One of the best experiences I had in high school was attending the Governor’s School of North Carolina in summer 1999, between my junior and senior years. Yes, I was the kind of teenager who was happy to spend the bulk of my summer in an educational program, but I was in the best company: that of 400 other really intelligent, insanely creative, and incredibly talented nerds. I attended Governor’s School East, or GSE, which at the time was held on the campus of St. Andrew’s Presbyterian College, now called St. Andrew’s University, in Laurinburg, a small town about 150 kilometers (90 miles) east of Charlotte, where I grew up. (The following year GSE moved to the campus of Meredith College in Raleigh, where it is still held.)
Laurinburg is one of those towns that most people from Charlotte speed through on U.S. Highway 74 on their way to the beach. But what happened there for six weeks in the summer of 1999 — the community that was created, the sense of discovery of both self and world, and, frankly, the fact that it was just fun — has stayed with me for the past two decades, and I suspect it always will.
So had the papers. That summer I grabbed an old red vinyl binder and filled it with pretty much every piece of paper related to my time at GSE. My family held onto that binder until 2008, when I got married, and then I’d had it ever since. I have spent much of my time recently organizing and digitizing as much as I can, both to preserve it and to lighten the load as my own family has grown and I collect things for my children’s memories. I recently digitized my entire collection of papers from GSE 1999, and I am in the process of organizing them and putting them online, just in time for the 20th anniversary of that memorable summer. (Unfortunately I did not take a photo of the binder before I disassembled it for scanning. Most of the paper went to the recycling bin.)
While I organize the bulk of the papers — which will soon all be available here — one collection is ready for public view: the five issues of the student newspaper, The Bridge, published that summer. The complete set resides here on this site as well as in a collection on Scribd, though you can also read each issue here:
- 27 June 1999 — Volume 22, Issue 1
- 3 July 1999 — Volume 22, Issue 2
- 17 July 1999 — Volume 22, Issue 3
- 24 July 1999 — Volume 22, Issue 4
- 30 July 1999 — Volume 22, Issue 5
Stay tuned over the next few weeks as I put up the rest of my collection. Get ready for some memories!