Mississippi School for Mathematics and Science

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Mississippi School for Mathematics and Science

United States
TypeResidential public high school
NCES District ID2801194[1]
NCES School ID280119401201[2]
Executive DirectorGermain McConnell, Ph.D.
Number of students220 (approx.)
Color(s)Blue and white          
NicknameBlue Waves

The Mississippi School for Mathematics and Science (MSMS) is Mississippi's only public residential high school for academically gifted students and is located in Columbus, Mississippi, United States on the campus of the Mississippi University for Women. A member of the National Consortium for Secondary STEM Schools (NCSSS),[4] it is a statewide public magnet school.

Tenth-grade students are selected to attend through a competitive application process that includes standardized test scores, a written application, and an interview. The school enrolls students in the last two years of high school graduating over 100 students each year. The class of 2016 produced 11 National Merit Semifinalists.[5] While the main academic focus of MSMS is mathematics and science, humanities, particularly history, literature, and art are also emphasized.


Mississippi School for Mathematics and Science (MSMS) was founded in 1987 by appropriations from the Mississippi Legislature and was the fourth public, residential high school for academically gifted students created in the United States.[6]

As a public, residential high school, drawing students from all over the state, MSMS has occasionally struggled for existence. The property tax has been the sole form of finance for most schools in Mississippi.[7] However, MSMS which draws students from all over the state, cannot levy a millage tax as a source of funding.[8] It relies on grants as well as state, student, and alumni contributions.

Starting in 2008, the Mississippi Legislature required MSMS and its sister school, the Mississippi School of the Arts, to charge students $500 per semester for room and board costs, making them the only public schools in the state that charge students to attend.

Student activities[edit]


The Vision Online is the school's online newspaper. MSMS' Journalism department consists of writers, photographers, and web designers.

Southern Voices is a literary magazine and contest orchestrated by the members of the Creative Writing class. All students at MSMS are invited to submit works of poetry, short story, essay, and all types of visual art. The commonly accepted works of art have a slant on the culture of the school.

Clubs and organizations[edit]

Student Life at MSMS involves many different clubs in which students can get involved. Students are also offered the opportunity, if enough interest is shown, to organize their own club. Listed below are a few of the many activities available.

Mu Alpha Theta (ΜΑΘ) is the school's math club and chapter of the national math honors society of the same name. The members of this club facilitate ACT practice sessions, participate in the High School Mathematical Contest in Modeling (HiMCM), and compete in the statewide Mu Alpha Theta State Convention. MSMS has placed in the ΜΑΘ Convention very consistently, and more often than not wins first place.

Science Bowl is a competition-based club at MSMS with two teams of five competing in a competition called Science Bowl, which is a buzzer based science trivia game. Categories have shifted over the years, but Chemistry, Biology, Physics, and Mathematics have always been present. Other categories such as Energy, Computer Science, and Earth and Space have come and gone. The two teams participate in the statewide competition each year, and have won first place at the state level over 15 times since the early 1990s, when the club was founded. The winners of the state competition advance to the national competition, held in Washington, D.C. each year. MSMS has a longstanding history of attending National Science Bowl, and has placed in the top 16 in the country.

Science Fair is another organization MSMS sponsors in conjunction with its research program at Mississippi State University and the Mississippi University for Women where students have a chance to work with professors and graduate students on cutting-edge research and present their findings at the annual science fair. Students compete and place in the regional, state, and even the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair.

Science Olympiad is a club dedicated toward engaging in hands-on and creative approaches to science and engineering. Beginning in 2010, a team is selected to prepare and compete at the state convention in activities ranging from Fossils, Forensics, and Human Anatomy and Physiology to Chemistry Lab, Geological Mapping, and even an overview of time. Some of the activities involve on-site written tests while others involve building contraptions beforehand including but not limited to bridges, sensitive vehicles, and projectile launchers. MSMS placed 2nd in 2010 and 2012, and 3rd in 2011 at the state competitions. In 2013, 2014, and 2015, MSMS won the state competition, moving on each year to the National Science Olympiad tournament. Due to issues with funding, Science Olympiad will not be available at MSMS during the 2015-2016 school year.

The school has a very strong Chess Club and scored 15.5 points out of 20 to win the 2017 Mississippi K–12 Team Championship.[9] The Chess Club also hosted a tournament for the Mississippi Scholastic Chess Association on February 25, 2017 which included 2 sections (K–8 and K–12) rated by the United States Chess Federation.[10]


In addition to the wide variety of classes offered, MSMS also has a reputable sports program. The following are a few of the organized sports teams: Soccer, Swimming, Tennis, Ultimate Frisbee, and Cross Country. The tennis team has a long tradition of excellence, and won its division title in 2008 with MSMS's singles player placed No. 2 in the state. In both 2008 and 2009, MSMS's Zachary Patterson and Adam Powers won the No. 1 boys' doubles state title.[11] Ultimate Frisbee is not a MHSAA-certified team sport at MSMS, but is a popular extracurricular activity at MSMS, with students organizing multiple matches per week when the weather permits.


One of MSMS's main goals is to provide educational opportunities to communities throughout Mississippi. Students, staff, and faculty at MSMS work together each year with MSMS's Partners in Progress to provide a number of resources for students and teachers throughout the state. These programs include an annual science carnival, teaching Spanish to elementary students throughout the state, and the CHAMPS Project.


Throughout the years, several prestigious awards have arisen from MSMS in memory of notable administrators, teachers, and students that have worked to cultivate education and equality throughout the world. Some of these very selective honors include: United States Presidential Scholars Program, The Scholastic Art & Writing Awards, Intel ISEF, the MSMS Spirit Award, the Vel Anthony Award, the Chris Read Award for Fiction, the Shellie McKnight Memorial Music Award, the Abernethy Award for Excellence in Creative Writing, the Jack and Harweda Johnson Scholarship, the H. Butler Memorial History Award, the Carl H. Butler Community Service Award, and the Joseph A. Portera Leadership Award.

Campus life[edit]

MSMS has two residence halls. Boys reside in Frazer Hall and girls in Goen Hall. Each suite houses four people in two rooms. A bathroom connects these two rooms and is shared by all four roommates in the suite. Students can select from a variety of eating options. The Nancy Hogarth Dining Center has several options including vegetarian. Students may also eat at a Subway (restaurant) on-campus.

Annual events[edit]

MSMS has unique events that take place every year. They include:

  • Winter Formal – the annual winter dance, taking place sometime in December. A queen and king are crowned.
  • Tales from the Crypt – a multi-genre history project done by the Junior US History class of the same name. In the first half of the year, members of the class select a person buried in local historic Friendship Cemetery, built by the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, and research that person using primary document sources from the archives at Columbus-Lowndes County Library in Historic Downtown Columbus. In January, students write three- to five-minute monologues based on their research and audition in front of a panel of judges who, in the past, have been their classmates. Sixteen to eighteen people are selected to perform individually during the Tales event during Columbus's Spring Pilgrimage, and the other students work as guides, escorting audiences through the cemetery. Each year features a performance by "The Four Decoration Day Ladies", four women who gained fame by decorating the graves of both Union and Confederate soldiers. This action would later be known as Memorial Day. The project was originated by the late Mr. Carl Butler, and the class is taught by Mr. Chuck Yarborough. Each class chooses a public service in which to invest the proceeds from admission. [1]. The program was honored with the 2005 (MS) Governor's Award for Excellence in the Arts - School Division and a national finalist for The History Channel's "Save Our History" Award.[12]
  • Prom – held in May in typical prom fashion. A Prom King, Queen, Prince, and Princess are crowned.

Notable alumni[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Search for Public School Districts – District Detail for MS Sch For Math And Sc". National Center for Education Statistics. Institute of Education Sciences. Retrieved Nov 1, 2013.
  2. ^ "Search for Public Schools - MS School For Math And Science (280119401201)". National Center for Education Statistics. Institute of Education Sciences. Retrieved Nov 1, 2013.
  3. ^ Institution Summary, AdvancED, Retrieved 2012-07-11
  4. ^ "Institutional Members". ncsss.org. Retrieved 2016-03-09.
  5. ^ "Mississippi School for Mathematics and Science News Blog".
  6. ^ "The Mississippi School for Mathematics and Science". Archived from the original on 2007-04-20.
  7. ^ Poulin, Nicole (2010). "State Education Finance and Governance Profile: Mississippi". Peabody Journal of Education. 85: 80–83. doi:10.1080/01619560903523904.
  8. ^ "Advanced Ed Institution Summary". Retrieved 2013-10-31.
  9. ^ http://www.msscholasticchess.org/tournaments/team-individual-results/. Retrieved 2017-04-02. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  10. ^ http://www.msscholasticchess.org/tournaments/. Retrieved 2017-02-25. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  11. ^ http://www.misshsaa.com/LinkClick.aspx?fileticket=Gs2Vbc2X7kE%3D&tabid=90
  12. ^ "Local student performing in nationally-recognized, award-winning cemetery tour". The Picayune Item. Retrieved 5 July 2012.

External links[edit]