MSA grads told to ‘be kind,’ nurture artistic nature

Published 5:16 pm Friday, May 27, 2022

During its Friday graduation commencement at the Mary Jane Lampton Auditorium, the Mississippi School of the Arts welcomed back a former graduate as guest speaker.

Katie Ginn, founder and director of dance at William Carey University, spoke to the graduating class of the highs and lows they’ll experience out in the world, but also of the magic of being creative.

“After the excitement of graduation and parties, when everything dies down, sit down and write out a contract between you and your art,” she said, comparing the students’ relationship with art like that of a marriage. “Make a promise to yourself and your heart. Being artistic isn’t about suffering, but having one of the greatest relationships of your lives.”

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Ginn was recently named to the school’s 2022 Alumni Hall of Fame.

Among other speeches, including from Dr. Suzanne Hirsch, Dr. Kim Benton and the top scorers from the school, the themes most speakers mentioned where to follow their dreams, to live in the moment but plan for the future, that creativity makes life a whole lot more interesting and the importance of keeping the artistic part of them true and alive.

The Mississippi School of the Arts’ 2022 graduation class included 48 percent of students with a 3.7 or higher grade point average, 32 percent also named as Mississippi Scholars and 81 percent who brought in a more than $3.5 million in scholarships. As is usual for the school, 100 percent of the graduating class succeed successfully to graduation.

Graduates included MyKayla Janae Hall, valedictorian; Lillian Janell Denney, salutatorian; Gracie Lynn Alford, Alyssa Joelle Bergen, Kayla Brien Braswell, Skyeler Stevens Breland, Aubrey Elizabeth Brink, A’Kenziah Ja’lelle Brown, Mayleen Michelle Candelario, Leigh Michael Cannon, Derrick Terrell Carter, Ashley A’terrius Charles, Ethan Isaiah Archer Lindsey Dye, Kelly Elizabeth Eubanks, Roslyn Olivia Evans-Walker, Ilia Issabella Giammarco, Cassie Nicole Gonzalez, Sara Katherine Hebert, Paige Symone Henry, Jada Avyon Hunt, Anton Keiwan Jackson, Christen Maria Johnson, Khad’eja Amali Johnson, Ryan Elyse Johnson, Sydney Denise Knotts, Haley Dani Ladner, Taylor Noelle Lafayette, Zada Annelise McGreger, Jimena Medina, Diego Valente Mendez, Elizabeth Grace Merritte, Talanda Pearlyshia Miller, Kurtai’ Fantasia Mitchell, Anna Marie Sasser, Erica Michelle Smith, Lauren Elizabeth Stamps, Nykolis Deezil Stevens, Sierra Seleste Swims, Juliana Rain Walley, Zoe Simone-Mahlon Washington, Aliyah Christiana Watts, Madison Bailey White and Mara Lynn Zehentner.