MSMS Students Debate International Politics

By Christian Donoho, News Editor for the Visionthe MSMS student newspaper

Many competitions took place late last week, among them being Latin Convention and Mock Trial. But other students spent their Thursday and Friday debating international politics at the Mississippi Model Security Council or MMSC competition at Mississippi State University. Thirty students in the club, advised by history instructor Julie Heintz, donned their most formal attire and stepped into different councils to debate resolution submitted by schools from across the state.

Ideally, the competition itself consisted of teams of two that each represented a country on the United Nation’s Security Council. This team would typically take turns researching and debating other delegates in regards to a stack of student-written resolutions. These debates were moderated by students at Mississippi State University who acted as the council’s president and vice president. Other delegations found themselves undermanned and either had to be filled with a student working on their own or with college students who worked to stimulate discussion.

  • Michelle Li and Dustin Dunaway (United Kingdom) won Outstanding Delegation
  • Connor Bluntson and Kameron Chow (Malaysia) won Best Resolution
  • Jake Bozlee and Braeden Foldenauer (Venezuela) won Outstanding Delegation
  • Tyler Hartman and Achtinya Prasad (Jordan) won Outstanding Delegation
  • Connor McNamee (Chile) won Best Resolution.
  • Angie Harri and Sydney Melton (Malaysia) won Best Resolution
  • Om Patel and Isaiah Williams (Spain) won Outstanding Delegation
  • Gregory Billingsley and Mayukh Datta (Nigeria) won Best Resolution

Three awards, Best Resolution, Outstanding Delegation, and Most Improved Delegation, were given in each panel by the council president.  MSMS students representing various nations won numerous awards in each category; the results are listed to the left.

Kameron Chow is a senior who found himself competing for his first time at the competition. “The council overall was good and there were very different perspectives from each delegation. I was kind of nervous because I didn’t want anyone to think I was completely ignorant to world politics and current events,” Chow said. “I’m just glad I had my friend Connor (Bluntson) to help me out.” Chow and Bluntson won their award for best resolution in their council.

Sydney Melton was another senior who competed for the first time, this year. “Half of the people in our council had never done MMSC before, including me. It was rough at first, but everyone caught on to the process soon enough and it was interesting getting to hear everyone’s different opinions on controversial topics brought up in the resolutions.” Melton and her partner Angie Harri also won an award for best resolution.

Overall, MSMS won eight awards, the most of any school in attendance.  Next year, members intend to participate in the annual event with the hopes of continued success.

Ite carulae undae! MSMS Students Attend Annual Latin Convention

By Rachel Bobo, Editor-In-Chief of the Vision, the MSMS Student Newspaper

On Friday, Feb. 26, MSMS students involved in studying the language of Latin attended the Mississippi Junior Classical League (MJCL) convention on the campus of MSU. Among the 400 other student participants, MSMS students dressed in togas and other Latin or Roman-themed costumes competed in chariot races, gladiator battles, quiz bowl-like challenges and other team spirit events.

The attending students were accompanied by foreign language instructor and Latin club advisor Lori Pierce, who posted regular updates to Twitter during the event.

“It was beautiful, I didn’t have to go to school on my birthday,” said Valerie McGregor.  She also added, “Laurel and and I won first place in our part of the costume contest.”

A translation of the MSMS chant “Go Blue Waves,” “Ite caruleae undae!” was cheered throughout the day’s competitions.

“Latin convention was great, you know,” said Chazz Vickery.  “Overall the school did well. We were definitely the best school there. Me and Tristan definitely performed well, even though we got disqualified to reasons unknown. I had a great dark blue toga that eventually led to being a cape with some bobby pins, or safety pins, whatever pins.”  Vickery and Tristan Daily competed as gladiators armed with ballon weapons.

MSMS won the chariot races with their wooden, bicycle-wheeled chariot constructed in the Shackleford engineering room.  Before the all-day event, participating students used the work space to construct costumes, posters, and their chariot.

“We had practices for certamen,” said junior Uriah Jenkins. “I hope we can do even better next year than we did this year.”  Jenkins described the entire day of activities as “interesting.”

More information about the event, sponsored by the MSU Department of Classical and Modern Languages and Literatures, can be found on the state spotlight.  Next year, members of the Latin courses look forward to again attending the MJCL event and “winning the chariot race again!”

Pierce said, “It was a fun day of Latin. I am proud of my students. These are the most prizes we have ever come out of convention with.”

MSMS Math Tournament

By Michelle Li, Sports Editor for the Vision, the MSMS student newspaper.

MSMS held its annual Math Tournament at the Trotter Convention Center in downtown Columbus on Feb. 23. All MSMS students were excused from school to help run this tournament. Nearly 600 students from 18 different schools across the state of Mississippi participated in this competition. These students completed written tests and ciphering in various subject areas such as Algebra I, Algebra 2, Geometry, Trig/Pre-Cal and Calculus. In addition, they could also participate in the Potpourri and Interschool team competitions. Although weather conditions forced many schools to leave before the awards ceremony, the event was archived so that schools could view later.

Shae Koenigsberger, a member of the MSMS math faculty who helped organize this tournament, said, “It is embedded in our MSMS mission statement that we outreach to other students, therefore we feel that this is a great opportunity to students to come together and for us to outreach to other schools.”

Madison Central High School Senior Zac Bailey, who has competed in the MSMS Math Tournament for the last couple of years and placed first in the Calculus written test, said, “It was very well put together and organized. It adapted well to the imposing weather conditions, especially by supplying the very convenient live stream of the awards ceremony. All the same, it maintained a very competitive environment and it was a lot of fun to see fellow math enthusiasts actors the state.”

He continued, “Also, I was glad to get to come back to MSMS one last time and compete after last year’s cancellation. I feared another cancellation, but MSMS really pulled through for every school across the state.”

MSMS Senior Cole Borek who was committee head for the Trig/Pre-Cal area, said, “As it was my first math tournament, I was not sure what to expect. However, everything went very smoothly. It was nice to be able to help with an event that allows students from across the state who love math to compete against each other.”

The overall winner of the 2016 MSMS Math Tournament was Madison Central High School.

Mock Trial Advances Further Than Ever in State Competition

By Joy Carino, Copy Editor of the Visionthe MSMS student newspaper.

Originally published in the Vision, courtesy Nadia Colom.

Originally published in the Vision, courtesy Nadia Colom.

MSMS students traveled to Jackson Feb. 26-27 to compete in the Mississippi Bar Association’s Mock Trial Competition. An article written earlier details the procedures for Mock Trial and their preparation for the regional competition that occurred on Jan. 30. At regionals, both MSMS teams advanced to the state competition. At this weekend’s state competition, which took place in the Hinds County Courthouse, both teams placed in the top six. Out of 16 schools, Team 2 placed 4th. Team 1 advanced to the championship round and placed 2nd overall, further than any other MSMS team has reached before. Sacred Heart placed 1st and will advance to the national competition.

Junior Sam Williams believes the MSMS teams “were definitely well-prepared, much more than most teams there.” In fact, Williams continued, “The most difficult round was against the other MSMS team.” The teams prepared by having practice rounds every Sunday.

Senior Tiana Spivey said, “We advanced like we had prepared. Preparation before state competition was brutal almost every day preparing for the competition.” On an average week, the mock trial teams spend about four and a half hours in debate class together, along with several hours of practicing and memorizing their speeches and cross examinations outside of class.

At state competition, there are four rounds. After four rounds, awards are announced, along with the top six places. The teams in the top two places then go head-to-head in a final championship round. When MSMS Team 1 was announced to advance to the championship round, the roars and cheers from the MSMS teams were deafening. (Be sure to read Carly Sneed’s opinion piece on her thrilling experience in Mock Trial in both her junior and senior year.)

As MSMS was so close to reaching nationals, the Mock Trial class will continue meeting each Tuesday to prepare for next year’s competition, hoping to reach 1st place and advance to nationals.

Southern Voices Arts Competition Announces Winners

From the Vision, the MSMS student newspaper

Fifteen MSMS student artists were recognized for their work in the annual Southern Voices Arts competition on Feb. 24.  Photographs of these winning drawings, paintings, and sculptures will be featured in the Southern Voices literary magazine along with 10 other featured works.

Art instructor Angie Jones announced the winners via email stating, “The caliber of work entered by our students was amazing. Every MSMS artist should be proud of their accomplishments and abilities.”

Best of Show: 

Michelle Li-“Mimi”


First Place

Haydn Schroader- “Hibiscus”

Second Place

Grant Henderson- “Lady Liberty”

Third Place

Zach Hodge- “The Snack that Smiles Back”

Honorable Mention

Ella Stone- “Blossom in the Dark”

Justin Calhoun- “T”


First Place

Dajah Carter- “Sterling Ballerina”

Second Place

Rebecca Chen- “Strawbery Battlefields”

Third Place

Lauren Smith- “Morning Service”

Honorable Mention

Vasu Srevatsan- “Lost”

Emily Waits- “Autumn Wonder”


First Place

West Givens/The Vision

Mary Madeline LaMastus- “Einstein”

Second Place

Dipal Patel- “Waterlilies and Japanese Bridge”

Third Place

Angie Harri- “The Enchanted Rose”

Honorable Mention

Rebecca Chen- “The Prisoner of Azkaban”

Priya Sanipara- “Juliet”

In addition to the winning works, 10 other works by MSMS students will be featured in the magazine published later this semester.

  • Lauryn Smith- “First Sunday”
  • Lauryn Smith- “Fading Beauty”
  • Justin Calhoun- “The Essence of Marble”
  • Haydn Schroader- “Time”
  • Dajah Carter- “Sailboat”
  • Penelope Carreon- “Just a Quarter”
  • Will Pierce- “Die Insect”
  • Dajah Carter- “Frazer”
  • Haydn Schroader- “Drop”
  • Zach Hodge- “Nocturnal Gaze”

The literary magazine will also feature the winning works of the Southern Voices Writing competition which was also open to MSMS students’ submissions.

Dissection Day At MSMS

On Thursday, Feb. 23, 2016 MSMS hosted a group of gifted students from Caledonia Elementary School to take part in Dissection Day. The elementary students spent the day working with MSMS students and faculty to learn about the anatomy of sharks and squids.

The younger students, with help from the MSMS students, had the opportunity to conduct real dissections in a laboratory setting.

Dissection Day is only one of several outreach programs offered by the Mississippi School for Mathematics and Science.

Watch MSMS Mu Alpha Theta Math Tournament Results LIVE!

Watch the results of this year's MSMS Mu Alpha Theta Tournament Live! The awards ceremony will begin at 2:00 pm CST. Simply check out the Livestream above to watch the feed.

Nearly 600 Mississippi high school students will came to Columbus on Tuesday, February 23 to compete in the annual Mu Alpha Theta Math Tournament hosted by the Mississippi School for Mathematics and Science.

Students spent the day competing in mathematical areas like Algebra I, Geometry, Algebra II, Trigonometry, Pre-Calculus, and Calculus.

Students competed via standard written tests and a ciphering round in which teams will work to quickly solve complex mathematical problems.

The Math Tournament is an MSMS tradition that has been held annually for nearly 30 years. MSMS not only hosts the tournament, but the school’s students and math faculty also facilitate the competition.

List of participating schools:

  • Jackson Preparatory School
  • St. Andrew's Episcopal School
  • Pontotoc High School
  • Grenada High School
  • Jackson Academy
  • Pisgah High School
  • Amory High School
  • Northwest Rankin High School
  • Neshoba Central High School
  • Madison Central High School
  • Heritage Academy
  • Quitman High School
  • Ridgeland High School
  • Eupora High School
  • Winona High School
  • Aberdeen High School
  • Oxford High School
  • East Side High School

Eleven MSMS Students Named National Merit Finalists

From left to right, starting with the back row: Isaiah Williams, Tyler Etheridge, Nathan Barlow, Jason Necaise, Connor Bluntson, Gregory Thompson, Elizabeth Lanford, Ella Stone, Michelle Li, Meilun Zhou, and Rachel Bobo.

From left to right, starting with the back row: Isaiah Williams, Tyler Etheridge, Nathan Barlow, Jason Necaise, Connor Bluntson, Gregory Thompson, Elizabeth Lanford, Ella Stone, Michelle Li, Meilun Zhou, and Rachel Bobo.

Eleven Mississippi School for Mathematics and Science students have been named National Merit Finalists.

Nathan Barlow, of Starkville. Is the son of Jonathan and Ann Barlow. Before attending MSMS, Nathan was a student at Starkville High School.

Connor Bluntson, of Ridgeland, is the son of Craig and Barbara Bluntson. Before attending MSMS, Connor was a student at Ridgeland High School.

Rachel Bobo, of Okolona, is the daughter of Richard and Sara Bobo. Before attending MSMS, Rachel was a student at Tupelo High School.

Tyler Etheridge, of Columbus, is the son of Katrina Etheridge. Before attending MSMS, Tyler was a student at Caledonia High School.

Elizabeth Lanford, of Ridgeland, is the daughter of Charles and Katherine Lanford. Before attending MSMS, Elizabeth was a student at Ridgeland High School.

Michelle Li, of Starkville, is the daughter of Yueming Li and Xi Yan. Before attending MSMS, Michelle was a student at Starkville High School.

Jason Necaise, of Ridgeland, is the son of Jarrod and Carol Necaise. Before attending MSMS, Jason was a student at Ridgeland High School.

Ella Stone, of Tupelo, is the daughter of Richard and Jamie Stone. Before attending MSMS, Ella was a homeschooled student.

Gregory Thompson, of Lamar, is the son of Gregory and Sharla Thompson. Before attending MSMS, Gregory was a student at Byhalia High School.

Isaiah Williams, of Richland, is the son of Kelly Williams. Before attending MSMS, Isaiah was a student at Richland High School.

Meilun Zhou, of Hattiesburg, is the son of Zhaoxian Zhou and Yun Su. Before attending MSMS, Meilun was a student at Oak Grove High School.

Finalists are among the highest scorers of the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT) which is administered to 1.5 million students each year. Fifteen thousand of those who took the test were named Finalists (1%). Of the Finalist group, about 7,400 will be awarded with National Merit Scholarships. The National Merit Scholarship Corporation administers the National Merit Scholarship program. During its 61-year history, the NMSC has provided more than 1.5 billion in scholarship dollars to 3 million students.

The Mississippi School for Mathematics and Science is the state of Mississippi’s only public, residential high school specifically designed to meet the needs of the state’s most academically gifted and talented students. Founded in 1987, the mission of MSMS is “to enhance the future of Mississippi in the global society by meeting the individual needs of gifted and talented students through providing innovative learning experiences and leadership development in a residential environment. In addition, [the school] will provide quality educational leadership for other educators and aggressive outreach programs that impact students across Mississippi.”

Located on the campus of the Mississippi University for Women in Columbus, Mississippi, MSMS serves high school juniors and seniors from all corners of the Magnolia State. The school has been named by several publications as one of America’s best high schools. The graduating class of 2015 alone was offered more than $21 million in scholarships. For more information about MSMS, please visit

Meet MSMS Biology Instructor, Dr. Bill Odom!

Today, Mr. Wade sits down with Dr. Bill Odom who has been teaching in the biology department for the past two decades. The pair discuss how science classes are unique at MSMS and how the school trains students to not only become great scientific minds, but great scientific communicators as well. For more information about the Mississippi School for Mathematics and Science, please visit www.

Meet MSMS Senior, Kishan!

It is less than TWO WEEKS until application deadline for the Class of 2018! That means it's time to get rolling, guys. Today, Mr. Spike talks to MSMS senior Kishan from McGee, Mississippi. During this fairly long interview, Kishan tells Mr. Spike about his time in the school's research program (done through Mississippi State University), the school's very active Engineering Club, his love of math, the diversity of the school, and his dream of getting into the United States Air Force Academy (and how his time at MSMS might just make that a reality). The deadline for application is Feb. 13, 2016. For more information about Mississippi's only public, residential high school specifically designed to meet the needs of the state's most academically gifted students, please visit

Meet Ms. Bledsoe, Goen Hall Director!

Today, Mr. Spike spends a few minutes talking with Ms. LaToya Bledsoe, Hall Director for Goen Hall, our young ladies' residence hall. Ms. Bledsoe talks about what it is like to work in a place like MSMS, how she and her staff work hard to "fill in" for the students' parents, and how very much she loves all the students under her charge. For more information about Mississippi's only public, residencial high school specifically designed for the state's most academically gifted and talented, please visith Application deadline for the class of 2018 is Feb. 13, 2016!

Meet Mr. Smith, MSMS Director for Admissions and School Advancement

Welcome again to another edition of this special video series for all of you applying to MSMS this year! Today, Mr. Spike sits down with Mr. Rick Smith, the MSMS Director for Admissions and School Advancement. Mr. Smith is the fellow in charge of the MSMS admissions process, and he talks to Mr. Spike about some of the particulars of how the process actually works. Remember, the deadline for application to the MSMS Class of 2018 is Feb. 13, 2016! That means it is time to get to work, people! For more information about MSMS, please visit

Meet Mrs. Z!

The deadline for application to the MSMS Class of 2018 is Feb. 13, 2016. In this video, Mr. Wade, spends a few minutes chatting with 2016 MSMS Teacher of the Year, Lauren Zarandona. Mrs. Z, as she is affectionately known, teaches several mathematics courses at MSMS. She talks about the math program, what students can expect when they arrive here, and how MSMS math teachers strive to teach both the "how" and the "why" of mathematics. For more information about MSMS, please visit

MSMS Application Deadline Just Around the Corner!

Future Blue Waves, the deadline for application to the Mississippi School for Mathematics and Science is February 13, 2016. That's just around the corner! Starting today, we will be posting several video interviews to help keep you motivated as you polish your applications (or in many cases, start your applications :)). Keep checking back here each day up until application deadline for interviews with current MSMS students, faculty members, and staff members. Got a question? Email us at or call us at 1-800-553-6459! Wonder what MSMS is all about, anyway? Check out for information about Mississippi's only public, residential high school specifically designed for the academically gifted and talented. We will see you soon, future Blue Waves!

My Mentor and I: Part 2

Jasmine King, in blue, posing along with Judge Jim Kitchens and other members of the MSMS mentorship program. Photography by Maliah Wilkinson. 

Jasmine King, in blue, posing along with Judge Jim Kitchens and other members of the MSMS mentorship program. Photography by Maliah Wilkinson. 

By Maliah Wilkinson and Jasmine King (Guest Writer)

This article originally appeared in the MSMS student newspaper, The Vision.

In a previous article published by the Vision entitled My Mentor and I, the Mentorship guidelines and goals were published. With the help of Kayla Hester, the Mississippi School for Mathematics and Science mentorship coordinator, The Vision is offering an exclusive three-part series featuring three MSMS Mentorship students and their mentoring experience. MSMS mission statement states: “Our mission is to enhance the future of Mississippi in the global society by meeting the individual needs of gifted and talented students through providing innovative learning experiences and leadership development in a residential environment.” Many at MSMS would consider the mentorship program to be an example of the school’s “innovative learning experience.”

Read the Vision, the MSMS student newspaper, today!

Vicksburg native Jasmine King, a senior, is featured in this week’s edition of The Vision. King offers her personal experience in the mentoring program as well as how it has affected her educationally.

Final Project: Am I Where I am Supposed to be?

by Jasmine King

I first got interested in the legal field when I, at the age of12, witnessed the injustices that are prevalent in society. Due to this, a 17-year-old verison of Circuit Court Judge James T. Kitchens would be very beneficial due to the experience that he has had during his time in court. Having met Judge Kitchens under strained conditions in the Spring of 2015, I gained an understanding that apprenticeship under him might help me truly decide what I want to do with my life. However, I wasn’t really prepared for what was to come within the few months that I would frequently visit the courthouse.

My experiences at the court house were unlike any others that I heard concerning other students under the mentorship program. I was introduced to varying ideas, theories, crimes and people under a short amount of time. Acquainted with varying judges, attorneys, correction officers and bailiffs, I was pulled into the legal system head first. Having the opportunity to read several case files and summaries as well as discussing them with not only Judge Kitchens but Mrs. Lynn Conner and others, I have been able to learn more through their experiences and beliefs. Researching recent and older crimes and convictions, I have been able to distinguish how crimes affect not only criminals but also the communities in which they live. I have learned how to express my feelings towards certain issues in a way that will promote change and better society.

The environment of the courthouse generally depends on the people inside. When you first arrive, there usually are two guards waiting for you to walk through a metal detector. Once you go through the metal detector, all of your bags are checked to ensure to them that you are not a threat to anyone in the building. After all of this, they allow for you to continue on with your planned visit. I only had to do this twice. After passing this test, I always headed upstairs to the Circuit Court chambers which is pass the “Defendant Waiting Room” and the “Circuit Clerk Office.” Once I pass through the usually locked door that allows the view of the Circuit Court Chambers, I usually see a large group of people discussing the events of the day. These people range from the three circuit court judges, the district attorney, the people who work under the district attorney, defense attorneys, legal clerks and secretaries and bailiffs.

As I make my way into the actual chambers/office of the Circuit Court Judge, Mrs. Conner is sitting at her desk doing either arraignments or researching certain cases. Judge Kitchens is either in his chambers or in the court room. There is at least two other people in the room as well, it simply depends on the day. After I tell Mrs. Conner and Brandon, the Circuit Court Law Clerk, about my day, I usually make my way into the judge’s chambers to greet Judge Kitchens. His chamber is full of books organized in the neatest way possible. There are four chairs that run along the same wall that links with the door that heads into the actual courtroom. The judge’s desk is enormous and they just got a new Bluetooth printer that Judge Kitchens installed about a month ago.

Judge Kitchens has a very generous persona. It goes past how he interacts with his colleagues into the courtroom with how he relates to defendants. He speaks to people on a understanding level. It is as if he knows how to talk to everyone in a seemingly perfect way. Having witnessed him the courtroom while he is receiving guilty pleas, I have watched as he transforms from a judge to almost a father-figure when it comes to defendants who have simply made bad decisions. I have seen him be cordial with co-workers but strict with drug addicts. I have witnessed Judge Kitchens be a human being who genuinely cares about the well-being of his community in all of its spectrums. Seeing all of this, seeing someone who can care to that capacity and still be able to differentiate the law between the good in people, has really been a large portion of why I enjoy my mentorship assignment so much.

Judge Kitchens has made a point to have me read several case decisions, sit in his court hearings, sit in Judge Howard’s court hearings, and encounter several different people. He critiqued the literary assessment I wrote concerning the Brian Holliman cases of Lowndes County. Almost every time I visit the courthouse, Judge Kitchens has me read a recent case decision. When I get done reading it, we discuss the case as well as the decision that was made. Once done with this, I am asked if I have any questions. I often have many. I have sat in on many trials ranging from homicide, aggravated assault and medical malpractice. I also have heard numerous guilty pleas. On top of all of this, I meet several different people. I have met Forrest Allgood, Tiffany Jones, Mahala Salazar, Maurice Johnson, Lindsey Clemons and Scott Rogillio. I have even been in the same hallway as a dedicated meth user. Truthfully, there is never a boring day at the courthouse.

Throughout my experience at the courthouse, I have been able to discover things not only about the field in which I have interest in but also about myself. I have learned that I am extremely frightened by the idea of defending heartless criminals, being proven wrong, not being able to help everyone and being in the presence of dedicated drug users. But that fear also lights a flame in me that makes me want to pursue this field even more. This thirst I have to help people can only be quenched through law. I am seeing that now. I’m accepting. In order to do this, I have to build endurance concerning all of my fears. I have to be able to choose my battles. I have to be able to right any wrongs. I have to be ready to fight my hardest for clients, because who else will do so? I have to get used to being around people who are not truly there all of the way. It won’t be easy, but it will be worth it. Truthfully, I am looking forward to it.

During my mentorship experiences, I have gained so many valuable life lessons. I went in expecting to only sit in court and cases that would not be interesting or simply sit in a room doing nothing. However, I have gained a small understanding of the legal world that governs and protects the lives of those in Lowndes County. I have witnessed how laws prevent criminals from hurting more victims. I have watched attorneys speak eloquently and prove their points. I have spoken to some of the best attorneys in the state and have enjoyed every minute of it. I have found my calling. And at this moment in my life, there is nothing that can deter me from it.