 participants in the 26th annual AGS representing 53 schools and 29 counties according to Samford University’s website.

Smith said the two-week experience gave her a new perspective on students across the state.

“They kept referring to us as the best and the brightest and I began to see that when I was there,” Smith said.

“I enjoyed being exposed to other points of view and bonding with these other students from across the state.”

Thompson said the bonding and the discussions are two of the experiences that she will never forget.

“Everybody clicked when we got there,” Thompson said.

“It helped me gain a perspective on college life and what I would be comfortable with as far as where to attend college.”

“I really enjoyed being exposed to people of different cultural and religious backgrounds,” Smith added.

“That is something you might not expect coming from students in the state of Alabama, but we were all like-minded and got along.”

“We had a long political discussion one day, but no one had their toes stepped on,” Thompson said.

Over the two week school, students were able to choose two classes out of 16 course topics for morning and afternoon sessions.

“They brought in experts on the different course areas,” Smith said.

“I chose an art class and a Greek literature class. We had one particularly interesting discussion among our diverse group of students about a story where a mother kills her two children and what we thought the punishment should be. It was enlightening.”

Thompson said she chose one of her classes because of an interest she wanted to explore.

“I chose a couple of film classes,” Thompson said.

“One was a production class where we produced a 20-minute film and the other was on symbolism in film.

“I have always had an interest in working for Disney and one of our classes brought in a guy who had actually worked for Disney before so that was great for me.”

Students involved with the Alabama Governor’s School also participated in a service project including visiting a recreation center and picking up litter in portions of Woodlawn, a small community just outside of Birmingham.

Both Thompson and Smith turned 17 during their time at the AGS and said it was a great experience because of the connections they made.

“People would go to Target and get random gifts for you,” Smith said.

“My birthday was only a few days after we got there so I hadn’t made as many friends yet, but they still knew it meant a lot and got me gifts.”

Moving forward Thompson and Smith said they hope they can remain as inspired as they felt when they left the program.

“Everyone was inspiring and talented and you could just see how everyone there was going to become something important,” Thompson said.

“I wanted to just take a little bit of each person I met—we were like a moving force,” Smith said.

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