The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

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February 5, 2009

Alumni: Closing of Governor's Schools costly for students

Without the Governor's Schools of Excellence, Danville native Andy Mahoney believes his life would have taken a different path.

"If I never would have had the opportunity, I never could have made the impact on the world that I made today," Mahoney said.

Mahoney was reacting to news that Gov. Edward G. Rendell is considering eliminating the Governor's School of Excellence to save the state $3.2 million.

Sponsored by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Department of Education, the Pennsylvania Governor's Schools of Excellence are highly competitive, five-week-long summer residential programs on college campuses geared toward artistically or academically talented high school students, including the gifted.

Eighteen Valley students participated in the program last year.

The eight Governor's Schools and their host campuses are arts, Mercyhurst College, Erie; sciences, Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh; international studies, University of Pittsburgh; agricultural sciences, Pennsylvania State University, State College; teaching, Millersville University, Lancaster; health care, University of Pittsburgh; information, society and technology, Drexel University, Philadelphia; and global entrepreneurship, Lehigh University, Bethlehem.

A 1979 graduate of Danville High School, Mahoney attended the Governor's School for the Arts in 1977 at Bucknell University.

It was an experience, he said, that shaped the way he looked at the world for the rest of his life.

"The experience I had at the governor's school was the foundation for all of the achievements I have currently in my life," Mahoney said. "It gives you a process where you can affiliate with others of like-minded uniqueness and ability, For me, it was the first time in my life I was able to be in a ... group of peers that I could affiliate with that could help me accept who I was."

The experience led Mahoney to become a professional counselor, a marriage and family therapist and the director of The Counseling and Consultation Practice of Andrew S. Mahoney, a counseling center for the gifted and talented in Pittsburgh. He also maintains a consulting practice in Chicago and is a professional pastel artist.

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