By Jessica Chen '20 and Joseph Zakielarz '20
For high-school juniors like ourselves, the thought of going off to college is closer than we’d like to believe. Harder classes, all-new people, and not to mention the loads of free time—how are we supposed to adjust? Well, luckily for us, we were fortunate enough to have Tower Hill send us to the Delaware Governor’s School for Excellence, a one-week summer program in which rising juniors live on campus. Students are selected to participate in the Gov School through their schools via a competitive application process and attend either the academic program or the visual/performing arts program. The Governor's School provided a perfect opportunity to dive deeper into areas of our interest, learn how to survive on a few hours of sleep, and remind us to please remember to bring our own mattresses to college.
Embodying Tower Hill’s motto, Multa Bene Facta, we took different courses during our stay. The visual and performing arts provided tutorial instruction with awesome, noted artists and culminated in a performance on the final day. The academic pathway consisted of discussions, lectures, and debates, all over UD’s campus revolving around a multitude of topics. Here’s a synopsis of our different experiences at Gov School, one from a musician’s standpoint and one from an academic’s.
Jessica Chen ‘20
Hello! My name’s Jess and this is my third year at Tower Hill. At Gov School, I followed the performing arts pathway and spent my week working on my musicianship as a whole, practicing new pieces and improving my ability to play the flute. When applying for this program, I received a ton of support from many of the Tower Hill faculty members, for which I am extremely grateful. In my humble opinion, music is something that should be shared constantly in many different shapes and forms, and this was the perfect place for that to happen. I had the honor of working with an amazing flautist, Ms. Eileen Grycky, and three other flautists from all over Delaware. I won’t lie—I definitely felt the effects of the late nights and early mornings after Gov School had finished. I would jolt awake at 6 o'clock in the morning, sure that I would miss breakfast and spend the entire day with the odd feeling that I was missing some sort of class that I forgot about. But looking back, it was well worth it. Outside of the realm of the music building, there was also a lot of time to make new friends (many of whom I still talk to!) and have fun outdoors, playing volleyball, running around campus or just relaxing on the benches. This whole experience definitely gave me a taste of what it’s like to attend college, be responsible for myself and study something I’m passionate about.
Joseph Zakielarz ‘20
Some would say I was chomping at the bit to attend the Gov School academics… and they’re totally right. My name’s Joe, and I was thrilled to be the face of Tower Hill at UD. In academics, we received a unique glimpse into how college classes will feel when we’re adults. Each day focused on a new topic, with examples including but not limited to: studying economics, running mock elections in political science (which my team easily won), analyzing films and everything in between. We were fortunate enough to have UD’s top professors lead us in interactive lessons that left us excited to take college courses. For example, in English, we started off class learning about an 18th-century jail called the Panopticon, and we wound up ending class arguing the ethics of quartering a man for failed regicide. Though summer school gets a bad wrap, Gov School academics is a once-in-a-lifetime experience that I will carry with me for the rest of my life, and I am thankful for the opportunity to have such great memories to look back on.
Balancing out all of the work we did during the day, the best part of Gov School was the nightly team building and friendship-making. Our first night, we broke into “quads” (one letter short for “squads”) of around 10 people each, and these quads competed against each other to gain inalienable bragging rights and a “secret prize,” later revealed to be a UD sippy cup. The largest competition was the weeklong scavenger hunt. Others included a relay race, a paint-your-RA-as-a-zombie contest and a war waged with the mere weaponry of pipe cleaners, a piece of paper and a brown paper bag, which tested our resourcefulness in times of stress (Jess: The winner? It was Joe’s group… of COURSE). All in all, everyone had a blast having fun and making memories to last a lifetime.