The Governor's School of North Carolina (GS, GSNC) is a publicly funded six-week residential summer program for gifted high school students in the state of North Carolina.
Governor's School enrolls approximately 800 students each summer, half each in programs housed at Salem College in Winston-Salem (known as Governor's School West, or GSW) and at Meredith College in Raleigh (known as Governor's School East, or GSE); GSE was previously held on the campus of St. Andrews Presbyterian College in Laurinburg.
Students at Governor's School are nominated and selected for a primary course of study, an Area I class in which they will spend most of their class time. All students are rising seniors in high school, though students from the artistic areas may be rising juniors. Area I disciplines include the following: academic areas of English, French, mathematics, natural science, social science, and Spanish; artistic areas of art, choral music, dance, drama, and instrumental music. Each course emphasizes contemporary texts, compositions, artistic expressions, issues, and ideas in their respective disciplines. All students attend two additional areas of study outside of their primary area, not to mention countless optional and required seminars and performances. Area II courses cover a variety of questions and ideas from the epistemological branch of philosophy. In Area III classes, students discuss moral and ideological issues and how they relate to both current events as well as campus life.
The program began in 1963 as an education initiative promoted by Gov. Terry Sanford with the hopes of training North Carolina's top high school students to excel so the US could compete in the Cold War. Since the fall of the Soviet Union, the curriculum of GSNC has become more liberal. This change has met with some opposition in North Carolina from conservative right-wingers, but most students who enter Governor's School with an open mind consider the program an incredible, life-changing experience which has helped to set them on a course of intellectual achievement. Those who oppose the program generalize its purpose into a slogan, "Accept Nothing; Question Everything," that the school has never adopted; the program merely urges its students to enter into every situation with an open mind and ready intellect.