25plus-act-jan2016The Mississippi School of the Arts (MSA) earned the third highest average ACT® score in the state among juniors in 2015, according to recent data from the Mississippi Department of Education (MDE). The school’s score, 21.8, is also above state and national average. In 2015, MDE implemented mandatory ACT® testing for all juniors. The ACT® (American College Testing) is a national college admissions examination that consists of subject area tests in english, math, reading and science. Scores range from 1-36.

Seven of MSA’s seniors scored a 30 or higher on the ACT and 32 students scored a 25 or better. One Senior made a perfect score on the writing portion of the exam. This is a huge achievement for a high school of 128 juniors and seniors from all over the state of Mississippi. “Our school would have to be one of the most diverse high school campuses in the state” said Suzanne Hirsch, Executive Director. “Our students come from every area of our state with varying academic performance levels, and from every socio-economic environment. Their achievements not only in our state, but on a national level, never cease to amaze me. They make me proud daily.”

The accomplishments of these students, not only on the ACT, but also in the national and state recognition they receive in their art areas, translates into scholarship money for college. The 2015 graduating class of 55 received over 6.5 million dollars in college scholarship offers.

MSA students with scores of 30 or more on the ACT include: Joey Davis of Brookhaven, Olivia Vaughn of Decatur, Micaela Kostmayer of Biloxi, Christopher Melton of Brandon, Natalie Warden of Bay St. Louis, Julia Moak of McComb and Cyrus Neese of Ocean Springs.

Students with a 25 or more include: Abigail Baker of Bolton, Ali Arnold and Jessica Moore both of Natchez, Christian Reynolds and Piper Bott both of Meridian, Helen Greene of Canton, Anna Tyner of Clarksdale, Aerial Adams and Jayda Ross both of Jackson, Dawson Johnson of Hazlehurst, Nathaniel Jones of Saltillo, Javlyn Smith of Bay St. Louis, Vernell Allen of Brookhaven, Tyler Jones of Vaughan, Whiney Baker of Long Beach, Ann Hawks of Madison, Shiloh Alexander and Andrea Farve both of Perkinston, Savanah Hudson of Batesville, Angela Picarella of Picayune, Carlie Reeves of Kosciusko, Emily Schobey of Summit, Abbigail Smith of Carriere, Constance Gapp of Pontotoc and Alexis Weaver of Booneville and A’Mya Jones of Crystal Springs. A’Mya scored perfect on the writing portion of the exam.

Hirsch attributes the high ACT® scores to several factors including the total staff commitment and the emphasis MSA puts into preparation for the ACT with its ACT prep coordinator, Dot McClendon. Prep includes weekly gatherings in the evening to prepare for the ACT and school-wide ACT workshops in September and March on the MSA campus which MSA students are able to attend free. “We have witnessed many of our students’ overall ACT composite scores increase significantly from the time they apply to the time they graduate due to these efforts. This is such an achievement due to the rigorous schedule, community service and extracurricular activities these students have while at MSA,” added Hirsch.

The Mississippi School of the Arts (MSA) is an eleventh and twelfth grade visual and performing arts residential, public high school located on the historic Whitworth College campus in Brookhaven, MS. Students not only meet and exceed the traditional Mississippi high school curriculum, they receive special instruction in visual arts, media arts, vocal music, dance, literary arts and theatre. Students interested in MSA apply their high school sophomore year.

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