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Meridian student enjoys challenge of MSMS

By By Steve Gillespie/staff writer
Jan. 3, 2002
Lauren King of Meridian is considering a future in microbiological research.
As a senior at the Mississippi School for Mathematics and Science in Columbus, she has a good head start in making her dream come true.
King is one of at least six seniors from Lauderdale County attending MSMS this year, a public boarding school for academically gifted 11th and 12th grade students.
MSMS, established in 1987, is on the campus of Mississippi University for Women. The school's 281 students live in dorms on the MUW campus.
Tough schedule
This semester, King's schedule includes such classes as human and infectious diseases; conflicts between literature and science; electromagnetism and waves; logic and game theory; ecology; and drama.
One of the determining factors that sparked King's interest in microbiological research was a discussion class she took last semester that studied chemical and biological warfare.
The topic, chosen by the students, was selected before the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on the United States and the anthrax cases that emerged afterward.
Although King said the advanced courses are tough at MSMS, she still enjoys the challenge.
Academic courses
King appreciates the access of science labs at the school and the wide range of subjects. For example, she took a Shakespeare course last semester instead of English 4 which she would have taken in the local public school district.
For now, King has narrowed her choice of colleges to two: The University of the South, in Sewannee, Tenn., and Millsaps in Jackson. Wherever she goes, her mother, Pam King, said her daughter will be well prepared.
Pam is the senior class representative for the East Central area of the school's parent group called PLUS, an acronym for Parents Lending United Support.
She said MSMS has been wonderful for her daughter.
Independent students
Pam said her daughter has "grown up so much this year and gone through a lot of things kids don't usually go through until they go to college, like adjusting to being away from home and learning time management. We don't worry so much about her starting college now."
MSMS sets mandatory study hours from 8 p.m.-10 p.m. and many of the students' privileges are based on their grades and behavior. Faculty members, a large percentage of whom hold doctorates, tutor after classes.
She also said the school holds more social activities than normal high schools, something in which she is heavily involved through PLUS. The organization funds many activities and also makes purchases for the dorms.
FACTS ABOUT THE MISSISSIPPI SCHOOL FOR MATHEMATICS AND SCIENCE:
Located in the middle of the historic Mississippi University for Women campus in Columbus.
Boarding school for academically gifted 11th and 12th graders; courses taught at honors level.
School has 281 students, 141 girls and 140 boys, enrolled this year.
Outreach programs sustained by corporate grants and private donations to The MSMS Foundation include the following:
An October Science Carnival for second- and third-graders, introducing them to chemistry, physics and biology.
The Marathon Mathematics Tournament each spring for junior high and high school students.
For more information about the school, visit the Web site at http://www.msms.k12.ms.us.

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