Doug Hoy, Director of Public Affairs/Communications at Georgia-Pacific, Monticello, presents the grant check for Junior and Senior Seminar classes to Suzanne Hirsch, Executive Director of the Mississippi School of the Arts . Pictured from left: Jennifer Jackson, MSA Director of School Advancement; Suzanne Hirsch, MSA Executive Director; Doug Hoy, Director of Public Affairs/Communications at Georgia-Pacific, Monticello; Debra Henderson, MSA Principal.

The Mississippi School of the Arts (MSA) recently received a $10,000.00 grant from Georgia-Pacific to help better prepare its students from across Mississippi to be productive citizens in society through Junior and Senior Seminar classes. “Students graduate from High School knowing how to read, write and do basic math, but many are simply not prepared for to be an adult. Through contact with our alumni, we have developed a program that enables students to have as much information as possible to thrive in life after high school,” said Suzanne Hirsch, MSA’s Executive Director. “The life skills classes and career readiness training will be invaluable to these students to utilize in their futures and increase their capability to contribute to society in a meaningful way.”

The support received from Georgia-Pacific will allow MSA to continue and expand this valuable program. Due to increased budget cuts from the state in education, which have increased another 5% for 2017-18, cuts to the program were being considered.

The Junior & Senior Seminar classes offer students critical information for their life after high school. The students research colleges, scholarships, and application procedures that they will need for decision making after graduation. ACT preparation work is offered to the students throughout the session. Career choices and aptitude processes will enable students to find areas of interest to research and build on for their futures. Information regarding financial management, personal work/life balance, car maintenance, CPR, use of fire extinguishers, insurance, taxes, basic sewing skills, and other aspects of being an adult are all covered during the seminars. Guest speakers and professionals in the various fields will help teach these skills.

MSA consistently ranks in the top 3 ACT scores in the state. 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 2017 graduating class of 55 received over $10.2 million dollars in college scholarship offers. Hirsch attributes the high ACT scores and scholarship offers to several factors including the total staff commitment and the emphasis MSA puts into preparation for the ACT and college through its Junior and Senior Seminar classes.

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