The Vision

Jaiswal: A Day at the Capitol

MSMS+students+stand+on+the+capitol+steps+before+departing+Jackson.
MSMS students stand on the capitol steps before departing Jackson.

MSMS students stand on the capitol steps before departing Jackson.

Aurelia Caine

Aurelia Caine

MSMS students stand on the capitol steps before departing Jackson.

Dev Jaiswal, Assistant Opinion Editor

The title theme song of “Avatar the Last Airbender” resounded throughout my dorm room at the sublime hour of 4:00 A.M. on the last morning of January. I groggily arose to my alarm clock, donned my MSMS navy polo and khakis and boarded the bus bound for the state capitol with twenty-four other sleepy students. I had a feeling of tired anticipation as we left MSMS campus at 5:00 A.M and began our trip to Jackson. I was very excited and glad to have the opportunity to meet and speak with state legislators about MSMS. I drifted off into sleep as we left Columbus, but not before catching a glimpse of the partial lunar eclipse.

Dev Jaiswal
MSMS students ascend the Capitol Day with anticipation for the day ahead.

We ascended the steps of the the state capitol around 8:15 A.M. The day was beautifully warm and sunny. The inside of the capitol was beautiful as well, with its marble-esque floors, ornate staircases, and dazzling chandeliers. Our group was led by Dr. Easterling and Mr. Yarborough, and we met up with Dr. McConnell, both Dr. Borsigs, a few alumni and P.L.U.S. (Parents Lending United Support) parents at the MSMS booth on the first floor lobby of the capitol.

Dev Jaiswal
This photo was taken from the first floor lobby, looking up at the cupola.

After having breakfast and wearing our nametags, we were instructed to shake the hands of any legislators passing by the booth and to begin conversation with a simple introduction with our name, our hometown and home county. We were also instructed to take pictures with our legislators at the end of the conversation.

Courtesy of Dr. Kate Borsig
All students in attendance take a picture with Mississippi Lieutenant Governor Tate Reeves.

While several legislators batted their eyes toward our group and kept walking towards their destinations, most legislators who were passing by did take time out of their busy schedules to speak with us. Conversations went more smoothly than I expected them to go. In retrospect, it should not have been surprising to me that the legislators were very personable, charismatic and easy-to-talk-to. Many of them reminisced on their own high school experiences as I spoke of mine, and one representative quite happily related to us a mnemonic he learned in the ninth grade about remembering the elemental composition of a protoplast. This representative also said he liked MSMS, which was great to hear.

I was pleasantly surprised that the senator who reminisced on the protoplast was not the only legislator who complimented our group and our school. I was pleasantly surprised with the number of legislators who came by our booth simply to tell us how they thought we were a great school and how they would continue to push for us within their congressional chambers. It was very nice to hear legislators who thought we were achieving students who would continue to achieve great things in the future. One senator’s words really stand out in my mind:

You MSMS kids are incredible, and I will keep pushing for you. Rest assured that you have a friend on the Senate floor.”

— Mississippi State Senator

It seemed that the most common question that the legislators asked us was what we wanted to do in our future. I talked about how I’ve wanted to be an astronaut for the longest time. While I am still deeply interested in the astronomical sciences, MSMS has also made me fall in love with the humanities. I spoke of how MSMS has helped me discover passions and traits within myself that I never really knew I had and has helped me grow with experiences I am sometimes uncomfortable in (acting as a human trafficker in a play about a vape church definitely tops my list of unusual, although I refrained from reflecting on this play with any legislator). Many other students expressed similar sentiments about how MSMS has been a breeding ground for them to grow personally and to pursue multitudes of academic and extracurricular passions.

Around two hours after our arrival to the capital, we ascended to the top of the capitol to catch a glimpse of the Senate floor. Our group of twenty-five settled in the balconies above the Senate and watched their meeting. Lowndes County Senator Chuck Younger recognized us at the beginning of the meeting: “Today with us we have kids from the Mississippi School for Mathematics and Science, the best and brightest kids from the state of Mississippi!” While the subsequent applause was not as rousing as I expected it to be (perhaps this was due to the distance of the upper balconies from the actual Senate floor), it still was very nice to receive recognition.

Hayden Stokley
Students took photos from the top of the capitol on the way back from the Senate floor.

The clock passed 11:00 A.M. when we left the Senate meeting. After lobbying for a little while longer on the first floor, we left the capitol. We took pictures on the steps until our bus arrived. We stopped for a great lunch at Ichiban before heading back to Columbus.

We got back to campus around 4:00 P.M., and I was absolutely exhausted. I took a fantastically beautiful nap. Right through Science Bowl practice. Oops. Sorry Dr. Morgan and Dr. Odom!

“I took a fantastically beautiful nap. Right through Science Bowl practice.”

— Dev Jaiswal

While it is difficult at the moment to ascertain how Capitol Day will affect future funding of our wonderful school, I think it was a fantastic event for many reasons.

Firstly, I think it is important that MSMS makes sure that its name is continually getting out there, and I think that being present at the state capitol was a fantastic way to make sure our school does not get pushed to the back of the minds of our hard-working legislators.

Secondly, I think that Capitol Day was a great way for to expose the school to legislators who may not know as much about what we do at MSMS.

And thirdly, I think it was a fantastic opportunity for students to practice advocating for something that they are passionate about. However, while I understand that it would defeat our purpose to swarm the capitol with hordes of MSMS students, I do wish that more than twenty-five students had been able to have the opportunity to go to the state capitol.

Capitol Day, in summary, was an awesome day spent with friends talking to state legislators about the awesome-est place on planet Earth. It was an incredible experience.

Lori Feng
Last-minute photos were taken as students waited for the bus. (Is this not the most goals picture ever?)

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About the Contributors
Dev Jaiswal, Copy Editor

Hello everyone! My name is Dev Jaiswal,  and I am from the beautiful town of Louisville. I love anything that has to do with food, languages, words, computers,...

Aurelia Caine, Sports Editor

Hello everyone! My name is Aurelia Caine, some may know me by Scooby, and I'm the Sports Editor of The Vision. I enjoy playing multiple sports and hanging...

Hayden Stokley, Student Life Editor

Hi! I'm Hayden Stokley, The Vision's Student Life Co-Editor. I'm a senior from Laurel, Mississippi, who loves writing. I'm active in the MSMS Mock Trial...

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