Madeira students accepted to Governor's Schools of Virginia

April 18, 2019

Congratulations to Stella Davis ‘21, Annabel Richter ‘20 and Aashna Sharma '20 who have been selected to attend the Governor’s Schools of Virginia this summer.

Annabel was selected to the Governor’s School for Humanities. Students in this program explore the humanities in the digital age through history, literature, philosophy, anthropology, political science, economics, sociology, psychology, and media.

“I’m really looking forward to participating in the rigorous curriculum offered by the Governor’s School,” said Annabel. “In particular, I’m eager to attend some of the intensive seminars and classes like Philosophy, and I’m excited to meet new people from across the state who share my interest in the humanities!”

Each year, junior students are encouraged to submit their work as their application for Madeira’s English Department nominee for the Governor’s School.  From there, the nominee must compete in a regional competition. The best regional applicants move on to the state level. English Teacher, Amy Heishman, guided Annabel through the intensive application process and was impressed by Annabel’s advanced proficiency of the subject matter.

“While many of our applicants consistently demonstrate hallmarks of a good student, it is Annabel’s love of words, her ability to weave complicated syntax in a poetic way, and her incredibly inquisitive, growth mindset that set her apart from other applicants," said Heishman. “When I think of someone who loves engaging the Humanities, Annabel immediately comes to mind.  It’s validation to me that a student like Annabel is competitive in this field, and I’m thrilled she will be representing Madeira at the 2019 Governor’s School.”

Stella Davis will attend the Governor’s School Spanish Language Academy at Washington and Lee University. The Governor’s Foreign Language Academies originated in 1986. The Spanish Academies are full-immersion experiences in using and communicating in the target language. Students promise to speak the foreign language 100 percent of the time.

“I wanted to apply to the Governor's School because I really enjoy Spanish, and I have always been fascinated by language,” said Stella. “I want to learn another language more deeply, so that I can learn about other cultures, not only from an outsider perspective, but also by interacting with people and experiencing the culture firsthand. The best way to learn a language is to be immersed in it, so by being in a non-English environment for three weeks, I will be able to drastically improve my Spanish-speaking skills.”

Spanish Teacher, Dr. Tulio Campos, was impressed with Stella’s dedication and exceptional grasp of a new language.

“Stella is a very conscientious, highly motivated student with the ability to engage in rigorous academic work. Very rarely is a student at Madeira accepted into an AP Language class as a sophomore, but Stella fulfilled the profile of a highly talented language learner with a strong cultural sensitivity," said Dr. Campos. “The fact that she was able to build her proficiency to this extent without an immersive experience abroad is remarkable and attests to her work ethic and determination.”

Aashna will attend the Governor's School in Mathematics, Science, and Technology. She has excelled in her math classes at Madeira and will bring that experience to her session at The University of Lynchburg this summer.

"I first met Aashna when she was enrolled in my Trig-2 class — a class normally taken by Juniors — when she was a Freshmen, said Math Teacher, Glen Russell. "Whenever we cover a new topic, including very abstract ones such as vectors or parametric equations, Aashna is very quick to ask, “What if…” type questions, which not only demonstrate a high degree of understanding, but also naturally helps the flow of the lesson into the next topic." 

Aashna says she is looking forward to the field research and math and science labs.

"I really wanted to go to Governor’s School to advance my knowledge and fully understand the scope of the high level math I’ve been learning in my Linear Algebra class, said Aashna. "I am really looking forward to meeting many professors and professionals in the STEM field."

The Virginia Governor's School Program began in 1973 when Governor Linwood Holton established the first summer residential programs for 400 gifted students from across the commonwealth. From its beginnings, with three summer schools in 1973, the program has expanded to more than 40 sites throughout the commonwealth.

Congratulations Stella, Annabel, and Aashna!