Skip to content

Episode 58: Life-Changing Experience for Students in Governor’s Honors Academy

It was created to provide Utah high school students an opportunity to learn, lead and interact with some of the most successful leaders in business, technology, humanities, education and more. We are talking about the Governor’s Honors Academy at Southern Utah University. In this episode of the Supercast, we hear from two Jordan School District students selected to attend the prestigious academy. Find out how it changed their lives, giving them confidence and a head start on the road to higher education with a four-year scholarship.


Audio Transcription

Superintendent Godfrey:
Hello and welcome to the Supercast. I'm your host, Superintendent Anthony Godfrey. Today we meet two Jordan School District seniors who say their lives were changed by participating in the Governor's Honors Academy at Southern Utah University. The Academy was created to provide Utah high school students an opportunity to learn, lead, and interact with some of the most successful leaders in business technology, humanities, education, and more. Megan Dean, a senior at Copper Hills High and Addison Smith, a senior at Bingham High. We're both selected to attend the prestigious Academy, find out how it changed their lives, giving them confidence and a head start on the road to higher education with a four year scholarship. First, we visit Megan in her Peer Tutoring Class at Copper Hills High, where she is doing something. She loves working to support students who have special needs.

Megan:
Let's read this again, "Wear sunscreen when you're out in the sun." Wipe it on your skin and get that protection from burning, right.

Superintendent Godfrey:
We're here with Megan in her natural habitat, Copper Hills High School. Megan, you are the president of CH Pals. Tell us a little bit about that.

Megan:
So CH Pals is the club where we take the students with severe disabilities and we involve them into mainstream student life. We hold socials for them. We take them to a bunch of school events like football games, basketball games.

Superintendent Godfrey:
Okay. Tell me a little bit about the Governor's Honors Academy. I think a lot of people haven't heard of it, and what's involved.

Megan:
So, this is a program that teaches high school students, their junior and senior year about leadership, communication, goals, and just about our futures. It was a really, really awesome week. We took classes from multiple people. CEOs, multimillionaires, people who taught us about leadership and how to be successful and goals and visions.

Superintendent Godfrey:
Megan, who were some of the people that you heard from that really stood out, that were particularly impactful for you?

Megan:
Some of my favorite speakers were Stuart Jones, Derek Anderson, David Litchford. I liked the Morley brothers too. There were a lot of other speakers, but I think those are the people that stuck out to me the most.

(03:08):
What are some of the things that you learned from them?

(03:11):
Stuart Jones talks about "What's your, why?" Which is, basically, what's your purpose in doing what you're doing? Another one of my favorite speakers was Stewart Jones and he also talked about "What's your why, what's your purpose?" And one of the activities he did was one of the most impactful things at GHA for me. It was an activity called Standing Up for your Brothers and Sisters of GHA. He gave us a paper with lists of different struggles that we go through and we filled them out and we did it anonymously. And then we crumbled up the paper and put it in a bag and we got somebody else's. And so he would, one at a time, read the struggles and then we would stand up for this person. And it was a good reminder, just that like nobody was never alone in the struggles we went through and that we were there for each other and it was one of my favorite activities.

Superintendent Godfrey:
When you heard from all of these successful people, what about their messages surprised you?

Megan:
I think one of the things that surprised me the most was that I don't know, in my mind, I always just kinda thought successful people just kind of had it all. But I found that some people came from nothing and I know that's a thing. But to see it right in front of my face was really cool. One of the speakers dropped out of middle school, I want to say and worked. And now he is a millionaire, billionaire or something like that because he found success in different areas. There is another man, his name is David Litchford. He has his entire life grown up being bullied and he struggled, but now he's very successful and he's a really good motivational speaker. And I think it was cool to see just these people come from not that much and to have strength. It's something really powerful to say. I thought that was cool.

Superintendent Godfrey:
Yes. It's something you hear about. It's in the media, it's in the movie, but to really meet someone who has gone from having some really serious struggles and not having very much to being extremely successful, I would think is very inspiring.

Megan:
It was for sure. It kind of taught me that if I just work hard and devote to what I want to do, it just really taught me that I can be successful where I want to be, if I work hard with it.

Superintendent Godfrey:
And some of that success, which they emphasized is connecting with others and supporting others around you.

Megan:
Yeah. They, I think they really emphasize and really made it clear that all of their success came from others. You can't ever do anything on your own. You're always going to run into roadblocks and you're always going to have struggles and to get through them, you need others and you need the support to just balance.

Superintendent Godfrey:
And as part of the Governor's Honors Academy, you receive a scholarship. Is that correct?

Megan:
Yes. I received a four year full tuition scholarship for attending that Academy. So that's fabulous.

Superintendent Godfrey:
Megan, I have no doubt you're going to be a strong leader as part of this. I know you contacted me before the Academy, part of the job was to contact sponsors. You did a great job communicating and I even got a thank you card and a nice picture from you. And I can just tell that you're a great young woman with a wonderful future. So thanks for spending time with me and congratulations on your success with the Honors Academy.

Megan:
Thank you so much.

Superintendent Godfrey:
Stay with us when we come back more on the Governor's Honors Academy and how students can work to be a part of the prestigious leadership program.

Stacee Worthen:
Hello, I'm Stacee Worthen, Secondary Counseling Specialist for Jordan School District. Do you know all the ways during school that District Counselors can help you and your students? School counselors play such an important role in our schools. They provide parents with resources to help guide their children in academics. They provide support with the mental and social well-being of students in our school. And if you were in the process of preparing a student for college or just beginning the conversation of higher education, now is the perfect time to reach out to your child's counselor. We can assist with college applications and college readiness. I encourage parents and guardians to schedule an appointment and get to know your students counselor. Together, counselors and parents can help develop plans and strategies for students to succeed, long after they leave Jordan School District. Reach out. We're always here to help. You can find us and learn more at counseling.jordandistrict.org.

Superintendent Godfrey:
We're here with Addison Smith to talk about her experience at the Governor's Honors Academy. Addison, thanks for joining me.

Addison:
Thank you for having me.

Superintendent Godfrey:
First of all, how did you hear about this? I think a lot of people don't know that it exists.

Addison:
I heard about this from my neighbor, who works as a school counselor and he knows my grades and everything. He has kept up scholarship-wise for me and suggested that I apply.

Superintendent Godfrey:
So your grades are good, I gather.

Addison:
I do my best to keep them up.

Superintendent Godfrey:
I'm sure you do. You're a student at Bingham High School. Are you a senior this year?

Addison:
Yes, I'm a senior this year.

Superintendent Godfrey:
So, you heard about this from your neighbor who's a school counselor. You applied and were awarded the opportunity to attend. I know that as a part of this, you were supposed to call and ask local businesses to sponsor you. Is that a little frightening to make phone calls like that?

Addison:
It is honestly terrifying, but it was so nice to be able to go out and actually do it. It taught me a lot about courage and being willing to talk to people.

Superintendent Godfrey:
Old people, like me, do talk about the fact that people talk on the phone less these days, and it becomes more and more difficult if you haven't done it before. We all have difficulty picking up the phone and calling strangers, particularly if we're asking for a donation. I'm very impressed. And, by the way, you did a great job talking with me about that. So I have no doubt that you did a great job there at the Governor's Honors Academy as well. But tell me, you applied, you got in, you raised the money to be a part of that. Tell me about what your experience was like.

Addison:
Overall, the experience was just mind boggling. I had no idea what I was walking into. I learned so much. They taught me things that I would normally not even think of, that are important. That is super important how we interact with everybody else and just the way we present ourselves.

Superintendent Godfrey:
What's one way that you learned to do a better job of presenting yourself.

Addison:
Just showing that you're more confident, believe in yourself, dressing the part. If you are going to a meeting or anything, dress more like you are professional and just be who you are essentially. You want them to see be who you are.

Superintendent Godfrey:
Putting your best foot forward is a great skill. And it sounds like you had some wonderful examples of how to do that. What were some of the speakers that you heard from?

Addison:
Probably favorite speaker was Garrett Gunderson. He taught a lot about how you need to have a vision for your life and what it's going to affect after you're done. And we also heard from like Steve and Cindy Gilbert, who are pretty well known. Steve is a ranch-hand and owns a ranch down in Southern Utah and Cindy is a well known lawyer.  And they said, don't be dependent on others, if that makes sense.

Superintendent Godfrey:
So they taught a lesson about self-reliance.

Addison:
Yes.

Superintendent Godfrey:
So you said that Mr. Gunderson talked with you about having a vision and following that vision. What vision have you developed for yourself as a result of being part of that Academy?

Addison:
I've always had the idea of wanting to make a difference and making a vision has kind of been hard to so right now. I want to start out by going through and making other people more aware of opportunities like the Governor's Honors Academy, and then also being there to show that there are more opportunities for you to help change people's lives, even if you don't realize you're doing it.

Superintendent Godfrey:
I do think a lot of people don't understand just how much of an impact they can have. Is there something that you learned from the Honors Academy that you will remember for the rest of your life?

Addison:
Yes. Perspective is everything.

Superintendent Godfrey:
What do you mean by that?

Addison:
Most of the time, you will not see everything that occurs in a situation, but if you seek to understand it, you'll be in a much better position and can do what you need to do, essentially.

Superintendent Godfrey:
So understanding that you may not have the full perspective at the situation and being willing to learn more about it will get you a lot farther down the road.

Addison:
Yeah.

Superintendent Godfrey:
I love what you've been learning at theGovernor's Honors Academy. Tell me what you learned from the other people that you got to know. I understand there's a fair amount of interaction with other attendees.

Addison:
Yes. I can't honestly can't specifically say one thing in particular. Each person taught me something different. I had people who taught me I need to get out more. I need to be myself. And I had other people give different ideas into things that I had no an idea about before.

Superintendent Godfrey:
How has this changed your life?

Addison:
It's really affected how I viewed things. Just anything that comes into my life daily, like the standard assignment given at school. I was recently given the assignment to go and make a new friend every day for a week, as part of my life skills class and finding that courage is really hard to do. But with GHA, I already had that experience with all the other participants. And so it was a lot easier just to go up and say Hi and make a conversation.

Superintendent Godfrey:
So once you've been essentially forced to make some friends in a circumstance where you're in tight quarters and you're close together and you know you're in it together for the week, that that skill has already transferred to real life and classroom situations.

Addison:
Yeah, absolutely.

Superintendent Godfrey:
What they taught you about confidence has obviously worked and it's been awesome talking with you.

Thanks for joining us on the Supercast. Remember, education is the most important thing you will do today. We'll see you.

Show Audio Transcription
Share the Supercast!