A self portrait after getting ready for class in the morning, my eye bags apparent. (Gracie Rowland)
A self portrait after getting ready for class in the morning, my eye bags apparent.

Gracie Rowland

MSMS through my eyes: a photo essay

March 10, 2021

My community, my home, is my school, the Mississippi School for Mathematics and Science. At MSMS, I can achieve whatever I set my mind to. I come from scraps and Southern tradition, but I have accomplished things that I never dreamed I would be able to, and I have learned the beauty of life from 200 classmates who have never once let me down in their love.

A walk to the cafeteria for dinner with my best friend, senior Elisabeth Seage, ahead of me. (Gracie Rowland)

Coming to this school has taught me about the wonder of the quiet moments in life: drinking caramel coffee every morning as I read for University English Lit, or editing articles for our newspaper every week, or even finding a poem I forgot I scribbled in my journal for Creative Writing Club about the friends that make sadness seem less abundant.

The afternoon view from my second floor dorm room window, my teddy bear silhouetted in the corner. (Gracie Rowland)

MSMS has taught me to live both intuitively and intentionally; it has taught me to never doubt the importance of collaboration and to always create my own desired reality.

Two senior friends of mine, Luke Bowles and Cameron Wright, laugh together as they wait in line for dinner. (Gracie Rowland)

Here, I have a community of hard-working and creative people who encourage me in every one of my pursuits. I can be who I am in a state that oftentimes does not let me be who I want to be; I don’t have to be respectable, I can just be free. I reflect upon the happy life that I live and I am filled with an inexplicable sense of peace.

Two girls on the floor above me, Felicity Browning, a senior, and Amelia Pope, a junior, talk and joke together during study hours. (Gracie Rowland)

My Magnolia State, my Mississippi, is plagued by our struggling education system and a romanticization of a “heritage” that really means hate. However, MSMS helps show the world a different side of our state, a side where feminist isn’t a bad word and differentiation from the norm is the norm.

The road that leads to the tennis courts, one of my favorite spots on campus. (Gracie Rowland)

MSMS shows a glimpse of promise in rolling green landscapes filled with people who lost the hope of a brighter future long ago; it gives us a reason to keep dreaming of Sunday drives where confederate flags aren’t displayed proudly on front porches and conversion therapy ads aren’t plastered on highway billboards.

My cramped dorm closet, filled with suit jackets and club T-shirts. (Gracie Rowland)

Mississippi is not irredeemable, simply in desperate need of our help in reformation. Mississippi is filled with prejudice, but a future of acceptance is still possible, and I look forward to my peers changing the state that we love into one worth loving.

MSMS has infamously bad water pressure, but the light filters into the bathroom during the day so nicely I barely ever notice. (Gracie Rowland)

2 Responses to “MSMS through my eyes: a photo essay”

  1. Gina Nguyen on March 10th, 2021 4:34 pm

    beautifully written and captured, gracie! makes me miss msms a lot; it really is the little details in life that make it that much better.

  2. Hua Chen on March 11th, 2021 5:46 pm

    I love this!! Both the narration and pictures are really beautiful and brings back memories

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