Ninety-four seniors from the Louisiana School for Math, Science, and the Arts (LSMSA) graduated during the school’s 38th Commencement Ceremony on May 21 in Prather Coliseum on the campus of Northwestern State University.
“The Louisiana School is a continuum with a strong past and a hopeful future, said Executive Director Dr. Steve Horton. “As you celebrate this significant milestone in your life, I encourage you to keep in mind the support and encouragement you received during this journey.” He expressed appreciation to everyone who makes the Louisiana School possible, including citizens throughout the state, legislators, elected officials, alumni, families, faculty, staff and students.
LSMSA’s commencement began in Prather in 1985 with 172 members of the first graduating class. Horton began the 38th commencement by recognizing some of the senior administration who have helped make the school’s success possible, including Chief of Staff and Director of Administration Dr. John Allen (’98); Director of Academic Affairs and Chief Academic Officer Dr. Kristi Pope Key; Director of Enrollment Management and Institutional Research Emily Shumate; and Director of Support Services Ro Slutsky.
Ha-Ya Davis of Hammond spoke to looking forward as she delivered the senior address.
“We have endured many challenges,” she said. “These challenges were not setbacks, disappointments, or disadvantages. To paraphrase Michelle Obama, ‘They were experiences in facing and overcoming adversity…’ We have developed the durability and maturity that we need to pick ourselves up and keep moving forward. We must keep looking forward.”
Dr. Claire Norris, Vice President for Advancement at the University of Louisiana System, was the keynote speaker.
Speaking to the graduating class she said, “This accomplishment could not be achieved without you trying, even when you were afraid; without you persisting, even when you felt insecure; without you achieving, even after you failed.”
She gave students some revolutionary, timeless advice that’s priceless:
- Doing the right thing is not easy, but it’s worth it to you and the larger public good
Be intentional in life’s journey and understanding your place in it, for you only have a minute
- Have a team, but make sure that team is diverse
- Don’t fake it, ask for help, you have a village
Of those students moving on to the next stage of their lives, 67 percent will attend 13 colleges and universities in Louisiana while 33 percent are headed to 25 different universities throughout the U.S. and abroad. Collectively, the LSMSA Class of 2022 has been awarded over $20 million in merit-based scholarships. This is in addition to more than 1,650 hours of college credit through articulation agreements and dual enrollment credits, which over 60 percent of students took advantage of.
“With LSMSA as your alma mater, know that we hope we have given you what you need to thrive in your next steps in life,” he said. “You will continue to bring esteem and distinction to your alma mater as all of our graduates have done for nearly four decades as you serve you serve your communities, country, and humanity in various and diverse careers and professions. It’s your responsibility.”