Cook: Find success, support at MSMS


Lexi Holdiness

Dr. Donnie Cook writes Welcome Letter to juniors and seniors for the new school year.

Donald Cook

I want to take this opportunity to welcome the classes of 2023 and 2024 to campus for the 2022-2023 academic year. Seniors, you haven’t had much of a chance to get to know me yet.  Juniors, you’re new to everything about MSMS. I’ve only been on the job for almost three months, but MSMS has been a part of who I am since I was your age. I’m a member of the inaugural Class of 1990 and was among the first students to enroll at Mississippi’s new school for math and science. Much has changed since that time, but much has stayed the same. We can talk for a long time about what has changed, but I’ll leave that for the future. Come by and ask me questions about what it was like in those early days.  

For now, I’d like to focus on the things that are the same. Like Dr. Hummer said at the Ceremony of Lights, MSMS was the first place where I “found my people.” I hope that you’ve found your people here and that those people will be a major part of your life during your two years here and will remain part of your life as you leave here and experience the adventures that life has in store for you. I hope that your people accept you for who you are and care for you despite all your quirks. You and your people will laugh together, cry together, be stressed out together and form a bond that is quite unlike any other. You’ll share adventures as well as secrets that you’ve never told anyone else. You’ll know that you’re accepted just as you are, and you’ll meet people who stretch you to be accepting of others who are different from you but in many ways are the same as you.  

You’ve met your teachers, but you have yet to realize how much they care for you and want to see you succeed. I promise you that they do. I have a framed note in my office from one of my MSMS teachers, Judy Morris, who believed in me at times when I struggled to believe in myself. Some of you have heard me speak of Mrs. Richardson, who encouraged me in my writing and literary studies. Mrs. Carter taught me math and would listen to all my woes. Mr. Wester taught me three science courses at Houston High School, then physics here at MSMS, and has been instrumental in my own teaching development over the years. 

For you, the names of the teachers are different, but the care and the dedication to you as students are the same. Each one cares deeply about you and wants to give you the best educational experience possible. That educational experience will not only be in the classroom, but also in living life with your classmates. Everyone at MSMS, from the faculty to the administration and student life staff, is “student obsessed,” meaning they want your time here to be positive and memorable. Maximize your experience here: Take it all in, live life to the fullest and be a partner to those around you. Reach out to offer help and encouragement where you see a need, and don’t be afraid to ask for that same help when it’s your turn to need it.

Live by the four ideals: scholarship, community, service and creativity. Take pride in what you accomplish here and what your people achieve. Come by and share that with me from time to time. Know that you’re part of a larger MSMS family that’s been growing for more than three decades. You have a lot of people, past and present, cheering you on through this journey.  Don’t ever forget that.

All my best to each of you.