MSMS Students Wrap Up Award Winning Tales Program for 2015

Christian Donoho

Once more, the living are living and the dead are dead as MSMS brings its nationally recognized Tales from the Crypt program to a close. After almost an entire year of cumulative research, script writing, performing, and overall dedication, students in Mr. Yarborough's US History class can breathe a collective sigh of relief and satisfaction as the majority of their hard work is behind them.

"It's a bittersweet situation," said West Givens, a performer who portrayed a deceased Confederate officer, "I now have more time for schoolwork, which is always good, but I'm sad that I won't get to perform as William Wiltshire Whitfield again."

For many others, the end of tales is a weight lifted off their shoulders. Jacob McDonald was a musical performer who played for people who passed between performances. "It feels like I've gotten out of Guantanamo Bay," said McDonald.


On the last day of Tales from the Crypt celebrations abounded thanks to parents generous cooking.

Jesse Pugsley

The Columbus Cemetary's famous Weeping Angel greets the Tales tourists and sets the somber mood of remembrance for the lantern-lit Tales from the Crypt performances.

The Tales program had performers who told the stories of the deceased, musicians who provided interludes, tour guides and narrators, as well as traffic directors and ticket dispensers who all worked to provide a great experience for the people who came. Students spent hours on end performing outside in Friendship Cemetery.
Each student in the program was required to spend a semester researching a person buried at the cemetery and writing a research paper detailing the person's life. The students then had to write scripts and compete to perform at the event.

Performers had some of the most difficult jobs of all. Lines had to be recited in character for hours on end for tour group after tour group. Other students spent the duration of the events directing cars to parking spaces and guiding groups from performance to performance.

The Tales from the Crypt program is one way that MSMS gives back to the community for its support. The performances are a major part of the Columbus Pilgrimage, where people from across the country come to see the historic buildings and sites.



Future Emissaries Emerge from Junior Class

Christian Donoho

As MSMS Seniors graduate high school, and move on to college, a few of them will be leaving open some important leadership positions. Emissary positions will be left open and it's up to the junior class to take up the mantle of the leadership position.

Rhet Hailey, who is applying to be a future emissary said, "I'm happy we can finally start emissary applications, I'm excited for my chance."
The interest meeting was held after a scheduling meeting for the incoming senior class. Almost the entire junior class stayed to hear Mr. Rick Smith talk about and explain the emissary position. There was so much interest by the class of 2016, that there were not enough application forms for the students attending the meeting.

The emissary application itself is no joke this year. Students who plan on applying for the position will have to write three essays with prompts that ask thought provoking questions such as who they would pick to be an emissary, what are their strengths and weaknesses, and how their time at MSMS has been a benefit to them.

The competition for the emissary positions will be fierce this year. Only around 30 emissary positions are offered and with so many people expressing interest in the application, a lot of juniors will be left out.

Christian Donoho

Hopeful applicant Rhet Hailey poses in his MSMS dress, something all future emissaries must wear during campus tours and other school events.

MSMS emissaries are charged with being the ideal students of the school. They demonstrate leadership by setting a good disciplinary and academic example for the rest of the student body. They also complete other tasks such as setting up for official events and offering tours for prospective, future MSMS families. Their main job is to help orient new juniors to life at MSMS. They offer friendship, advice, and support to make the transition from a traditional school easier.

Mr. Rick Smith, head of the emissary program said, "Nothing is more important, though, than their jobs as orientation leaders, helping the incoming juniors adjust to new surroundings, make new friends, and get off to a good start."
It's yet to be seen who will be chosen by the administration, but it's clear that there will be a lot of competition this year and the shoes those people have to fill will be huge.

Rhet also said, "It seems like a lot of responsibility, but I think it'll be worth it in the end."

MSMS Students Hit by Plethora of AP Tests

Christian Donoho

Rachel Bobo

While students learned course-long in preparation for the AP exams, some turned to the MSMS college corner where preparatory books sit under the joy-inspiring and anxiety-spurring banners of countless colleges.

The end of the year is here and for the students who signed up for advanced placementcourse, the time has come to take the advanced placement exams. As well as being more rigorous classes, students who enroll are required to take an end of the year exam that tests on all the material learned in each exam’s respective course.

The exams were held in Hooper Auditorium. Students were spread throughout the room as they filled out paper work detailing their personal information in the form of small, shaded bubbles. The room was full of anxiety, fear, and hope as students were instructed to begin the exams. The tests usually took three and a half hours to complete, depending on the subject.

“They seemed challenging at first, but when you take it, you realize it’s not all that bad,” said Vasu Srevatsan.

Tests are scored on a sale from 1 to 5 with 5 being the best score possible. Scoring well on the test means that a student can receive college credit for the college version of the class. The exact score needed for college credit depends entirely on the college that the student applies for but usually a score of 4 or 5 will qualify a student to receive college credit for the class. This can put them ahead in their upper education.

However, the testing season is not just for the students. As Director for Academic Affairs Kelly Brown said, “While the testing season of any high school is a tense time at MSMS, AP tests have an impact on different groups of people from individuals to the institution. AP tests results are used by faculty to determine which objectives they were able to teach to our students successfully. This data is used to shape instruction for the next year. As an administrator I use the results to see how teachers are shaping their curriculum.”

In addition to showing a teacher’s strengths and areas for improvement, the AP exams have a huge role to play in the school’s ranking and the prestige of the institution as a whole.


It Takes Six Hours to Throw a Ball:
MSMS Physics Club Participates in Catapult Competition
Michelle McCullum

On April 23, Ole Miss held a catapult competition for grades seven and up. The competition had four components: design, distance, accuracy, and set up and fire. The design section involves a scale drawing, a list of materials and total cost, safety features, construction, originality and creativity, and an interview with the team. In the distance portion all trebuchet teams will be allowed to launch for distance 3 times in three consecutive rounds. After the third round, the 3 trebuchets that launched a tennis ball the greatest average distance down the field were recognized for further competition. During the final round, all 3 teams will began with a score of zero. Each team had to launch 3 balls in 5 minutes. For the accuracy round three targets were placed on the ground, one at 15 yards, one at 20 yards and one at 30 yards. Teams received 15 points for making it in the 15-yard target, 20 points for the 20-yard target, & 30 points for the 30-yard target. In Round 3, the teams were able to “call their shot” by announcing at which distance they are aiming. If successful in the making their claimed target, teams were rewarded a 50% bonus. The Set-Up and Fire portion of the competition each team had been given 1 minute to fire 3 tennis balls at a 4ft x 4ft target which was placed at a randomly generated distance directly in front of each team’s trebuchet. One point is awarded per “hit.” Points were calculated and the top 3 teams were identified for 1st, 2nd, 3rd rankings.

Two trebuchet teams from MSMS were formed three weeks prior to the competition. The two competing teams included Joseph Scott, Michelle McCullum, Kishan Patel, and Jamarii Robinson on team O and Wesley McGrew, Noah Ulmer, and Xen Gaerlan on team P. The week after the teams were founded, a process to start planning had been developed by the team captains. In the end, the construction for the two trebuchets started three days before the competition. It took six long hours, three hours a day for two days, before the trebuchets were close to being finished. The morning of the competition, the teams met at six o’clock to finish what was left on the trebuchets. When they finally arrived at the competition grounds, final adjustments were made to the trebuchets and set them up for the competition. When the teams were set up, the design portion of the competition began. After lunch, the launching part of the competition began. Team O made it to the final round of the distance competition with an average of 110 yards. On the second launch of the three, the sling flew off of the trebuchet slowing down the motion of the ball. “It was a quick run to get everything and put it back together and do the last ball.” Kishan said. And a quick rush it was, The team timed in at two minutes and cheered happily. The minor setback placed them in fourth place in the section. The P team, had different problems. The ball did not want to launch at first. It actually went backwards. After a few modifications, the team got the ball to move forward and cheered happily when it went over five feet.

At the end of the competition, before the awards were announced, the four teams that made it to the last round of distance were asked to do a final launch to show off their work. When the judge got to the O team, he asked “What is original and unique about your design?” to which Kishan answered saying “Nothing. We didn’t build it for the competition. We built it out of necessity and to better ourselves.” The team agreed and did one final launch all together. Afterwards they went to celebrate the completion of their trebuchets with ice cream.