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Students from all over Mississippi filled The Phoenix on Thursday night, August 4th, as MSA celebrated the end of the first full day of school. The ceremonial dinner, a tradition held every year, is enjoyed by students and staff at the residential fine arts high school. Food service members work hard to prepare for the event, layering tables with cloths, spreading silverware, and tea in glasses. The menu was nothing less than wonderful: Chicken, steak, baked potatoes, steamed vegetables, house salad, and amazing cheesecake topped as desert. At the end of the feast, the top senior from each arts discipline was recognized for maintaining the highest GPA. Beginning the presentation, theatre senior and Student Government Association president, Ivy Malone, rung the hand bell of historic Whitworth College, which signified the time for dinner. Executive Director Suzanne Hirsch elaborated on the history of the significance of the event, nevertheless drawing a few tears from seniors as they realize it’s their last full year of high school, and more importantly, their last year at Mississippi School of the Arts.

candlelight2016-belltowerSeniors starting off the school year with the highest GPA in each discipline* include Grace Sanders in Dance, Dawson Johnson in Literary, Kaitlyn Whitehead in Theatre, Alexis Weaver in Visual, and Ambie McCoy in Vocal Music. Each senior lit a candle, then shared their flame with all other juniors and seniors in classes of 2017 and 2018.

After the ceremony, MSA students walked up the hill to the historic campus’ bell tower, where the recognized seniors each rung the campus bell, followed by a student body singing of MSA’s alma mater. “The bell, which dates back to the early 1920’s was used to signify the end of the school day and return to the dorm at Whitworth College”, said Suzanne Hirsch. The evening ended with a candlelight social gathering in the common area of the historic campus.

Candlelight 2016 represents the largest student body in MSA history, filling the Student Life Center to maximum capacity. Students are set to prepare themselves for a rigorous arts curriculum throughout the school year.

*Media Arts was not recognized since the 2016-2017 school year is the beginning of the new arts program.

Article photos are from our Instagram feed. Check out and follow the official Instagram feed for Mississippi School of the Arts @msabrookhaven.

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