Mississippi College

MC Welcomes Science and Math Students To Annual Tournament

January 27, 2009

Mississippi College is offering scholarships to high school students who excel at the 35th annual MC Science and Mathematics Tournament.

About 1,200 students from 125 high schools, both public and private, are competing Feb. 5-6 on the Clinton campus. Awards will range from about $300 to $2,000 per-year for students who later enroll at MC.

Students from Clinton High, Jackson public schools, St. Andrews School, Jackson Academy, and as far away as Tupelo High and the North Mississippi suburbs of Memphis are among those expected.

"We always enjoy the interaction with a cross-section of schools. It is always a highlight for our instructors and students to participate,'' said Keith Branning, the dean at Jackson Academy's senior high. "We look forward to being there.''

The annual event is the oldest and largest such competition in the state, said Jerry Cannon, chairman of MC's chemistry department and the program coordinator.

Each school can bring a maximum of a dozen students. The tournament gives students the chance to bring recognition and trophies to their schools that will be on a par with those won by high school sports teams, Cannon said. Overall, first, second and third-place trophies are awarded to the schools with the most winners on the morning tests.

Some returning to the MC Science and Math Tournament like Madison-Ridgeland Academy math teacher Donna Allen began participating at the event on the Clinton campus when she was an MRA student 30 years ago.

Allen teaches Advanced Placement calculus and other math classes. "I've been bringing MRA students for 18 years,'' said Allen, a Madison resident. "They always look forward to it.'' Some of her MRA students, she said, ended up attending Mississippi College.

During morning sessions, each student will take two 50-minute written exams from the fields of biology, chemistry, computer science, math and physics. The afternoon competition features a college-bowl style event with teams of four from each school facing difficult questions.

Cannon noted that some of the former student winners are returning to the MC competition as high school teachers. A professor of chemistry and biochemistry at MC since 1970, Cannon has been a key leader with the statewide competition since its early days.

Professors in all MC science and math departments put the tests together. The tests get changed each year.

At least one MC professor will be following the competition a little more closely in 2009.

"This is the first year my daughter, Anna, is participating,'' said John Travis, chairman of the MC mathematics department. She is a 9th grader at Sumner Hill Junior High in Clinton. "We look forward to having the students on campus.'

For additional details, contact Jerry Cannon, MC's chemistry chairman, at 601.925.3425 or cannon@mc.edu

Photo: Dr. Jerry Cannon

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