How far would you travel for a transformative education? For Gaele Henry, the answer was a long way: 1,486 miles—the distance between her home in Immokalee, Florida, and The Governor’s Academy. “It was the pure desire to do something different for myself,” she explains. And so at age 14, she set off and left her small town, a journey that took courage. As eager as she was for the change, however, there were challenges. “I had culture shock when I first moved here,” she remembers. “I met all these people—students and faculty—and I thought, ‘Wow, I don’t think I have that much in common with them.’
“Living together at school, though, I found out that we actually had a great deal in common. I have developed friendships with schoolmates from Asia, South Africa, Germany, and Mexico. If I hadn’t come to Gov’s, I never would have had the opportunity to learn with and from them.” It’s also a different dynamic for her living side-by-side with the faculty. “You see them outside class and really get to know them and their families. I’d never imagined anything like this before, and it’s one of the things I love most about Gov’s.”
Along with building new relationships, the Academy’s supportive environment has allowed Henry to try new things. “I really challenged myself and took AP World History as a sophomore,” she says, “and I’ve loved playing sports here, particularly basketball. But I also took a chance and tried out drama. It was an amazing learning experience for me; I’ll definitely do something like that again.” Gaele’s experiences wouldn’t be possible without support from The Governor’s Fund. It is the one campaign objective that offers the most immediate and tangible benefit for all Gov’s students. Gaele’s Gov’s experience would simply not be the same without it.