School of the Arts celebrates ‘those who dared to dream’

Published 11:11 am Friday, May 24, 2024

In its 20th graduating class, the Mississippi School of the Arts conferred high school diplomas on 37 graduates.

MSA Executive Director Dr. Suzanne Hirsch told the graduates and supporters that light makes vision possible.

“I believe education also makes vision possible,” she said. “Be the light in the darkness.”

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No matter if students remained in the arts or pursued other paths for their lives, Hirsch said, “Your success, to us, means you have found your happiness.”

Salutatorian Isana Chapman said she had grown during her time at MSA to see the arts as something she does for expression, rather than for acknowledgement.

Valedictorian Aarah Mayor reminded her classmates to “be mindful of why you are graduating today,” that their hard work and the support of teachers and family got them where they are.

Both Chapman and Mayor said they had experienced low points that had ultimately taught them how to keep going.

Dr. Nickie Floyd, a 2010 MSA alum, was the guest speaker for the ceremonies. He encouraged the seniors with his comments — “This moment had to be special because you are special”; “We are all … celebrating you, those who dared to dream”; and “Remember, the only box you’ll ever be in is the one you put around yourself.”

The 37 MSA graduates were offered more than $8.3 million in scholarships, and approximately 80 percent finished with a grade-point average of 3.75 or higher.