Roanoke Valley Governor's School celebrates 30 years

Vanessa Lin is studying flies at the Roanoke Valley Governor's School. (Copyright by WSLS - All rights reserved)

ROANOKE (WSLS 10) -  This school year marks a big anniversary for a local school with some of the brightest young minds in southwest Virginia.

"We're looking at how lactose bacillus affects seizure activity," said Vanessa Lin who is studying flies. "We're going to induce seizures into the flies and record their movements and compare that to a normal fly."

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"I think often times in regular high schools the gifted students sometimes don't have the opportunities that they could have and by bringing them together in one place there's a huge synergy of these kids working together," said Dr John Kowalski, the Roanoke Valley Governor's School Director who has been there for 29 of the 30 years it's been open.

Together, 270 students from seven school districts study science and math at the Roanoke Valley Governor's School.

"Economically it works well to concentrate the kind of resources we have in one place that all the school districts can take advantage of," said Dr. Kowalski. "I think what we've seen over the years as we have become better known there are more applicants."

In the last 30 years the number of students attending has nearly doubled but the curriculum has largely remained the same.

"All the people here are like me. At my homeschool, I love my homeschool but it's a different environment," said Lin.

Surrounded by similar students it's pushed them to challenge each other and it's paying off.

"96% of our students who apply to the university of Virginia last year were accepted 100% of the students who applied to Virginia Tech went accepted. We have students going to MIT, several to duke, several of the University of North Carolina," said Dr. Kowalski.

Over the next five years Dr. Kowalski doesn't see any major changes but he says in the coming decades it would be good to expand adding more research labs and students.

About the Author

You can see Jenna weekday mornings at the anchor desk on WSLS 10 Today from 5-7 a.m. She also leads our monthly Solutionaries Series, where we highlight the creative thinkers and doers working to make the world a better place.

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