Class of 2021 inducted at annual Ceremony of Lights


Courtesy of Kyle McDuffie

Newly-inducted juniors gathered to take photos, documenting their first step in this 2-year journey.

Davan Reece, Managing Editor

Every year, new students at the Mississippi School for Mathematics and Science converge onto the campus in search of new friends and new opportunities. They become accustomed to the culture and lifestyle of MSMS, including the numerous traditions, especially the annual Ceremony of Lights.

In lieu of goat blood and human sacrifices, students instead walked in front of the crowd filled with peers, faculty and alum, picking up their piece of the MSMS puzzle and copy of the scroll.  In contrast to prior years, the Class of 2021 filed two by two Sunday into the rows of Rent Auditorium by the campus entrance rather than the traditional Cromwell Auditorium.

For resident guidance counselor Dr. Heath Stevens, this ceremony shows why MSMS is just so special.

“Very few public schools have an initiation ceremony, [Ceremony of Lights] makes MSMS unique,” Stevens said. The ceremony marks his tenth, with two ceremonies as a member of the Class of 2001 and another eight as a faculty member. “As opposed to something like a sports rally, we start off our year by focusing on the four MSMS ideals: Scholarship, Service, Community and Creativity.”

“In retrospect, I find it more meaningful on the staff side compared to when I was a student,” Stevens said.

“It was definitely different to be a senior at Ceremony of Lights,” Collin Jeck said. “We didn’t have that much of a connection with the juniors than our seniors, but Ceremony of Lights didn’t have near as much as a spooky vibe as it did last year.”

“All in all, I’m happy that traditions like this exist for the juniors,” Jeck said. “It instills a sense of community among all of us; we were all in their chairs at one point, and although they have a long and painful road ahead of them, they can always look to us.”

Starkville native and member of the class of 2021 Adriana Mays was expecting something far different than the event awaiting her and her peers in Rent Auditorium. “I thought it was going to be very cult-ish,” Mays said. “I was expecting candles everywhere for the induction.”

“It was just a community,” Mays said. “We were being inducted into this community, and not gonna lie, I lost [the puzzle piece], but I found it last night.”

Ceremony of Lights marks the end of an eventful orientation week for the new class. “The week was very stressful because you had orientation and you really didn’t know what was going on,” Mays said. “There were so many jokes and meeting new people, so adding Ceremony of Lights on top of everything just kinda sealed the deal. I thought I was gonna die the first week, but I’m fine.”