Leaving Home for Home
By Ashley Lang, a class of 2016 Literary Arts senior.
“Mississippi School of the Arts, a residential high school for juniors and seniors with artistic talents (such as literary arts, theatre, visual arts, vocal music, dance, and in 2016, media arts), is a special place.
MSA prepares students for their futures and sends them into the world with a great mindset for college. Leaving this school, students are destined to rise up. For example, the 2014 former Miss Mississippi and 2008 American Idol finalist, Jasmine Murray, graduated in Class of 2010. Two of MSA’s alumni, Noel Quave and Aubree Riggle, are Fulbright Scholars and many are national award winners in Scholastics Art and Writing.
The class of 2015 had 55 graduates, but received over six million dollars in scholarships. This year we have 140 students that come from 48 counties of Mississippi. MSA offers highly qualified teachers that are nationally recognized and award winning so students can be sure that they are receiving education from the best of the best.
I discovered the school, or rather the school discovered me, my sophomore year of high school. Immediately, coming here became my mission. Of course, my mom was completely against me leaving home to attend a school three hours away with people she was not familiar with, but after she visited the campus and got a sense of the loving atmosphere, she felt much better about it.
Every year MSA hosts an Experience MSA Day for interested students to tour the school. When I stepped on the campus, I felt completely at home. My heart smiled and that smile couldn’t be wiped away.
After applying and auditioning for the school, I knew, in my heart at least, that I was accepted–and all I had to do was wait for my acceptance letter as confirmation. I loved the idea of being surrounded by people who were deeply passionate about their interests of study. I especially loved that there were people who had a passion for writing, like me. “What if you don’t get in?” I responded, “Don’t even say that. I believe in myself and you should believe in me, too. If I don’t believe, it won’t happen. I’m going to MSA.”
Becoming a “Phoenix” was one of the best decisions of my life. The phoenix, MSA’s mascot, is a mythological bird that is cyclically
reborn and associated with the sun. The phoenix obtains new life by rising from its ashes. At MSA, we rise, we fly, and we shine. We grow into artists that will be the change for our generation and the future. IF it was not for this place, I would not have the strength, skills, wisdom, and abilities that I have now. MSA has helped me to firmly plant my roots into who I will soon be.
This was the best two years of my life, and I wouldn’t trade it for anything. I wish everyone could have this experience. I’ve made friends and met people that have had great impacts and positively influenced my life. Life in the dormitory offers opportunities to be around friends and to play games to pass time and have fun. Most games on campus are random, and we make them up as we go. One weekend, we may have a water balloon fight. Another weekend, we may be on the first floor of the Student Life Center with bananas and string cheese pretending to be in the middle of war using the bananas and cheese as weapons. Once I graduate, I’ll look back on my life and miss this. MSA has enriched my life, and because of this school, I know I’m ready for the world and all the opportunities it has for me.”
Article written by Ashley Lang, a Literary Arts senior at Mississippi School of the Arts. This entry was recently contributed to the Fall 2015 edition of the Hometown Brookhaven magazine, a publication currently in its second year of service.
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