Alex Soojung-Kim Pang, Ph.D.

I study people, technology, and the worlds they make

Governor’s School

When I was in high school, I was lucky enough to go to a summer camp called the Governor’s School for the Gifted. It was a wonderful, intense experience: several hundred of the smartest students in Virginia, all thrown together in one place. The one problem with it was that you had to wear name badges all the time, and stay on campus all the time. The only exception to the latter rule was Sunday afternoons.

One Sunday several of us went to the local Pizza Hut for dinner. We were seated beside two elderly ladies, who kept looking at our name badges. Finally, one of them leaned over and asked what the badges were.

We explained that we were in a program called the Governor’s School for the Gifted, and that it was a summer program at the local college.

They smiled, nodded, and went back to their pizza.

As we were leaving, I heard one of them lean over to the other and say, “I think it’s SO nice what the state does for these retarded children these days.”

1 Comment

  1. Hi! I found you because I was googling “Virginia Governor’s School for the Gifted” to try to find some old friends. I was at Mary Washington summer of 1975 and had a similar experience with those ever-present name tags! A dear checker at a grocery store was so excited and wanted to know how she could get her “retarded” boy into the program. I’m happy to say that not one of us smiled or corrected her misunderstanding; as crazy as we were acting I doubt we could have convinced her anyway 😉

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