COLUMBUS, Mississippi -- Students from the Mississippi School for Mathematics and Science are accustomed to hard work. On Wednesday October 14, 2015, however, the students applied that ethic outside the classroom and toward the community at large.
Approximately 240 MSMS students, spent the day serving people and organizations in the Columbus-Lowndes County community. Students were able to choose between four service projects. One group spent the day at Columbus Middle School where they tutored middle school students in mathematics. A second group cleared litter from the Columbus Riverwalk, a third spent the afternoon with the children of the Palmer Home for Children, and a fourth worked at the Columbus- Lowndes Humane Society.
The first group worked all day long seventh and eighth grade mathematics students at Columbus Middle School. The older students were able to share their passion for math with the younger students, and show them that math can be as fun and engaging as any other subject.
“Hearing middle school students genuinely excited to do math was a treat,” said MSMS mathematics instructor Lauren Zarandona. “Knowing that the hard work of MSMS students made it possible was even better.”
The second group worked at the Columbus River Walk, where they spent the afternoon cleaning up litter and generally beautifying the park. One student said the experience reminded him of other service projects he was involved with in his hometown.
“I really enjoyed it,” said MSMS senior West Givens. “I used to help out with Rotary cleanups in Senatobia where I’m from. I’d work with my dad cleaning up trash along the highways. This reminded me a lot of doing that.”
The group that spent the day at the Palmer Home were able to engage with the children who live there and help tidy up the grounds of the facility.
“This was nice because as busy students we can forget how therapeutic it can be to spend a little time in the great outdoors,” said Emily Williamson, an MSMS senior.
A final group of MSMS students chose to spend their time at the Columbus-Lowndes Humane Society, where they fed, cleaned, and walked the shelter’s animal population.
“I love animals,” said Jesse Pugsley, an MSMS senior. “My favorite part of the day was walking a German shepherd named Caeser.”
MSMS is founded upon four ideals: Scholarship, Creativity, Community, and Service. Wednesday’s Service Day was an exemplifier of the ideal of Service.
“We know that the students who choose to attend MSMS will be the future leaders of the state,” said MSMS Coordinator for Alumni and Public Relations Wade Leonard. “Part of leadership is understanding service, and understanding how to engage with the community. That’s why this service day is so important. It gets our students out of the classroom and out in the community where they can share their hard work and their varied and extraordinary talents. We are all very proud of them.”
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. For more information about MSMS, please visit www.themsms.org.
Additional reporting for this piece was done by MSMS senior West Givens. All photographs included in this piece are courtesy of Dr. Heath Stevens.