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Searching for Lost Heroes

On Friday, October 12th, Julie Heintz’s University US History, University Western Civilization, and World War II students learned about remote sensing technologies and viewed the field work on a project to attempt to locate unmarked graves of Union soldiers buried in Columbus, Mississippi's', Friendship  Cemetery during the Civil War.  The Center for Archaeological Research at the University of Mississippi employed remote sensing including ground penetrating radar to search for the graves.

Those unmarked Friendship Cemetery graves of up to 10 soldiers and the graves of 32 other Union soldiers whose remains were moved to Corinth National Cemetery in 1867 and of over 2,100 Confederate soldiers were decorated with flowers by Columbus ladies on April 25, 1866. Their act of reconciliation received extensive national praise, inspired the poem "The Blue and the Gray" and was an event that led to the creation of Memorial Day. Their act of compassion was recognized by President Obama in his 2010 Memorial Day Address. The location of these Union soldier's graves was last referred to in 1919 and all that is now known of their location is that it was in the south west corner of the 1865 cemetery grounds. The location of these soldiers graves indicate they had probably served under General U. S. Grant and had died after the battle of Shiloh in 1862.

Through the use of non-invasive, remote sensing technologies,  archaeologists from the University of Mississippi attempted to locate the resting place of these American heroes whose graves played a central role in the origins of Memorial Day. 

This was a joint project of, the Center for Archaeological Research, University of Mississippi, the U S Grant Association and  U S Grant Presidential Library at Mississippi State University, and the Billups-Garth Foundation of Columbus, with assistance by the City of Columbus and the Columbus-Lowndes Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Janie ShieldsComment
MSMS Students Energize Energy Awareness Day

By: Lori Feng, MSMS Senior

Last Thursday, October 4th, a group of 20 MSMS physics students traveled to Flowood, Mississippi to present for Energy Awareness Day.

About 1,000 elementary and middle school students attended, and even though the Mississippi Development Authority hosted the event, and other companies and schools also gave presentations about energy usage and concepts.

MSMS Physics Instructor Dr. Charles Vaughan viewed the event as a great success.

“Energy Awareness Day’s main goal was to raise awareness about energy usage for various devises. Our contribution was to raise awareness as well, but also to participate in outreach so students can learn about MSMS,” he said, “I thought it was very successful from our end; all of the MSMS students were very engaged!”

MSMS Physics students and Energy Day presenters also thoroughly enjoyed the experience.

Hamilton Wan, an MSMS senior, said “I thought it was really fun, especially getting to introduce kids to electricity concepts, and I think they definitely learned a lot, judging by their ‘wows’ and radiated excitement. A lot of what we showed them was definitely unexpected for the students.”

Senior Victoria Gong agreed. “I had a good time presenting electricity to younger kids. It really made my heart soar when I could tell we had explained things in a way that connected with some kids and they nodded in understanding or when they answered our questions with excitement.”

Clearly, Energy Awareness Day was a success for both the students presenting!

Janie ShieldsComment
MSMS moves up in national ranking

For the second year in a row, the Mississippi School for Mathematics and Science (MSMS) has been ranked among the top public high schools in the nation by Niche.

MSMS was ranked the sixth Best Public School in the United States out of 18,841 public schools and faculty were ranked No. 1 for the second year in a row among 18,504 public high schools. It is the second year in a row for MSMS to be named among the top 10.

“This is not only a great achievement for MSMS, but also for the state of Mississippi,” said Dr. Germain McConnell, MSMS executive director. “We are an extension of other schools in Mississippi, proudly hosting students from all corners of the state.” 

He added, “the residential environment allows the institution to provide extensive learning experiences and leadership development for students both inside and outside the classroom that help them achieve extraordinary results.” 

“Some students see as much as a 10-13 point increase on their ACT composite scores over the two-year period they are enrolled with us,” said McConnell. “We continue to see our graduates garner prestigious national awards and scholarships.” Last year alone, the Class of 2018 accepted more than $9.7 million in scholarships, which is approximately $93,000 per graduate.  

To compile the rankings, Niche looked at data from the U.S. Department of Education as well as test scores, teacher-student ratio, graduation rates, college data and ratings collected from Niche users.

“The Niche ranking recognizes the results of the hard work and dedication of faculty, staff, and students,” said Dr. McConnell.

Esmond Tsang, a junior from D’Iberville, said, “At MSMS, students from all over Mississippi get to converge our talents in one place. Alongside our academic successes, there is no end to what the extracurriculars we may do and start. Only with the faculty (which happens to be number one in the nation) can so much be done. Daily, our teachers and administration teach, guide and support each one of us.”Quote from Esmond

MSMS math teacher, Lauren Zarandona, said, “Being part of the No. 1 faculty is confirmation that I work with dedicated, capable professionals who want to make a positive difference in the lives of their students. It also suggests that our institution as a whole supports teaching and learning; we thrive under supportive administration practices with students who have the necessary tools for mastery.”

MSMS is Mississippi’s only public, residential high school specifically designed to meet the needs of Mississippi’s most academically talented students. The school, which was established in 1987 and located on the campus of Mississippi University for Women in Columbus, Mississippi, serves high school juniors and seniors from every corner of the Magnolia State.

Additionally, MSMS is a member of the National Consortium for Secondary STEM schools (NCSSS), and at the founding was the fourth such school to exist in the nation.

A complete list of the rankings can be found at

Janie ShieldsComment
2018 Commencement
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Join us live on Saturday, May 26 at 11:00 am for the graduation of the MSMS Class of 2018. The 103 students who make up this class have accepted nearly $9.6 million in college aid, with the median being $66,903. 

Graduation will take place in Rent Auditorium on the campus of the Mississippi University for Women. This year's commencement speaker is Dr. J. Racquel Collins, Assistant Dean of St Jude Children's Research Hospital Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences. 

MSMS Student, Helen Peng, Wins Congressional Art Competition
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Helen Peng, current junior at the Mississippi School for Mathematics and Science, was selected as a winner for the 2018 Congressional Art Competition. Ms. Peng was selected to represent district one for the state of Mississippi by the Office of U.S. Congressman Trent Kelly.

The Congressional Art Competition is an annual event hosted by the Congressional Institute. It is a visual arts competition open to high school students across the United States with the aim of recognizing and showcasing artistic talent from each congressional district. Interested students submit their entries to their representative’s office to be judged by panels of artists from that district. Winners are recognized through a reception in their district and are then invited to attend a national awards ceremony in Washington, DC. The winning works of art are displayed in the U.S. Capitol for one year.

Ms. Peng was honored at a reception at Farmington City Hall on Thursday, April 26 and won two tickets to Washington, DC to attend the national reception in June. 

Janie ShieldsComment