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Campus of the Mississippi University for Women in Columbus, where MSMS is housed (Deborah Fallows).

Over the years my wife Deb and I have frequently mentioned the remarkable Mississippi School for Mathematics and Science. You can read about some of its successes in posts collected here, and about its recent funding challenges here.

A reader who grew up in Columbus, Mississippi, where the school is based, and graduated from MSMS writes about why its survival matters:

I cannot pass up the opportunity to thank you for the coverage you have granted my little hometown, and particularly my alma mater, the Mississippi School for Mathematics and Science — or as I like to describe it, the last, best hope for public STEM education in Mississippi.

The faculty, staff, alumni, and students know how desperately the services of such a center of educational excellence is needed statewide, but with the resources available, it’s hard to even keep the core of the school operational.

One comment with an eye to the future: I’m glad you find the “one-donor-at-a-time, handful-of-students-at-a-time nature of the school’s private fundraising” touching. However, one of my dreams is that someday the Foundation can move to a large-budget, literally industrial-scale donation model. Only with a larger budget can the true needs be met for the deserving students hailing from some of the most underperforming districts in the nation.

Students from MSMS two years ago, performing a historical re-enactment of segregation-era civic life in their town (James Fallows).

Despite the negative press frequently generated by the state government, I live in hope that such coverage as you provide accelerates the process of acquiring the attention of those with the means to make a difference. Under the day-to-day inanities, there is struggle and value and hope amongst the sleepy towns, like flowers struggling to grow through the cracks; and I hope they get their chance — as I did.