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GHP finalists 'pumped' about summer
SEHS rising seniors take part in annual program at Valdosta State
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South Effingham High Schools Hannah Osborne, left, and Cathy Tseng will head to Valdosta State University next weekend for the prestigious Governors Honors Program. - photo by Photo by Paul Floeckher

Two South Effingham High School rising seniors will spend a month of their summer studying and learning in a college environment.

Hannah Osborne and Cathy Tseng will participate in Georgia’s prestigious Governor’s Honors Program, on the campus of Valdosta State University. Osborne’s primary course of study will be communicative arts, while Tseng was chosen for GHP in visual arts.

“I am pumped,” Tseng said.

Nearly 3,000 rising juniors and seniors from across the state were nominated this year for the competitive program. Osborne and Tseng were the only two from Effingham County among the 690 students selected for GHP.

“It means a lot,” Osborne said. “It’s a cool thing being nominated, and then it was even greater knowing that I made the final cut.”

GHP participants will arrive at VSU on June 23 to begin their four-week stay on-campus. Students will spend mornings in their major area of nomination, afternoons in another area of study of their choice, and evenings with seminars, activities, concerts and performances.

For Osborne, immersing herself in a month-long study of communicative arts will be invaluable toward her future career. She plans to go into the psychology field and possibly become a counselor.

“I’m excited that I’m going to be able to go a month this summer and just be able to focus on my area (of study) and improve upon it, so I can apply it to real life,” Osborne said.

Tseng, who is considering architecture, illustration, animation and industrial design as possible career choices, also looks forward to honing her craft. She has taken a few visual arts classes at SEHS, and she thinks GHP “will give (her) the resources and the inspiration” to develop her creativity and talent further.

“You’re not limited. You have all the resources that you need to create what you want,” she said. “It’s more of an immersive environment in which you can choose to do anything, and your instructor wholeheartedly says, ‘Do it if that’s what you feel.’”

Osborne was nominated for GHP by her Advanced Placement English teacher, Tina Crapse, and Tseng was nominated by art teacher Mary Wilson. Along with the panel interviews of each nominee, Osborne was required to write an analytical essay under a 45-minute deadline, and Tseng submitted a portfolio of her artwork.

To Tseng, though, the most important step of the process was the first one — filling out the application, because, she said, “I had to convey what made me love art.”

“Passion is first and foremost what gets you into GHP,” she said. “You could be great, but you could be completely apathetic about your subject matter.”

Tseng’s passion for art began at a young age. She began drawing when she was 4 years old, as an activity with her grandfather.

“To occupy my time, my grandpa would sit me down and usually draw with me,” she said. “That’s how I fell in love with art.”

Governor’s Honors is fully funded by the Georgia General Assembly, so students attend at no cost. This summer marks the 50th year for GHP, making it the longest continually-running program of its kind in the nation.

Neither Tseng nor Osborne has been apart from their families for an entire month before, so they both anticipate having some homesickness during the first days of GHP. However, they plan to rely on the friendship they have with each other and cherish the new ones they will make.

“From what I’ve heard, it’s a very friendly environment,” Osborne said. “It’s kind of competitive, but that’s to help push us forward, so I’m excited.”