While most Thomson High School students will be working jobs or hanging out with their friends this summer, one junior will spend nine hours a day mastering physics.
Cullen Wallace was selected to participate in the 2010 Governor's Honors Program at Valdosta State University. Cullen was nominated for the program by THS science department chairwoman Ann Pereda.
"Cullen has a very good understanding of all the principles we have talked about in physics, but he needs a higher level of challenge to keep his interest peaked in the area," Ms. Pereda said. "We at the high school can offer him so much, but his intelligence and interest require more."
During the six-week residential instructional program, Cullen will study physics for approximately five hours a day.
"I find the math portion of physics interesting," Cullen said. "It's neat to start out with one thing, perform different calculations and come out with totally different answers."
In addition to physics, Cullen will study a "minor" subject -- which he has yet to select --for a couple of more hours, then explore other learning opportunities through lectures, seminars or other activities.
"He will be pushed harder and grow more during the six weeks of this program than anything we could do in one year," Ms. Pereda said.
Cullen also was nominated for the program at the school level during his sophomore year, but did not make the final cut at the state level.
"So,I was kind of leery this year," he said. "I was shocked when I made it, but it was a happy shock."
At Thomson High, Cullen also is vice-president of Future Farmers of America, president of the Key Club, business manager of the yearbook, is a member of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes and the Beta Club, plays on the school's soccer team, runs cross country and is on the newspaper staff.
He is considering attending Georgia College and State University after graduation and major in criminal justice.
The Governor's Honors Program is fully-funded by the Georgia General Assembly and operates at no cost to participants. Instructors include state college and high school teachers.