There is No Mocking Mock Trial: MSMS Team Prepares for Regionals

Photography by Carly Sneed

Photography by Carly Sneed

By Joy Carino, Copy Editor for the Vision

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

You may have watched detective or police shows on television and seen court cases acted out on screen, but a group of MSMS juniors and seniors are doing similar things each Tuesday night in preparation for the Mississippi Mock Trial Competition. The MSMS Mock Trial team consists of students who take the year-long course taught by recently-elected Columbus District Attorney Scott Colom.

Read the Vision, the MSMS student newspaper, today!

Many MSMS students join Mock Trial to learn about law or the processes behind court cases. However, junior Sam Williams learned that Mock Trial is also focused on learning the rules for Mock Trial competitions, public speaking techniques and court case terminology. Current MSMS seniors are determined to pass the Regionals Competition, which will be held on Jan. 30 in the Oxford courthouse. The MSMS team hopes to score enough points to make it to state competition which will take place in Jackson on Feb. 26 – 27.

For regionals, Mock Trial teams all over the state are to reenact a designated court case. Each team is randomly selected to stand as either the defense or the prosecution, so the MSMS class is divided into two teams who practice against each other, switching sides each week. Team captains are seniors Carly Sneed, Tiana Spivey and Arielle Hudson. Each team member has specific jobs such as lawyers or witnesses. Lawyers have to present an “Opening” to the case, which is scored on a scale of one to 10, and each portion of the case is also scored this way. Spivey speaks the opening for the Defense Side, and she said, “the opening is really important because that’s the first thing the judges will score to see. We have to work together to ensure that everything goes smoothly in the competition.”

Mock Trial is a challenging yet rewarding experiencing, according to Sneed, Spivey, and junior Williams. Spivey said Mock Trial “has been a great experience…challenging to keep up with.”  Williams said he has had to practice “speaking at the right speed and volume because that’s difficult for some of us. You have to act in a way the person would act in that situation.” He described Mock Trial as “role playing but not the fun kind.” The most difficult parts of Mock Trial are the pressures on each student as they are often the only ones speaking in the courtroom, and each role must be memorized and played out appropriately.

Last year, the MSMS team advanced to the state competition. This year, the team hopes to advance to further to the national competition.

Let the Games Begin: Ala-La-Miss Math Competitions

By Shelbi Allen, Staff Writer for the Vision

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

Each year MSMS students participate in in the Ala-La-Miss Mathematics League competitions.

These are six competitions that students from Alabama, Louisiana and Mississippi are allowed to compete in to show mathematical ability. Led by Instructor Lauren Zarandona, students meet at 6:15 in Hooper Auditorium on designated Mondays to compete with their calculators. The competitions each run for approximately 30 minutes.

Read the Vision, the MSMS student newspaper, today!

So far in the 2015-16 school year, MSMS has competed in three of the six competitions. The first was held on Oct. 5; the second was held on Nov. 9, and the third was held on Dec. 7. Approximately 20 to 30 people have attended each of the three competitions.

Last school year, MSMS placed fifth place in the entire league, and MSMS alum Kate Johnson achieved placement on the list of highest scoring individuals for the year.

Jacob McDonald says, “I like the competitive spirit of it.” He described the competitions as cumulative, and a student could miss a competition and still do very well, as the points stack throughout the year. Schools compete against each other, and the individual students’ scores are also considered.  “We’re competing as a school,” said McDonald.

Wrishija Roy Headed To Poetry Out Loud Competition

Photography by West Givens

Photography by West Givens

By Noah Hunt, Art Editor for The Vision

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

After winning the school-wide Poetry Out Loud competition in December, Wrishija Roy will soon be headed to the state level competition. Roy says in order to prepare she is, “…trying my best to prepare and improve on my performance by expressing the emotions and attitude that are embodied in the poems.”


“I’ve really enjoyed Poetry Out Loud, and it’s become like an escape from all the regular schoolwork that we do, so I’m excited to continue this experience at regionals,” she said. 

The two pieces Roy will be performing are “Weighing In” by Rhina P. Espaillat and “I Felt a Funeral in My Brain” by Emily Dickinson. Roy says she chose “Weighing In” because “I really liked the meanings it conveyed.” She also says that she chose “I Felt a Funeral in My Brain” because “I had watched a recitation of it that made me realize how cool the poem was and how expressive my performance could be.”

Poetry Out Loud is a national contest for people to memorize and recite poems. This is not the first time an MSMS student has competed: Joy Carino, co-president of GUS, also made it to the state level when she competed last year. However, Roy says that this is her first time doing anything like Poetry Out Loud. She felt compelled to join the contest since she wanted to try something new and had recently become interested in poetry. 

“I never understood the value of poetry until I participated in this competition. I’ve come to realize that poetry is such an expressive form of art,” Roy said. She will go to the state competition in Jackson on March 10.

MSMS To Focus on Tallahatchie and Holmes Counties

Dear Friends of MSMS,

As we know, we are are continuing to push to reach academically-talented students who are economically disadvantaged, and those from under-performing schools, with information about MSMS and get them into our summer camp when they are rising 7th and 8th graders. 

As a result of our work last month, we have identified at least three more new sponsors. During December, we will concentrate on finding sponsors for students in Holmes and Tallahatchie counties. If you have contacts in either of those counties, please let me know as soon as possible.

We are looking for businesses, organizations, or individuals who may be interested in providing financial assistance to enable students from their areas to participate in the MSMS Summer Enrichment Camps. We would also welcome the opportunity to speak to any civic or service club about both MSMS and our summer camps.

If you can help us identify organizations or individuals we should contact, please email me at

Rick Smith
Mississippi School for Mathematics and Science
Director for Admissions and School Advancement

Tales From The Crypt Documentary

"Tales From the Crypt" is one of the most famous and popular MSMS projects. This year, MSMS seniors Jo Orrick and West Givens are documenting the entire process from students being introduced to the research component to the eventual performances in April. If you've ever been curious about Tales From the Crypt this documentary will provide tons of useful and entertaining information. Already at six parts, West and Jo are releasing more episodes regularly. Be sure to check the MSMS Tales From the Crypt page often for updates!

All Aboard the Winter Express: MSMS Winter Formal 2015

Courtesy Dr. Heath Stevens.

Courtesy Dr. Heath Stevens.

By Joy Carino, MSMS Vision Staff Member

As schoolwork piled up for the end of the semester, MSMS students “blew off steam” on Dec. 3 at the annual Winter Formal dance. This year’s theme was the Winter Express from the childhood favorite movie and train, Polar Express.

This year’s Winter Formal Committee worked hard to ensure everything looked festive and decorative for the dance. Committee Coordinator Katie Stovall, a junior, said the committee “worked super hard to make it the best for y’all. I hope everyone enjoyed it as much as I did.” The decorations were organized by co-coordinators Stovall and Ayana Gordon and members John Wells, Virginia Pressly, Sophia Ali, Carolyn Donovan, Kennedy Lewis, Justin Calhoun, Christina Epps; various parents and Mrs. Jennifer Hodge; and Coach Valeria Scott.

Read the original Vision article here

Senior Madeline Mixon said, “The decorations of hot chocolate made me happy.” Senior Hannah Hardwick loved the chandelier, and she “wanted to swing from it.” While a few noticed a lack of locomotive decorations (due to budget cuts), Mixon said, “We did dance the train for a little while!”

The dance lasted from 9 p.m. to Midnight. While each person has varying tastes and opinions toward the music, each of the songs that were played were sent in by the students. However, Stovall said many songs were cut due to vulgarity since “he was a clean DJ.” Stovall said, “I didn’t know a few songs, but I still made the best of it because I was with my friends and having a good time.” Though a few junior girls were anxious the night before as they asked some seniors how to dance, seniors Vasu Srevatsan and Jenny Bobo assured them that they did not have to look good when dancing as long as they were having fun. Junior Vivian Van was glad the music included “instructional music that gave directions, like the cha-cha slide.” Hardwick felt some nostalgia as a senior, but said that the dance “was a great way to end the first semester of senior year, together with everybody.”

Van has only been to one dance at her old school. So far, Winter Formal was “by far the best because I was surrounded by people I like!” Furthermore, Van was voted as Winter Formal Princess along with Hamhari Brown as Winter Formal Prince. Seniors Shamarcus Doty and Joy Carino were crowned Winter Formal King and Queen. Following this, the Winter Formal Court led a slow dance. In regards to her dance with Brown, Van admitted, “I didn’t know how to slow dance… neither of us knew how to slow dance. But there was a train whistle while we were dancing, and Hamhari said, ‘There goes the train!’”

Send your favorite winter formal pictures to for a chance to be featured on The Vision’s social media!

Deck the Dorms With Boughs of Holly

Photo by Michelle Li

Photo by Michelle Li

By Michelle Li, MSMS Vision Staff Member

It’s that time of year again! The halls of the MSMS dorms are beginning to look a lot like Christmas. In Goen lobby, an ornament-filled Christmas tree illuminates the entire room and multicolored lights hang from the walls. In preparation for the coming holiday, many students have taken things a step farther and decorated their own dorm rooms too.

Read the Original Vision Article Here (Includes A Slideshow of the Dorm Decor)

Walking down the halls of the dorm, one is almost overwhelmed by the amount of red and and green. Stockings, wreaths and bright red bows decorate almost every door.

Some door decorations are simple like junior Mari Lampkin’s. “I just used some wrapping paper on the door and a couple of paper snowflakes. Nothing too fancy.” she said.

Other doors are almost completely covered with holiday trinkets. Juniors Claudia Vial and Emily Shy give their reason for the abundant decorations, “Stockings and a lit up wreath on the door make coming back to the dorms feel like coming home, and coupled with a ‘Merry Christmas’ garland, we hope to infuse Christmas spirit into everyone who walks by.”

Entering the ornate door, the scene is similar to a December edition of Home Decor. The girls’ dorm room filled with anything even slightly related to Christmas.

Shy continued, “We have a big Christmas tree with lights and ornaments, and a star at the top. We have big red bows placed around the room, colored lights on the walls, and a plethora of candy canes.”  

Vail explained, “We decorated because we knew the next three weeks would be extremely stressful. Looking around in our room, seeing big red bows and twinkling lights, smelling pine scented potpourri and cinnamon, makes our dorm feel like home. Having a decorated room helps ward off homesickness, because growing up, Christmas was always a time where the whole family came together. Having a festive room makes it home away from home, and encourages celebration and happiness despite all the craziness that is going on at school.”

Senior Liz Lanford shared similar aspirations for decorating her dorm room, “It’s just super relaxing and a distraction from my school work. I love returning from an exhausting day of classes to soft lights strung along my ceiling and a rainbow-colored Christmas tree. It cheers me up and puts me in the holiday spirit instantly.”

Lanford added, “I think the process of decorating is also really rewarding because you get do it with your friends and jam out to corny Christmas music. It’s just a great time!”

The Vision staff is also holding a competition for the room with the best holiday decorations, so send pictures of your decorated room to for a chance to win Christmas Hershey kisses, double-stuffed Oreos and bragging rights!

Senatobia to San Francisco: A Picture Perfect Accomplishment

West Givens. Photo by Christian Donoho.

West Givens. Photo by Christian Donoho.

By Shelbi Allen, MSMS Vision Staff Member

An aspiring film director has been awarded with the opportunity to pave his way from his mathematics and science classes at the Mississippi School for Mathematics and Science to a film festival in San Francisco, Calif. On Nov. 16, senior West Givens learned that he had earned a place on the jury at the prestigious Berlin and Beyond Film Festival. This program, organized by the Youth 4 German Cinema, is set to take place in January. From more than 300 applicants, only eight students from North America are accepted. Givens was one of the four United States citizens accepted– two were chosen from Mexico and two were selected from Canada.

Read the original Vision Article by Shelbi Allen Here

Accepted students, including Givens, will be taking film classes from professionals, touring San Francisco, walking the red carpet at the Berlin and Beyond Film Festival, and critiquing feature films that are provided by the festival. Additionally, they will be responsible for awarding the Youth 4 German Cinema awards to the filmmakers of the films they critiqued.

On the last day there, the students are invited to the German Consulate. It is similar to a diplomatic office; however, it deals more directly with individuals and businesses. The German government is paying for all of the expenses of the students, and they are to be considered special guests. “Yeah, they pay for the airplane ticket, the food, the accommodations, the smiles and the laughs,” Givens said.

Even though it is a film festival, Givens was not required to submit one of his own short films. Instead, he was asked to offer constructive criticism on one of two provided short films in a video up to three minutes long. He was also asked to submit a short video, in which he introduced himself and explained his desire to participate in the program. His French II teacher Lori Pierce, who also teaches German, introduced Givens to the program and encouraged him to apply.

Currently, Givens has personally directed two short films, and he has been offered a place at the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD). “I’m super excited for the trip as a whole, but I think the thing that I’m most excited for is meeting professional filmmakers who are doing what I want to do,” West said when asked what he was most excited for about the trip. “I’m also excited for making connections and just being surrounded by films.”

MSMS World Language Christmas Concert

From the recent World Language Christmas Concert. Photo courtesy Dr. Heath Stevens.

From the recent World Language Christmas Concert. Photo courtesy Dr. Heath Stevens.

On Wednesday, December 10, the MSMS Foreign Language department performed their fifth annual World Language Christmas Concert.

The show, which was held in Poindexter Hall on the campus of the Mississippi University for Women, featured MSMS students singing Christmas songs in several different languages. The languages included French, German, Spanish, Latin, and Russian.

MSMS foreign language faculty members Lori Pierce (French, German, and Latin) and Mary Margaret Henry (Spanish and Russian) sponsored the concert.

“Learning these songs teaches cultural appreciation and is a great way to teach pronunciation,” said Pierce. “The performance is our way of sharing both kinds of learning with MSMS and the broader community.”

The show began with a four-verse rendition of the Christmas standard Silent Night. Each verse was sung in a different language, German, French, Spanish, and Latin respectively.

The show then featured singers from each of the five foreign languages taught at MSMS. Despite being sung in different languages, many of the songs were familiar to English speaking audiences, but some of the selections were specific to the cultures from which they sprang.

The MSMS Strings Club was also able to get in on the act. The group provided introductory music and accompanied some of the concert’s vocalists.

MSMS would like to thank to thank the MUW Department of Music for hosting the event.

Five MSMS Students Win QuestBridge Scholarships


MSMS is pleased to announce that five of the school’s students have been matched with colleges through the QuestBridge National College Match Program.

The students who have been matched with colleges are:

  • Sarah Conwell - Vanderbilt University
  • Sasha Edwards - Washington and Lee University
  • Elle McKenzie - Vassar College
  • Greg Thompson - Vanderbilt University
  • Isaiah Williams - Stanford University

 Sarah Conwell, of Marigold, Mississippi, is the daughter of Marvin and Deannon Conwell. Before attending MSMS she was a student at Clarksdale High School.

Sasha Edwards, of Senatobia, Mississippi, is the daughter of Frannette and Carlow Edwards. Before attending MSMS, she was a student at Senatobia High School.

Elle McKenzie, of Hernando, Mississippi, is the daughter of Ann Mckenzie and Peter Amminger. Before attending MSMS, she was a student at Hernando High School.

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

Isaiah Williams, of Ridgeland, Mississippi, is the son of Byron and Kelly Williams. Before attending MSMS, he was a student at Richland High School.

These students will be provided with full four-year scholarships to the schools with which they have been matched. The mission of QuestBridge is to match high-achieving, low-income students with substantial scholarship opportunities.

More than 13,000 students applied for the QuestBridge program this year. Of those, 4,895 were selected as finalists. Of the finalists, 657 students were matched with colleges.

According to the QuestBridge website: “QuestBridge is a national non-profit based in Palo Alto, California. It connects the nation’s most exceptional, low-income youth with leading institutions of higher education and further life opportunities. By recruiting, developing, and motivating these students – beginning in high school through college to their first job – QuestBridge aims to increase the percentage of low-income students attending the nation’s best colleges and to support them to achieve success in their respective careers and communities.”

The Mississippi School for Mathematics and Science is Mississippi’s only public, residential high school specifically designed to meet the needs of the state’s most academically gifted. Founded in 1987, MSMS fosters the academically gifted and talented through their last two years of high school. The school is located on the campus of the Mississippi University for Women in Columbus, Mississippi. Last year, the graduating class of 2015 was offered more than $21 million in scholarships. MSMS is currently accepting applications to the class of 2018. For more information about MSMS, please visit

An Excerpt From Lamees El-Sadek's Article About William Winter

Former Mississippi Governor William Winter and MSMS grad Lamees El-sadek.

Former Mississippi Governor William Winter and MSMS grad Lamees El-sadek.

The following is excerpted from Lamees El-sadek's Huffington Post piece, "Conversations with William Winter: on Education, Racism, Millennials' Obligation to Social Justice, and Mississippi's Place in America. You can read the whole article here. Lamees, an MSMS graduate, was able to spend a great amount of time with former Mississippi Governor William Winter. Winter served as governor of Mississippi in the early 1980s.

In the piece, Lamees and Governor Winter cover a variety of topics, but spend some time talking about the Mississippi School for Mathematics and Science. The following excerpt is included with Lamees' permission.

MSMS is extremely near and dear to my heart. Right up there near the value I give to my faith and family. I know you didn't sign that bill, but it was your idea. I could write you a book full of stories of the number of people I know whose lives are forever changed because of MSMS. It's an exemplary school, period, but it's even more life changing for students who live in communities with poor school systems, who don't have the funds to enroll in a private alternative.

That just makes me so delighted to hear. That I was able to contribute to something so remarkable for the state of Mississippi. I'm proud of that. And all those students with that great education, coming back home to contribute to their home state in some way, that just makes me so happy. MSMS sets the standard for the rest of our schools, to aspire to its level of excellence.

One lesson I take from your involvement with MSMS's creation is the importance of going out there and learning about what's going on in other communities and bringing the ideas back to the people. Because that's what started MSMS.

Yes, exactly. You plant these little seeds out there and hope that some of them will sprout.

MSMS Grad Named Rhodes Scholar

I had the chance recently to have a conversation with Mississippi's newest Rhodes Scholar, Ericka Wheeler. Ericka, who is from Greenwood, graduated from MSMS in 2012. You can listen to the entire conversation she and I had by clicking the play button above, or you can download the interview by clicking the "Download" button above. I hope you enjoy this interview. If you'd like to hear more like it, please let me know by emailing me at


Wade Leonard
Coordinator for Alumni and Public Relations
The Mississippi School for Mathematics and Science

A graduate from the Mississippi School for Mathematics and Science has been awarded one of the most prestigious academic awards in the world.

Ericka Wheeler, a senior at Millsaps College in Jackson and a member of the 2012 MSMS graduating class, discovered last week that she had won the honor. 

Wheeler is the daughter of Dr. Harold J. Wheeler and Dr. Valencia Martin, both of whom are practicing physicians in Greenwood, Mississippi.

This makes Ericka the first African-American woman in Mississippi's history to be named a Rhodes Scholar. Beginning in October, Ericka will move to Oxford University in England where she will study medical anthropology.

"She has always been motivated and she is so kind," said Mrs. Emily O'Bryant who regularly works with students and parents in the Mississippi Delta Region who are interested in pursuing MSMS. "She has never met a stranger. I'm so proud of her, and I'm so proud she's part of the Delta."

Ericka was recently interviewed by Wade Leonard, the MSMS Coordinator for Alumni and Public Relations, about becoming a Rhodes Scholar and how she wants to use her education to help make the Mississippi Delta a better place. You can listen to the entire interview by clicking the play button above.

MSMS would like to extend its warmest congratulations to Ericka. We know she will do our school, our state, and our nation proud. You can read the Clarion-Ledger's cover story of Ericka's achievement by clicking here.

Shop Online and Support MSMS

Thanks to the efforts of the MSMS Foundation, you can now support MSMS by shopping online! The MSMS Foundation is now part of the Amazon Smile program, which donates a portion of sales to the organization if people sign up.

All you have to do is click on logo above or here and sign into your amazon account before you shop. A portion of the money you spend will instantly be donated to the MSMS Foundation! It's easy, you won't have to spend any extra money, and you will financially support MSMS! (Did we mention that it's easy?)

So before you rush after those great online deals this weekend, please consider signing into your account through this portal an showing MSMS some love, too.

Thanks to MSMS Foundation President Cindy Henderson for leading to charge to make this happen and thanks to MSMS Class of 1991 grad Michael Goggans for championing the paperwork! Remember, just click here or on the logo above before you start shopping!

Reading Fair at Fairview


The Mississippi School for Mathematics and Science and Fairview Elementary School partnered together for the elementary school’s annual Reading Fair.

Eighteen current MSMS students were asked to come to Fairview, which is located in Columbus, Mississippi, to act as judges for the Reading Fair.

Fairview pre-kindergarten through fifth grade students had earlier created storyboard projects that reflected different stories the children had been reading.

The MSMS students spent Tuesday morning being delighted by their younger counterparts work.

“They were all so good,” said one MSMS student. “It was really hard to pick a winner.”

MSMS’s participation in the Reading Fair is part of the larger Adopt-A-School initiative that MSMS began two years ago. Students from the high school regularly make trips to Fairview to tutor and mentor the elementary students.

The MSMS students who participated as judges were: Shelbi Allen, Damare Baker, Nathan Carter, Raksha Chatakondi, Carolyn Donovan, Maggie Ford, Hannah Houston, Haley Hsu, Mary Lee, Kaleigh Leiva, Madeline Mixon, Jenny Nguyen, Kendall Palmer, Dipal Patel, Lauren Scott, Katherine Shelton, Nicole Thornton, and Ariel Williams.

Fairview Elementary Aerospace & Science Magnet School

Reading Fair Winners 2015 – 2016

Group Project Grade PK – 2, Division K

1st Place Mrs. Hill’s Kindergarten Class                     2nd Place Mrs. Anthony’s Kindergarten Class

Family Project Grade 3 – 5, Division L: Eric Pratt, Mrs. Miller’s Class

Individual Non-fiction, Division H: Mordecai Bonner, Mrs. Temple’s Class


Individual Fiction Categories:

1st Place - Teacher                          2nd Place - Teacher                         3rd Place - Teacher

Grade 1, Division B:

Lani Carter – Moore                              Trinity Goodman – Moore                        Madison Reed – Johnson

Grade 2, Division C

Aaliyah Williams – Joiner                 Jonathan Clark – Joiner                    D’Naysha Martin – Williams

Grade 3, Division D

Adia Colom – Reed                            Darian Evans – Reed                                    Tahmiya Erby – Reed

Grade 4 – 5 Division E

Aamori Colom – Temple                   Bethany Setiawan – Miller               Makhya Weatherspoon – Clark

Exploring the Sites and Sounds of Mississippi


COLUMBUS, Mississippi -- Math and science education may be the first thing most people think about when thinking about MSMS, but as the annual Sites and Sounds tour shows, MSMS is much more than that.

Last week the 42 members of the MSMS Blue Notes spent four days and nights touring the southern part of the state of Mississippi. During the tour the group played shows, visited museums, and learned about the musical history and culture of their home state.

“Taking the students to the places that gave rise to blues, gospel, county, jazz and rock and roll never gets old for me,” said MSMS Music Instructor and Sites and Sounds Coordinator Dawn Barham. “ The student’s realization of the uniqueness of what occurred musically in our state and how that ubiquitously influenced contemporary music and culture is gold to me as a music educator.”

Visiting legendary MSMS educator, Dr. Nancy MacNeill (pictured front right).

Visiting legendary MSMS educator, Dr. Nancy MacNeill (pictured front right).

The group left the school on Friday, November 6 and made their first stop in Meridian. A highlight of the Meridian stop was a visit to Brookdale Assisted Living, where legendary MSMS educator Dr. Nancy MacNeill is a resident. The Blue Notes crooned cool for the facilities residents, and got to spend some time with Dr. Mac.

“Playing for Dr. Mac at Brookdale was a no brainer,” said Barham. “We booked that show in August!  While these students did not know Nancy, it didn’t take them long to see they were in the presence of MSMS royalty. Dr. Odom and Dr. Morgan prepared and presented a heartwarming tribute to Dr. Mac. She is still a natural with the students!”

After visiting Dr. Mac, the students made a stop at the Jimmy Rodgers Museum, THE DENTZEL CAROUSEL, visited a spot on the Mississippi Blues Trail, and visited the African American Military History Museum in Hattiesburg. Families of Blue Note members treated the group to a BBQ Dinner in Purvis. Eventually, the Blue Notes would make it all the way to the Mississippi Gulf Coast, where the evening was capped off with a beach bonfire and s’mores. 

Click here to watch the Blue Notes in action! Thanks to Dr. Heath Stevens for putting this playlist together!

Saturday the students headed over to Barksdale Pavilion at the Gulfport Marina. The MSMS Blue Notes made their 5th appearance at the “Red, White and Blue Festival,” the culminating event of the Gulf Coast Veteran’s Day Parade. Following their performance the students toured the historic100 Men Hall in Bay St. Louis before making their way back to Biloxi for dinner and an impromptu performance at the dinner venue. 


“Sites and Sounds was an enlightening experience in many ways. I got to learn about the roots of the blues while jamming with the band. It made the music more worthwhile,” said MSMS junior Agella Osinde.  “My favorite part was the 100 Men Hall- hearing their story made me realize how precious it is to preserve the blues.”

Sunday, the MSMS crew loaded up and headed outside the state, to the musical landmark that is the City of New Orleans. In New Orleans, the Blue Notes ate brunch aboard the Steamboat Natchez while listening to Dixieland Jazz and cruising the river. Leaving the Crescent City’s undeniable musical mojo behind, the weary travelers headed to Laurel for dinner with Blue Note Parents before pointing the caravan north to Columbus. 

“The trip was easily one of the most fun experiences of my lifetime,” said MSMS senior Jacob McDonald.  “I loved the steamboat cruise on the Mississippi River and found it very relaxing.  It was amazing to see New Orleans for the first time and it encouraged me to go back someday.  I learned a great deal about musical history, with the many museums we visited giving me a new understanding about the history of the state.”

"It was a most triumphant trip,” said MSMS junior Sam Williams. “We learned about many of the excellent artists who contributed to the bodacious music of Mississippi and the south as a whole."

MSMS and the MSMS Blue Notes would like to thank The Williams, Williamson, Vial, McNamee, Eubanks and Jackson families, MSMS Blue Note Parents, MSMS Plus, Ms. Kelly Brown, the Truitts, Mr. Jed Leggett, Ms. Julie Heintz, Mrs. Debby Billups, Mrs. Nesia Foote, Mr. Charles Williams, Dr. Germain McConnell, Dr. Clyde Lindley, Dr. Bill Odom, Dr. Elizabeth Morgan, Dr. Heath Stevens, Ms. Cindy Henderson, Ms. Kassie Brooks, the MSMS Foundation,  Seashore United Methodist Assembly Center, Seashore District United Methodist Churches, First Baptist Church of Purvis, Golden Triangle Periodontal Center, Carsons Store and Deli, Image Screenprinting, East Mississippi Community College, Lion Hills Center and the MSMS Faculty. 

Number Sense, Digging Deeper

The Mississippi School for Mathematics and Science offers a number of classes that are unique to the school. Among those, is Number Sense.

Taught by Mrs. Karin McWhorter, Number Sense takes concepts the students are learning or have learned in their other math classes and expands upon them.

This course will provide a study of number patterns, number relationships, and topics from number theory. Emphasis will be placed upon applications, problem solving, discussion, investigation, and competitive team practice.
— Number Sense described in the MSMS Course Catalogue

"This is an enrichment class," said McWhorter. "We take content they already know and dig deeper. We delve into things they may not have seen like binary and different bases. Then we do an entire section on probability."

During a recent meeting of the class, the class was split into two teams. The teams competed against one another in tournament style. The competition was identical to Potpourri competitions held at most high school mathematics tournaments.

To help the students think through their work, McWhorter played classical music.

"This one is easy!" said one student.

Creating Math Superstars

Area elementary school students found out how to become mathematics superstars at the Mississippi School for Mathematics and Science.

Fifty-one area third, fourth, and fifth graders spent Thursday afternoon participating in MSMS’s first Math Superstars competition.

Area schools were invited to participate in the event. During the month of September, several area schools gave four weeks of contests, and the top students from each grade level were asked to go head-to-head in math. Students from Caledonia Elementary, Church Hill (West Point) Elementary, Franklin Academy, Fairview Elementary and homeschooled families brought students to the final competition at MSMS on Thursday.

“We have gone to several schools this year to do math centers,” said competition organizer and MSMS math instructor Lauren Zarandona. “ But this was our chance to offer gifted elementary students an opportunity to be challenged mathematically that did not create extra work for the teacher.”

The event was designed as part of an ongoing outreach program from the MSMS mathematics department. Winners received mathematical mystery books from Mrs. Zarandona herself.

“It was amazing to see so many students, parents, and teachers coming together to foster mathematical problem solving,” said Zarandona. “The contest participants reflected the diversity that MSMS prides itself on.”

The school plans to hold similar events in the future. MSMS would like to thank all teachers, students, parents, and staff members who made this event a success. For more information about the Mississippi School for Mathematics and Science, please visit

3rd Grade Winners

  • 1st Place: Jack Mullins, Caledonia
  • 2nd Place: Miller Usry, West Point
  • 3rd Place: Ella Grace Dahlem: Caledonia
  • 4th Place: Dedric Frierson: Franklin

4th Grade Winners

  • 1st Place: Anna McWhorter: Caledonia
  • 2nd Place: Nicholas Wade: Caledonia
  • 3rd Place: Parker Cohen: West Point
  • 4th Place: Brody Jordan: Caledonia

5th Grade Winners

  • 1st Place: TJ Johns: Caledonia
  • 2nd Place (tie): Charles Gilliam of Caledonia and Aziya Hill of Franklin
  • 3rd Place: Amelia Hurt: Caledonia



Fall Preview Day

Despite the weather being very uncooperative, Fall Preview Day was a wonderful success. Students from all corners of the Magnolia State made the trip to the Mississippi School for Mathematics and Science to meet with administrators, current MSMS students, and parents of MSMS students.

In anticipation of bad weather, the school made a short video tour of the school. So if you couldn't make it to Fall Preview Day, but still want to take a tour of MSMS, just watch the video above! And remember, you can always sign up for a tour by clicking here.

MSMS Pumpkin Carving 2015

Halloween is nearly here, and to celebrate Ms. Jones’ sculpture students have been hard at work carving pumpkins.

Earlier this month, Ms. Jones’ students were taken to Country Pumpkins in Caledonia where they were allowed to each take home a pumpkin to carve. The students spent a few days working out their designs and the finished product is nothing short of remarkable.

A contest was held and judged by two MSMS faculty members for best pumpkin and most original pumpkin.

First place went to Lauren Scott, second to Raven Ferguson, third to Dajah Carter, and the award for Most Original Pumpkin went to Angie Harri.

MSMS would like to thank Country Pumpkins of Caledonia for donating the pumpkins.

more pumpkins!

Science Carnival 2015

On Tuesday, October 27, 2015 the Mississippi School for Mathematics and Science in Columbus, Mississippi hosted its 21st annual Science Carnival.

More than one thousand second and third graders from the surrounding area were delighted by demonstrations that displayed the fundamentals of chemistry, biology, and physics.

All the Carnival’s demonstrations were performed by current MSMS students, and it appeared the older students were learning just as much as the younger ones.

“It’s great for our students to get a chance to try to explain something to a younger audience,” said MSMS physics instructor Jed Leggett. “You really don’t know how well you understand something until you try to explain it to a third grader.”

This year’s Science Carnival was attended by Columbus schools: Franklin Elementary, Fairview Elementary, Sale Elementary, Columbus Christian School, Heritage Academy, Annunciation Catholic School, and Victory Christian Academy. It was also attended by West Clay Elementary, Church Hill Elementary, and Oak Hill Academy from Clay County and Central Academy in Noxubee County.

MSMS would like to thank all the students, teachers, staff members, and schools for making this year’s Science Carnival so engaging and entertaining.

MSMS is Mississippi’s only public, residential high school specifically designed to meet the needs of the state’s most academically gifted. For more information about MSMS, please visit,