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MSA students return for alumni association events

They traveled several hours from the Memphis, Tenn. area tovisit their former stomping grounds.

Just young enough to be looking for careers, the two were someof the oldest of the Mississippi School of the Arts AlumniAssociation to visit their former school on Saturday. However, thetrip for Brianna Moore and Jessica Sprenkle, members of theschool’s first graduating class, was like coming home.

“When you live with people for two years, they kind of becomefamily,” said Moore. “Everybody knows everybody.”

Roughly 40 members of the MSA Alumni Association met on theschool’s campus to catch up with old friends and share stories andmemories of their time while studying at the school. Whilepersonalities maybe matured over the years and former MSA studentsfound themselves in fields other that the arts, some MSA alumnifound their school to be as they remembered.

“I think the strangest thing is when you see old classmates,it’s like you just saw them yesterday,” said Moore. “It doesn’tfeel like five or six years have passed.”

Moore’s classmate, Sprenkle, said she thought the same thing ofvisiting her old “home.”

“It kind of feels like you’re 16 again,” said Sprenkle.”

Walking the halls and looking at current students’ work orseeing old pieces scattered around the campus was like a trip downmemory lane for most graduates. However, the weekend was about morethan gathering on the former Whitworth campus to discuss currentevents and restart old friendships.

“It’s not a reunion, it’s more of a homecoming,” said MSADirector Suzanne Hirsch.

MSA graduates were invited to a weekend devoted toreestablishing the connections between the school and formerstudents. The alumni were invited to a dinner on Friday and to adance Saturday evening.

However, the real purpose of the weekend was to continue thegrowth of the MSA Alumni Association with the organization’s secondmeeting Saturday afternoon.

“Every school needs to keep in touch with their graduates,” saidHirsch. “You never know how we’ll be able to help each other.”

During the meeting, members elected new officers, discussed waysto improve the association and began brainstorming about futureactivates. Not even a year old, the group is faced with thechallenging task of starting a new organization and thedifficulties of keeping such young alumni involved within theassociation.

“Right now, we’re not asking a whole lot in the beginning,” saidPhoenix McKissack, who will become the alumni association presidentin May. “Really, (participating) is going to be the key, lettingthe students know we’re here.”

While most members enjoy the fellowship the organization bringsto one another, many could see the benefits of having theassociation available for current students.

“I’ve been out of college a long time,” said Hirsch. “Someone’sgoing to talk to me about my college experience and it’s going tobe very different than it is now.”

Studying at MSA can often create unique experiences for studentsand graduating from the school can leave students wondering how tocontinue their education in the arts.

“We want to come back and tell them this is what the real worldis like,” said McKissack. “It’s so important to have people in yourlife to look up to who know where you have been.”