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Wayne County students benefit from Governor's Scholar program

William Beckley

Board of Education meeting

WCHS Senior and 2021 Governor's Scholar William Beckley shared highlights from his summer academic experience.

Board of Education meeting

Wayne County Board of Education Chairman Larry Muse congratulated Beckley for his completion of the prestigious Governor Scholar's Program.

Photos from GSP

all the boys from William Beckley's hall during their evening hall meeting

All the boys from William Beckley's hall during their evening hall meeting

William Beckley and a few of his classmates at the end of the final banquetWilliam Beckley and a few of his classmates at the end of the final banquet 

William Beckley and his roommates at the final banquet

William Beckley and his roommates at the final banquet

           Wayne County High School students like William Beckley continue to build on their dreams by focusing on their local pathway of courses which include advanced placement, dual credit college, Project Lead the Way, coupled with acceptance to academic geared opportunities like the Governor Scholar’s Program.

            Beckley, the son of Donald and Ashley Beckley, is a senior at Wayne County High School with a 4.0 grade point average. His transcript of completed courses in the Science/Medical field from both the high school and Area Technology School (ATC) read like a Who’s Who list of a very well-directed and positive future for a 17-year-old. Beckley has taken advantage of every possible avenue both volunteering and enrolling in a wealth of health field opportunities. His plan is to become a registered nurse and perhaps specialize in an area after graduating with a bachelor’s degree.

            Beckley volunteered at the Lake Cumberland Regional Hospital during his sophomore year and enjoyed being able to help people through the Health Explorers youth program designed for students interested in the medical field. He has helped assist families who have someone in surgery or pre-op, to passing out newspapers on all the floors. Before Covid, he even gaining quite a bit of exposure to ICU care.

            “That is why I liked it….I got to see everything that was going on,” noted Beckley.

             He has completed the three-year biomedical pathway at the high school which will give him a leg up on future rigorous courses at the college level. Science is his strongest subject so he gained college credit by having successfully completed AP Environmental Science and AP Biology. This school year he is working to complete his certified Medicaid nurse aide training at the ATC, after previously passing vocational courses like Medical Terminology and Emergency Procedures where he became CPR certified.

        Beckley’s high school experience has been marked by the pandemic, when he studied virtually part of the time. However, the academics he has enjoyed overall have been positive. He has worked hard to pick the classes that would most benefit his goals. “There are definitely opportunities here,” he said.

        During the pandemic, he has also worked part time at Wal-Mart.   

        “I’ve got a pretty good background,” said Beckley, when looking at all his learning opportunities. He is also an active member of HOSA offered through the ATC.

         This year he hopes to gain even more practical experience interning at the nursing home. He will gain 16 hours’ worth of clinicals, held in class at the ATC or at the nursing home (depending on COVID).  “That should really prepare me.”

          Perhaps one of Beckley’s favorite educational perks has been attending the Governor Scholar’s program at Morehead State University. He arrived on the campus June 26th and left on July 30th after an intensive five-week college-like experience.  Beckley’s focus area was Psychology and Behavioral Studies. Another favorite class that was new to him was Philosophy. “It was good to get the extra exposure and learn in a different way. I definitely got a lot out of it,” he said.

         He said the biggest benefit to being a Governor Scholar was having the chance to interact with people from all over Kentucky with different backgrounds. Being open minded and accepting of others was a lesson that came easy to the 350 students attending the program at Morehead. “That’s the point of the program,” he explained. “To feel that sense of community. It was good to learn how to thrive in a community with diverse people.”

          It was also a good college simulation. Beckley said everybody there were new to him. “It was a good experience to have before going off to college because it helped me prepare for it.”

          Fortunately, the program was back to the five-week session. The previous year, students only attended for one-week because of COVID. He said they were able to gather this past summer because they had achieved herd immunity through vaccinations. They were able to live in the dorms and become a community, however the usual field trips and community involvement were eliminated. “But, it was pretty close to the whole experience,” Beckley believed.

         The two most memorable speakers that came to them were Governor Andy Beshear and Tori Murden McClure, Spalding University president. Governor Beshear told the students that he had been a Governor Scholar and shared the benefits it had given him. He told the scholars to take advantage of the experience. He gave them advice on what comes after Governors Scholar – “keep going in a scholarly way and continue to push yourself,” he said. Athlete and college administrator Tori Murden McClure shared her past experience with the students too. She talked about perseverance as the first woman and first American to row solo across the Atlantic Ocean, which she accomplished in 1999.  She was also the first woman and first American to ski to the geographic South Pole and the first woman to climb the Lewis Nunatak in the Antarctic.

         Beckley highly endorsed the entire experience. “If you’re a junior, I highly recommend you apply for this program.”

         Beckley is now starting to make plans for college. He is leaning towards attending Eastern Kentucky University where he is likely to receive a full tuition scholarship based on his Governor Scholar participation, GPA and ACT score.    

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