Starting this fall, there is a new academic program at BMC. Dr. McMillan and the Honors Council decided over the summer to expand the honors program from just a few classes to a full curriculum.
The application process was rigorous – students had to submit their ACT scores, resumés, and transcripts, as well as a portfolio. Those selected for the interview part of the process went through several different interviews, from individual to “fishbowl” interviews where they drew questions out of a fishbowl.
Mariah Bullard, one of the honors students, said the interviews were “nerve-wracking,” especially because they had no idea what kind of questions to expect in the fishbowl. For example, the one she had to answer was “If you were asked to address a board of donors, how would you stress to them the importance of Blue Mountain?”
After this first year, the students will take the usual classes, the only difference being that they will have extra projects above and beyond the normal classwork. However, for the first year, they are taking an honors class that teaches them specific life skills. They spend three hours every week learning and applying skills such as creative thinking, leadership, and teamwork. In addition, they are learning in-depth about the correct methods of research and documentation, which will help them when they write their senior papers.
The goal of the program is to prepare students for graduate school and careers. After four years of both academic and extracurricular work at Blue Mountain, they will be ready for the next step.
But the honors program is more than just a classroom experience. It also gives the students opportunities outside the classroom to see how what they learned works in the real world. Throughout the school year, they will be taking a variety of field trips, including a trip to Rowan Oak, the home and writing place of local celebrity William Faulkner. Dr. Brooks, chairman of the Honors Council, said they also plan to attend a political speaking, a play in Oxford, and the State Honors College on the Gulf Coast in February.