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Welcome to the Brainstorm Blog! The primary news source the Mississippi School for Mathematics and Science (MSMS), Mississippi's only public, residential high school dedicated to the development of the state's most academically gifted students.

Monica Kala - MSMS Emissary of the Week


Monica Kala

Hometown: Clinton, MS
Home School: Clinton High School

"I was practically born and raised to come to MSMS. My family has older friends who have graduated from MSMS, and coming here was part of my plans from the 3rd grade. I had this preconceived idea of how I would learn mountains of subject material and improve my writing. However, while all of that is so very true, it is such a simplistic view of all that happens at MSMS.

Going to school with a bunch of smart people is intimidating; there’s no doubt about it. Before MSMS, I was concerned I wouldn’t fit in, wouldn’t make friends, and just basically wouldn’t be able to be myself. I couldn’t have been more wrong. In fact, at MSMS, I found part of myself. I discovered I could achieve, I could compete, and I could make a difference. The opportunities here are far beyond anything I could have imagined.

Currently, I am taking a class called Modern Physics. I had no idea I would love physics until I came to MSMS. Quite honestly, I probably would not have taken the class at my home school, but I took the chance my junior year, and now, it’s my favorite subject.

I always knew I enjoyed math and science, but I also felt as though I could not analyze literature or remember random history facts very well. Now, due to the history classes I have taken at MSMS, I have become a pro at writing. I’m cranking out as many as two essays an hour! Sure, it was hard at first, but with the guidance of Mr. Yarborough (my history teacher), I found that I can regularly complete tasks which others might find daunting.

English, too, has become an unexpected favorite class. English at MSMS, is nothing like English at my home school. I used to dread the subject and felt I never saw exactly the same thing the teacher saw in a piece of literature. Dr. Easterling (one of my English teachers) completely changed my perspective concerning English and literature. He showed me that I didn’t necessarily have to see what he saw in literature, but I could learn to appreciate other viewpoints within a text. This is a skill I’ve found I can apply to all aspects of life.

In the end for me, my favorite part of MSMS has nothing to do with the educational aspect of of the school. Many of my friends did not really enjoy their home schools, but my home school was a five star rated school. I absolutely loved being there. I had phenomenal friends, dedicated teachers, and a really awesome dog at home. But now that I’ve spent nearly 15 months at MSMS, I cannot imagine being anywhere else. Never have I ever felt more respected, loved, and important. The people here are the most caring people I have ever met. Every single one of my teachers tries his or her absolute hardest to make sure that I am not only learning, but happy as well. And this dedication extends to all my classmates. Many of my home school teachers left school around four - maybe 4:15 at the latest - everyday. In contrast, the teachers at MSMS are often on campus until at least five, and they even come back to campus at night to offer us additional help. I have seen teachers come during the evening as often as three times a week and I’ve even seen them come back on the weekends. And they are here to offer us additional help if we need it. I can go to my teachers about anything. It doesn’t matter whether it’s about school, friends, college applications – it’s absolutely amazing and unlike anything I have ever experienced.

Another major part of my life here are my friends. I cannot think of people I want to be around more. The connections you make with the people you live with here are amazing. Everyone knows a lot about each other, and there’s no judgment whatsoever.  You see your friends in class, at all three meals, and in the dorms. I sometimes spend 72 hours straight with my roommate, and I love every minute of it. At MSMS, I have found people who understand me and are willing to help. Despite what you might expect with this population, the atmosphere here is not cut throat, but encouraging. I, personally, feel as though I am happiest when my friends are successful along with me. We want one another to succeed. Just this past weekend, I sat around in a circle with my friends, and we edited each other’s college application essays, even though some of us are applying to the same universities. I feel as though the friendships I have made here will last forever.

Sometimes, I would much rather be taking a nap than going to science bowl practice or hanging out with my family instead of writing a 20 page lab report, but I wouldn’t take back my decision to come here for anything. MSMS has changed me, and I truly believe my future will be all the better because of it. I am indescribably happier today than I was July 28th, 2012: the first day I stepped onto this campus. " - Monica Kala, MSMS Class of 2015

Wade LeonardComment