With blue wave flags waving and emissaries racing around in bright pink shirts, the front steps and lobby of Hooper Academic building were bustling with activity on the morning of Tuesday, Sept. 22. Approximately 30 Mississippi businessmen, politicians and other leaders visited campus during the MSMS Open House, to learn about “the school in their backyard.”
By Rachel Bobo, Editor-In-Chief of the Vision
The morning activities were part of a two-part Open House event geared towards establishing further professional partnerships and increasing community awareness of MSMS. To introduce visitors to the concept of MSMS, presentations and optional tours were offered to invited guests in the morning and community members in the afternoon.
“We had some key people there who had an opportunity to hear more about the school and some of the great things we are doing,” said Dr. Germain McConnell. “We gave them a complete picture of everything, saying this is who were are in general.”
The 50-minute presentation, which covered both the unique academic offerings and residential aspects of MSMS, included speeches from teachers Thomas Easterling, Chuck Yarborough, Emma Richardson, Lauren Zarandona and Jed Leggett and students Jenny Bobo, Michelle Li, Deldrick Adams and Summar McGee. Administrators, alumni and other individuals connected to MSMS also spoke on the merits of varying components of MSMS life during both sessions.
“Even though my allotted time was very brief, I managed to include a few jokes to keep the information-heavy presentation lighter,” said Jenny Bobo, who presented the residential experience of MSMS. “Overall, I think the Open House is the beginning of a new connection for MSMS to the outside world.”
“The presentation was an outflow of what we are doing to accomplish our mission,” said McConnell who also spoke during the presentation. After an informative questions and answers session, some visitors also went on optional tours led by MSMS Emissaries. While looking in on classrooms and model dorm rooms, visitors got a chance to see many of the presentation’s topics in real life.
“We gave a complete picture of everything. It’s really saying this is who we are in general; we are a public residential high school and this is our mission,” said McConnell. Current school projects relating to the MSMS mission and ideals were emphasized along with future plans for internal improvement and community outreach. From facility improvement to the launch of the developing entrepreneurship and engineering programs, visitors learned about the varying directions of growth planned for MSMS.
“I am very pleased with the way the day went and the presentation,” said McConnell. “It took a while to prepare; we had a couple of meetings just to make sure everybody is on the same page. I’ve heard great responses from those who were present about how it flowed very well and they really got a great sense about what this school is about.”
As the first event of this variety and scale, the 2015 MSMS Open House allowed curious Mississippians to get a closer view of the inner workings of a specialized residential public high school. Through positive interactions and potential future events like the Open House, MSMS administration and community members hope to establish further partnerships with the “outside world.”