The following is a press release: 

April 15, 2020

Dear Class of 2020 and family,

On behalf of the Mississippi School of the Arts, I am sending you most heartfelt wishes for health and safety. In the wake of COVID-19, we are in a constant state of adjustment. However, we must acknowledge you despite it all. With all it takes to get in to MSA, to persevere through the long days, the creative process, and the production of work you deserve to be celebrated properly. In our comprehensive planning to showcase your final work as students of MSA, we will be sending you individual discipline based instruction. With regard to the monumental commencement exercises that are a right of passage for every high school senior, we have developed the following plan.

MSA class of 2016 at commencement ceremony. Along with the MSA senior class of 2020, this year marks the undergraduate commencement for many alums in the MSA class of 2016. Congrats to all!

Beginning May 8 through May 19, each student will have their own personal graduation ceremony. Students will receive their cap and gown with cords upon move out from campus (by appointment). Students and only the people with whom they live/immediate family (a maximum of 5 people) may arrive at an appointed time to the front of Lampton. The family and the student will enter Lampton Auditorium for their ceremony, walk across the stage to receive their awards and diploma cover, pause for your family to take a photo, and exit the side door to ring the bell in the middle of campus. The family must immediately depart campus following the ceremony. A video will be made of each student walking and ringing the bell. Those videos will be edited together and include the alma mater, speeches of the valedictorian, salutatorian, administration, and each student. The video will be broadcast on Friday, May 22 at 2pm on YouTube. Families and students can see a complete ceremony at that time, our original date for graduation. Each graduate will get a copy of the ceremony with their diploma and final transcript in the mail.

A letter with each student’s appointment time will be sent by mail and email on Tuesday, April 21 along with safety protocols required for all participants. We will do several each day by arts discipline. In order to guarantee proper sanitation of the venue between each student, the assigned appointment times need to be honored and families must be punctual.

It is our hope that students will recognize our respect for the immense hard work it has taken to get to this point in your lives. Especially as a student at MSA, where you work longer and harder than most any student anywhere. We do hope the education you have earned at MSA will serve you well. Light is a constant beacon for us at MSA. Rising from the ashes, as a Phoenix, we imagine, create, and realize a better world in which to live and work. It is our hope this graduation, while not as we planned will recognize you properly. We want each of you to know how very important you are to this world. No matter where you go from here, we hope a little light will shine in you from our humble Brookhaven campus. See you soon.

Suzanne Hirsch, Executive Director
Debra Henderson, Principal

» Watch the commencement ceremony

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Now we rise, we fly, we shine.