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MSMS Hosts Annual Mathematics Tournament
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The Mississippi School for Mathematics and Science (MSMS) hosted the annual Mathematics Tournament for all Mississippi high school students on Thursday, March 1 at Trotter Convention Center. Beginning at 8:00AM, hundreds of high school students, representing 26 different schools from all across the state flocked to Columbus to participate in this incredible tournament, sponsored by the MSMS branch of Mu Alpha Theta, a national high school mathematics honor society. 

In total, roughly 650 students participated in this year’s Mathematics Tournament. The event featured ciphering, written tests, a mini-interschool competition, and a potpourri round. There was also a special 100 Question Challenge that teams could try their hand at. 

There are five levels of competition: Algebra I, Geometry, Algebra II, Trigonometry, and Calculus. The event concluded with an awards ceremony to honor those individual contributors and teams placing in each category.  Schools from all across the state won awards and recognition for their mathematics prowess. 

Janie ShieldsComment
MSMS Celebrates Black History Month
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On Thursday, March 1, the Mississippi School for Mathematics and Science's Black Student Alliance hosted an engaging celebration of Black History Month. 

Black History Month was originally conceived of in 1926 by noted African American historian and scholar, Carter G. Woodson. Woodson went on to establish the "Association for the Study of Negro Life and Culture," with the intent to make black history accessible to all Americans. He believed that by spreading awareness about the incredible accomplishments and contributions of African Americans, he could shift racial relations in the United States. Black History Month became a month-long national celebration in 1976. Since the mid-70s, schools, universities, community groups, and nonprofit organizations have worked together to ensure that African American history and culture remain at the forefront of American discourse.  

The Black Student Association put together a riveting event that featured poetry readings of works of art by famous black authors, as well as readings and reenactments that celebrated key events in African American history. The event also included music by MSMS's own Voices in Harmony, a Black Lives Matter tribute, and a powerful dance number. 

A special thank you to Dr. Ty Crook who serves as the faculty sponsor for the Black Student Association and was instrumental in overseeing this year's Black History Month celebration. 

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MMSC Faces Competition in Starkville
 Photo Credit: Julie Heintz

Photo Credit: Julie Heintz

By Brady Suttles, News Editor for The Vision

Reposted from February 26 2018 Edition of The Vision available online here

The MSMS Mississippi Model Security Council (MMSC) team competed in their yearly competition in the Union on the campus of Mississippi State. MSMS teams represented the countries of the United States, Japan, France, Russia, Sweden and more.

The MMSC website states the goal of MMSC is to expose “high school students to the world of international politics through stimulating debate centered around solving world issues.”

The students represent different countries of the Security Council of the United Nations, the primary body that maintains international peace for the world. The represented countries then debate resolutions submitted by the different delegations. The teams follow Robert’s Rules of Order in the debates and argue over resolutions.

“The debate follows Robert’s Rules of Order, so the debate is definitely done in a pretty formal setting. With that being said, it still is such an entertaining experience, as debates get heated quite often,” junior Lori Feng said.

The teams debated in the numerous panels of the competition. Each panel held about 15 different countries. There were seven panels, and all of the MSMS teams were split up among them. In the panels, students follow parliamentary procedure where amendments are submitted to the resolutions and the students are able to question other delegates about their resolutions.

Awards for the Best Delegation, Best Resolution and Most Improved are handed out at the end of the debate by the council president who evaluates the delegation’s performances. The president can decide to give out other awards as well. Numerous other awards were given out including Best Dressed, Most Knowledgeable and Most Likely to be a UN Delegate.

“MSMS showed up, sweeping both the competition off their feet and the awards from their hands. All awards are thanks to a lot of hard work and guidance from Ms. Heintz, and the competition was great to be a part of,” senior Cody Welborn said.

“I really enjoyed MMSC because it allowed me to debate foreign policy issues in a semi-formal environment with really cool people,” junior Hamilton Wan said.

“Model security has been such a journey. The senior officers definitely spent much effort and time in helping juniors, and we have been holding mock debates since last year. It was definitely such an enriching experience, as I expanded upon my knowledge on foreign affairs and improved my public speaking skills. I was also able to meet with talented individuals from Oxford, Madison Central and Gulfport high schools, and that only added to the experience,” Feng stated.

“The MMSC competition was really fun. The atmosphere was just so much different than our traditional practices, and it encouraged everyone to diplomatically speak on the matter at hand,” added junior Josh Seid.

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MSMS Places in the HiMCM Competition

The Consortium for Mathematics and its Applications (COMAP) recently held its twentieth Annual High School Mathematical Contest in Modeling (HiMCM). Over 938 teams, representing 256 schools all across the world participated in this year’s competition.

HiMCM was designed to provide students with an opportunity to work together as a team in a contest environment to stimulate and improve their problem solving and writing skills. The competition focuses on a real-world problem for a consecutive thirty-six hour time frame. Teams then submit their solution papers at the end of that time period for centralized judging. 


William Johnson, Leah Pettit, Victoria Gong, and Connor Chitmon received recognition as a competition finalist, scoring in the top 8% of all competing teams! Gary Nguyen, Lori Feng, Hamilton Wan, and Michelle Luo also received praise for scoring in the top 20% of all teams. Congratulations to these students for their hard work and achievement! A special thank you for Dr. Benge and the math faculty for supporting these students on through this endeavor.

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MSMS Robotics Team Competes at State

By Mariat Thankachan

After triumphing in the regional qualifiers, the MSMS Robotics Team advanced to the State Level competition held at the University of Mississippi on February 17. This was the first time the MSMS Robotics Team had competed at State, ranking 12 amongst 24 teams. 

Senior Jim Zhang is a member of the Robotics Team who oversaw the development of the competing robot. 

“It was our first year and we were just happy to have made it to State. We prepared by having practices three times a week for first semester, and almost every day after Christmas break. Everyone put in a lot of time, there was one night that we worked until 6:00 AM, and then woke up at 10 AM for another practice. We designed, coded, and built our robot from lots of different materials, such as wood, 3D-printed filament, extruded aluminum, TETRIX metal,” Zhang stated. 

The team undoubtedly spent countless hours on the project designing, developing, and practicing the functions of the robot. 

“The robot was designed on CAD using OnShape. CAD is Computer Aided Design. The students and I met and discussed what we wanted the robot to do and then the parts were drawn in a two-dimension and then they were extruded to given three-dimensional volume. We didn’t do as well as we’d liked, but the team worked really hard. Next year, I think that we’ll do a lot better,” Robotics Team Adviser Josh Crowson explained. 

The setup of the competition involves teams of two robots on each side that would try to get as many points as possible for their alliance. Then, the members on each alliance would change until a different robot competes each time. Judged on more than just robot performance, awards are presented for sportsmanship, outreach, and how well the team documented their journey in an engineering notebook. 

The team named their robot “CJ,” short for Change Jar. The third robot that the team designed, CJ was made out of whatever spare parts the team found randomly in the Engineering Shop. 

“He was originally an insurance robot, where we put our spare people while working on our main bot, but now he's become the apple of our eye. We built it through a lot of late nights and hot glue,” Zhang described. 

Building a robot from scratch is no easy feat. The team overcame numerous obstacles while brainstorming their ideas. 

“We got to work through a lot of problems that I certainly wasn’t expecting to be able to do. It was cool because none of us really knew what we were doing, but somehow we managed to make a robot that worked,” Leah Pettit, one of the programmers, said. 

One of the issues the team encountered was the lack of time for preparation. Having to balance extensive schoolwork and other extracurricular activities, meetings were often difficult to organize. 

Junior team member Devin Chen explains the difference between the MSMS team and their competitors through his experiences participating in the competition. 

“This year, my robotics experience was quite interesting as coming into MSMS I had never had the exposure to the types of things involved with robotics, such as the programming or the mechanical engineering aspect. It was both mind-boggling and humbling at the same time to be a part of such an extensive project where so much work had to be put in with results not always guaranteed. I think what definitely sets us apart as from other robotics teams is the fact that we are students of MSMS. Oftentimes, I feel as if we are elevated on a pedestal of sorts in that we are viewed as having to be the absolute best at anything we try, and nothing short of it is acceptable. What often is forgotten is that we are students too, learning alongside our peers, often prone to the same mistakes others make. This pressure really intensifies the already strenuous work in addition to the time constraints placed upon us as students here. Most schools are free to invest significant amounts of time into their robot because they do not have many other commitments like we do here; in addition to this, the major contenders who placed within the top ten this year were all homeschool teams and according to them, were able to invest around five hours a day into their robot whereas our team was lucky to have a consistent one hour a day meeting basis. Another thing that set us apart was the fact that we are a rookie (first year) team whereas most teams competing were veteran teams who have years of experience under their belt. All in all, State was a great opportunity for learning as well as a chance to explore new innovative areas of growth for MSMS and help put the name of our school out there for even more people to experience the incredible experiences so many individuals have been able to partake in,” Chen offered. 

The team agrees that while they did not dominate the competition, all members received the opportunity to discover new passions and explore their critical thinking skills. 

Zhang commented, “I feel like this robotics season made me grow a lot personally. It was humbling having such a great team to work with, and to be part of the FIRST family, networking and connecting with other teams across the south. I think we did really well considering our inexperience, and I'm excited to see what they can accomplish next year.”

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