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MSMS Funding Crisis: Cut the Cuts!

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MSMS, or the Mississippi School for Mathematics and Science, is an immensely valuable resource for students in a state where higher education isn't always seen as necessary or even feasible. 

MSMS is the state of Mississippi's only public, residential high school specifically designed to meet the needs of the Magnolia State's most academically gifted and talented students. Each year, MSMS graduates are offered millions of dollars in scholarships - the Class of 2017 alone was offered more than $28 million. MSMS has also been consistently listed as one of the best high schools in America.

The average ACT score for MSMS students in 2016 (28.3) was 7.5 points higher than the national average, but as achievement numbers rise, state funding for the school has dropped - from roughly $4.9 million in 2008 to $4.3 million this school year. While MSMS has 300 beds for students, enrollment is now capped at 235. 

We asked a few current students and alumni some questions about MSMS:

1. How has MSMS helped you?

MSMS gave me an opportunity to go above and beyond what I could do at a traditional high school. It prepared me for college, my internship, and living on my own. - Kristen Fausnight-Conguista, co2015

MSMS has helped me realize my potential as a student and as a leader. It helped me in gaining a perspective on the scope of the world around me and all that it has to offer while also making me understand the potential I have to contribute positively to the world we live in. It gave me a confidence that I lacked before and made me more motivated to make a positive change to my community. -Keely Brewer, co2018

MSMS helped me learn to love myself and that being intellectual and having a thirst for knowledge was a good thing. It showed me that there are actually quite a lot of people who value education and knowledge over things like sports or family names. It was a place where I fit in but was still allowed to be an individual instead of being known as "the smart girl" and dealing with labels such as "teacher's pet". It was comforting to be around people who had vast dreams and goals for the future instead of simply following in their parents' footsteps or doing what they believed they were supposed to be doing. - Sarah Anderson, co2010 


2.Why did you decide to attend MSMS?

 I decided to attend MSMS when I realized that there was little opportunity or room for growth in my academic environment. I saw the potential for challenge and personal growth in a community that I knew would benefit me. -Keely Brewer, co2018

I felt like I was capable of more than was being offered at my home school. I wanted to meet new, like-minded peers. -Kristen Fausnight-Conguista, co2015

My brother, class of 2007, had gone before me and absolutely loved it. Some of the class projects he talked about sounded really amazing and were not things done at my current school. I also had been living in a small town for a few years at that point and didn't care deeply for the people I went to school with or the environment of the school. I was rarely, if ever challenged, even in the advanced classes. Most people in the town  I came from cared much more about the football team and cheerleaders than they did academics. I wanted to go to a school that would foster my love of learning and that would have other students who were like me in that aspect.            -Sarah Anderson, co2010 


3.How did MSMS prepare you for college?

 If I hadn't been exposed to the academic and social environment of MSMS and had to transition from my precious high school to college, I feel like that I would have suffered in more than just academics. I would have to learn how to take responsibly for my personal health and well being, keep up with higher level academic courses, manage my time sufficiently, and adjust to living with a roommate all while becoming accustomed to living away from home. MSMS gives you independence and responsibility while also helping you transition to the experience of more rigorous academics and living away from home. They also do everything in their power to help you succeed. These final years of high school have served as a transition to college that not every student is fortunate enough to have. -Keely Brewer, co2018

MSMS got me ready for the schedule of college and gave me the study habits I needed to keep a high gpa. It helped me learn better time management. -Kristen Fausnight-Conguista, co2015

MSMS prepared me incredibly well for college. I was already used to a heavier workload and actually needing to study, things I never would have been able to experience at my older school. I knew how to do proper scholarly research as well as include proper citation. They teach this in basic college classes but I was already ready for this. MSMS taught me to think critically and not be afraid of class participation. I had also learned how to be away from home for extended periods of time and didn't have to deal with homesickness when I went away to college as a result.  - Sarah Anderson, co2010 


4. What's so special about MSMS?

I met my best friend at MSMS. We were roommates our senior year, and now we're roommates in college. I met a lifelong friend there. I met amazing teachers that understood my learning style and helped me in the best way possible. My teachers never let me feel like I was less than other students because I had a harder time grasping some concepts. -Kristen Fausnight-Conguista, co2015

MSMS is a truly unique and amazing place! I'm still friends with people I med while attending school there and it's crazy and wonderful to see all the different life paths they've chosen. MSMS itself is a large community filled with people always willing to help out its fellow members. While still being a typical high school with different cliques, everyone felt like an extended family while attending. We all were there for the same purpose and that gave us a deeper bond. MSMS also encouraged a love of learning in any and all areas, not just math and science. - Sarah Anderson, co2010

MSMS is special because of the people it brings together. Most students won't experience the same level of exposure to diversity that an MSMS student will. We all learn to understand and work with people of different ethnic backgrounds, reglious upbringings, family situations, and opinions. MSMS is so special because despite any differences we have, we are all there for the same purpose. It's a special place for so many people because it provides a family that they may not have even realized they needed before. -Keely Brewer, co2018


What does MSMS mean to you?

MSMS is home to me. It's the school that reminded me that I am a person too. -Kristen Fausnight-Conguista, co2015

MSMS is based on four things: scholarship, service, community, and creativity. But to me, it is so much more than that. It means friends. It means family. It means home. It is a place where we gather to grow as individuals. MSMS means a school of future engineers, doctors, CEOs, CPAs, artists, musicians, mathematicians, biologists, physicists, and much, much more. MSMS means so much, you can’t even begin to describe it in words. - Daniel Smothers, co2018


MSMS means everything to me, and I feel confident that most students and alumni would give the same response. As an MSMS student, you arrive on Move-In Day typically not knowing anyone else on the campus. By the end of your first year, however, you're surrounded by a family that you didn't even realize you needed before. Arriving as a senior, you realize your time at this place is halfway over and promise to cherish every moment because you've realized the ways in which MSMS has sculpted you as an individual. In every situation where a person takes full advantage of the MSMS experience, that individual graduates from this school a stronger and smarter person than they arrived. MSMS is life changing for everyone willing to open themselves to the experience and the changes that it will make in their life. MSMS means that you can arrive to a new and unknown place and, very quickly, become a part of a community. MSMS means to me that you can reach your potential as a student and an individual and not feel ashamed for it. Attending MSMS means that you can take advantage of a life changing opportunity.  -Keely Brewer, co2018

MSMS has a special place in my heart. I'm so incredibly glad that I made the decision to apply. I'm also extremely proud of my alma mater, something I don't feel much for my previous schools or even my college. MSMS does indeed inspire excellence and greatness. I don't think I'd have ended up applying to the schools I did or settling on my major if it hadn't been for my experiences at MSMS. I'm still working on getting into my chosen career field as well as going back to school for my Masters, but MSMS gave me that drive and dedication to keep working towards my goals even when difficulties, such as finances, arise. I know to keep trying and finding different ways to approach the problems thanks to MSMS. Graduating from MSMS is one of my greatest accomplishments and a source of great pride for me.   - Sarah Anderson, co2010 


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