Alumni Spotlight: Ananya Yilma, Class of 2004

La'Monica Scott | Uncategorized

Ananya Yilma attended The Piney Woods School from 2001-2004. In 2004, Yilma graduated as the salutatorian of his class. He found out about PWS because his brother and sister attended this great educational institution in the early 90s. Ananya stated he wouldn’t be where he is today if it wasn’t for Piney Woods. His three-year journey taught him to be a responsible adult at an early age. And that prepared him for college life and beyond.

Ananya is able to trace his organization and productivity habits to lessons from his Piney Woods days. Those qualities have served him well during his personal and professional journey. After completing his time at PWS, Ananya enrolled in Mississippi Valley State University and was a 2006 initiate into Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Incorporated.

Currently, Ananya is a product manager working for CommScope, a network infrastructure company in the suburbs of Washington, D.C. He is responsible for managing their software line of products.

Alumni Spotlight: Justin Gilbert, Class of 1999

La'Monica Scott | Uncategorized

Justin Gilbert, stated, “My mother actually found Piney Woods”.  Justin came to Piney Woods from a school (in Maryland, suburban DC), where he was not focusing very well. “I had become rebellious and not performing well at school, so my mom started doing research.  One of her friends highly recommended The Piney Woods School as an option for Justin.

Piney Woods was a turning point in Justin’s life.  It changed my environment, which meant his associations changed. “Many people say you are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with”. Prior to coming to Piney Woods, those 5 people weren’t great influences, Justin exclaims. Piney Woods was a positive environment; Piney Woods pushed him to change and take responsibility for my success.  He was made to get to breakfast on time, and to study and to perform.  He counts that the human and personal development they push at Piney Woods, as having the greatest impact on him. He would sum up the experience as gaining self-discipline, that provided him the ability to gain a strong work ethic. "When you leave here and go somewhere else, you feel like you can do anything."

Justin often reflects upon my time at Piney Woods and compares it to where he is today. Justin concludes that a lot of small positive decisions shaped the trajectory of my life.   He counts Piney Woods as one of those decisions. For Justin, Piney Woods was where he learned his first lessons in independence, perseverance, responsibility, and friendship development. Piney Woods helped to create a solid foundation for his life which has positively contributed to the person he is today.

Piney Woods School Enters into Contractual Agreement with Solar Alternatives

La'Monica Scott | Uncategorized

On Wednesday, April 3, 2019, before the entire faculty, staff, and surrounded by the students, President Will Crossley signed a contractual agreement with Solar Alternatives, Inc.

Solar Alternatives is a privately held solar engineering, procurement, and construction company headquartered in New Orleans, Louisiana with locations in Mississippi and Texas. Solar Alternatives has been designing and installing solar systems throughout the Gulf South since 2008.

The staff of electrical engineers, project managers, and procurement experts work on the leading edge of implementing state of the art energy strategies utilizing the latest in technology and equipment.

With the signing of the contract, SA will begin the construction of The Piney Woods School’s solar field. The solar field offers an opportunity for the students to learn about cutting edge technology and it begins the process of erasing Piney Woods’ carbon footprint.

Give From Your Heart Concert and Family FunDay

La'Monica Scott | Uncategorized

The Piney Woods School is hosting its fifth annual “Give from Your Heart” Gospel Festival which takes place Saturday, May 4, 2019 @11 AM to 6 PM on the campus of the historic Piney Woods Mississippi co-ed boarding school.  “This is a great way to raise money for the school while also allowing the public to get a glimpse of what we do here,” says Piney Woods School President, Dr. Will Crossley. 

A variety of food vendors will be on hand to feed the hungry crowd and there will be recreational activities for the youth. The all-day concert will feature the Grammy® nominated artists Brian Courtney Wilson and Anthony Brown. Also performing will be Jor’dan Armstrong, Fred Jerkins & Last Call, Tim Bowman Jr., Jermaine Dolly, as well as Jackson’s very own Four Washington, a dynamic urban inspirational group of teenage siblings.

The Piney Woods School choir, the Cotton Blossom Singers, will be performing as well. Ticket prices are $15 and a family pack of 4 tickets are $50.  Children 15 years old and younger attend for free.  All tickets are available from or by calling (601) 845-2214.

The 100+ year old institution boasts an international student population with pupils hailing from over seventeen states and foreign jurisdictions. Piney Woods offers a rigorous educational, spiritual and vocational curriculum and provides an environment where students are expected to excel academically and socially. Over 95% of the graduating seniors are admitted to colleges and universities.

Give From Your Heart Appeal

La'Monica Scott | Uncategorized

Thank you for being a part of The Piney Woods School's 5th Annual Give From Your Heart Campaign!

The work we do at The Piney Woods is powered by two things: incredible young scholars with a burning desire to learn and succeed and the sustaining generosity from the hearts of our donors.

You have responded generously in the past. This year, we are making a special appeal to you to Give From Your Heart to support scholarships for young scholars in honor of a loved one. Your gift helps us provide a scholarship for a student who would otherwise have no means of paying for our unique, innovative, high quality, college preparatory boarding school. We are building leaders through teaching the head, heart, and hands of each young person who enters these gates. The need has never been greater.

Give from your heart, change the life of a young PWS scholar, and help us change the world, one student at a time!

Go to to give.

Piney Woods Visits Governor’s Mansion

La'Monica Scott | Uncategorized

Several students from The Piney Woods School had the distinct honor of being selected to attend the Mission Mississippi summit in Jackson, Mississippi. The summit began with a reception on the evening of April 3rd at the Governor’s mansion.

The summit, which occurs once a year, serves as a time when officials (elected and appointed) from across the state convene on the city of Jackson for the Governor’s Prayer Summit, hosted by Mission Mississippi, in an attempt to bridge the racial divide in the state.

“We have the summit to teach people to have conversations that are difficult,” said Neddie Winters, president of Mission Mississippi.

The summit focused on topics that are often disagreed upon.

“Race in Mississippi has inserted itself in every relationship and through conversation in many ways,” said Dan Hall, Mission Mississippi board member.

Participants are asked to actively listen and have conversations on difficult topics to get multiple points of view and, ultimately, to set an example for those they lead.

“Even if we walk away not agreeing, we walk away understanding,” Hall said. “We are trying to build bridges, not walls.”

Members of the Class of 2020 Visit the University of Mississippi

La'Monica Scott | Uncategorized

On Thursday, March 28, 2019, the junior class from The Piney Woods School traveled to Oxford, Mississippi, to visit the University of Mississippi.

The students were treated to a fabulous campus tour, led by the admissions staff, and were allowed to meet and ask questions of the Black Student Union. This organization was incorporated as a registered organization on the campus on March 25, 1969.

When the PWS juniors visited, the BSU had just celebrated their 50th year anniversary.

Founded in 1848, Ole Miss holds the banner as the state’s largest university. It is also considered one of the fastest growing institutions in the country.

When it chartered the University of Mississippi on February 24, 1844, the Mississippi Legislature laid the foundation for public higher education in the state. The university opened its doors to 80 students four years later, and for 23 years was Mississippi's only public institution of higher learning. For 110 years, it was the state's only comprehensive university.

Total enrollment on all University of Mississippi campuses, including the UM Medical Center, was 23,136 for the 2016-2017 academic year. Nearly 60 percent of the student body is from Mississippi, and 22.9 percent of students are minorities. The school offers Bachelor, Master, and Doctoral degrees.