Heather Black

About Heather Black

Video: One Mississippi School of Math and Science Student is Headed to the Ivy Leagues

COLUMBUS, Miss. (WCBI)-Newsweek Magazine lists the Mississippi School for Mathematics and Science as one of the top 400 High schools in America. Virtually everyone of its graduates goes on to college.

A Senior at MSMS, Jim Cunningham will soon be taking his last steps as a High School student and start an exciting new chapter in his life.

Jim plans on attending Princeton University in the fall where he will major in Public Policy. He says the past two years at MSMS have prepared him for his future.

“MSMS challenged me more than ever. I think my junior year I worked extremely hard. I studied hours and hours after school. I worked extremely hard and that was a struggle for me. I think it’s worth it and defiantly prepared me for college,” says Jim Cunningham.

Jim grew up in the grips of poverty. That experience motivated him to devote himself to academics.

Director of Academic Affairs, Germain McConnell says Jim’s story and hard work are inspirations.

“Jim is one of the brightest lights out of all the bright lights that we have and so going to Princeton He is not the first, but it is a tremendous achievement for him especially with his background and where he has come from, but he’s a true example of students being able to excel despite their background and where they came from,” says Germain McConnell.

Ivy League educations don’t come cheap. Jim earned the Gate Millennium Scholarship and the Ron Brown Scholarship to help cover his tuition. He says after all he has achieved he wants to find a way to give back.

“This summer, what I want to do is go back to the Boys and Girls club or go to the Summer Success Program at Columbus High School and just give back. Now that I’ve received all that I have, I want to give back to my community,” says Cunningham.

Without the support he received at MSMS, Jim says none of this would be possible.

“If you want the challenge, if you want the academic rigor, if you want a community of people that are supportive of you and supportive of what you want to do in the future then come here because that’s the place. We’re a family and there are teachers here willing to help students get to the next level,” says Cunningham.

Jim is also a finalist for the Jackie Robinson Scholarship which is worth 24-THOUSAND dollars. He will be notified in June.