Registration and Orientation officially kicks off the 2019-2020 School Year

La'Monica Scott | Uncategorized

With two full days open for registration and orientation, parents and students arrived for the new year with excitement and anticipation. These days were a busy time for the entire school community as a result of a robust schedule. Both days featured a schedule of 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. During this time, each parent and student greeted our admissions counselors, met with school administration, and were introduced to our student and residential life program.

At 11:30 a.m., on both days, registration closed for orientation, during which the parents and students were informed of rules and policy changes from last year and the expectations for the upcoming year. Parents were introduced to the Summit learning platform, provided information on the way it works, and told how they can follow their child’s progress from afar. Every aspect of campus life was discussed, from academics to nursing and medical care services, to finance and student banking, to dining, to campus security, to residential halls, to activities, over to transportation services.

Lunch was provided by our school's dining services at 12:30 pm, with registration reopening at 1:30 p.m. Those registered during the morning, were able to check into their residence hall. Orientation served as a way for students to meet other students, become familiar with campus services, and to pick up their class schedules. The days were busy, to set a swift pace and progressive new academic year.

Piney Woods Students Attend Mississippi Book Festival

La'Monica Scott | Uncategorized

On August 17th, students from The Piney Woods School attended the 5th Annual Mississippi Book Festival, a major community event held in the state capital and streamed live on C-SPAN.

This year’s festival featured a lineup of more than 150 authors. These included such luminaries as U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, Richard Ford, Joyce Carol Oates, Ann Patchett and Angie Thomas. Last school year, students had had an opportunity to meet and learn personally from Angie Thomas, the writer of the acclaimed novel, “The Hate You Give.”

The Book Festival was free to the public and open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the State Capitol, neighboring Galloway United Methodist Church and surrounding streets. Food trucks, Authors Alley, Booksellers Row, guided Capitol tours and book signings added to the festival’s flavor and draw.

(Information from Mississippi Book Festival’s news release.)

First chapel service of the year: Be Not Conformed To This World

La'Monica Scott | Uncategorized

And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” Romans 12:2 (KJV)

Minister Marc Fomby opened the first chapel service of the new year with a welcome to faculty, staff, and students. After the welcome, the academic team played a video of the faculty members introducing themselves and their roles within the academic department. Academics didn’t stop there: each faculty member lined the stage to read a portion of scripture in connection with the scriptural theme for the school year: And be not conformed to this world... Romans 12:2.  

It did not take long for the message to be delivered and for every person to leave the service, with more pep in their step and positive energy as they continued their day. The message was simple: Do not conform to the ideas of someone else. Stand for what you have been called to do by God.

Faculty Spotlight – Christopher Robinson

La'Monica Scott | Uncategorized

By December Banks, Senior, Mississippi, Class of 2020

Mr. Christopher Ray Robinson, a native of Jackson, Mississippi, joins The Piney Woods School after a brief stint with the Jackson Public School system. Robinson graduated from Tougaloo College in 2018 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English with an emphasis in Creative Writing.

He initially came to PWS to sharpen and advance himself mentally and intellectually. In his previous location, Robinson didn’t feel he was gleaning a lot of valuable information from those he was helping.

Here, he feels he is able to give and receive from those he is teaching. There is a quote by Liam Neeson that comes to the forefront when asked about his favorite quote. “Once more into the fray, into the last good fight I’ll ever know. Live and die on this day, live and die on this day.”

Note from A Graduating Senior – Slywenda Geeston

La'Monica Scott | Uncategorized

By Slywenda Geeston, Senior, Mississippi, Class of 2020

Time has caught up to me and the years have swiftly gone by. It has been four years to be exact. I entered The Piney Woods School as a freshman and now I am a graduating senior. Today, I stand before each student following in my footsteps, as a leader, a role model, and the tallest pine tree.

Was I ready for this journey called senior year? Absolutely not. But time never stops moving and we must remain prepared for the next steps in our journey. My advice to you is the same as I’ve been told: Rest your roots, soak in the atmosphere, and grow where you’re planted.

Piney Woods has been a great environment for me, and I am thankful for everything that I’ve learned here. Open your eyes to every opportunity being presented and when you stand at the threshold of your future, you’ll be ready because Piney Woods has made it possible.

Alumni Spotlight: Dr. Derricka Thomas, Class of 1988

La'Monica Scott | Uncategorized

Derricka Thomas learned about Piney Woods through her family. The first member of her family that attended Piney Woods was her great-great grand uncle, Mr. Lanier Burkett. He played baseball at Piney Woods and graduated in 1923. Per oral tradition, Dr. Laurence C. Jones told her Uncle Lanier that he would educate his children. After getting married and having children, her Uncle Lanier took Dr. Jones up on his offer.  All his children attended Piney Woods School and the Piney Woods Junior College during the 1940s and 1950s.

Derricka Thomas learned about Piney Woods through her family. The first member of her family that attended Piney Woods was her great-great grand uncle, Mr. Lanier Burkett. He played baseball at Piney Woods and graduated in 1923. Per oral tradition, Dr. Laurence C. Jones told her Uncle Lanier that he would educate his children. After getting married and having children, her Uncle Lanier took Dr. Jones up on his offer.  All his children attended Piney Woods School and the Piney Woods Junior College during the 1940s and 1950s.

Continuing her uncle’s legacy, her mother and her aunts also attended The Piney Woods School and the Junior College in the 1960s.  Other family members followed in the same footsteps and attended Piney Woods in the 1970s. 

Derricka’s turn to attend The Piney Woods School came in the 1980s; she graduated in 1988. Other family members would later attend in the 1990s and 2000s. For Derricka, attending Piney Woods became a family tradition.

The Piney Woods experience has had an incredible impact on her life. It has shaped her life in the areas of career and education.  She met great people and formed lifelong friendships. The lessons she learned from her time at PWS are numerous.  One of the most important ones for her was being on time for work. It is her rule of thumb to be 15 minutes early for work and any appointment she has. She learned that lesson from her participation in The Piney Woods Work Study Program. Her organizational skills were developed from the Supervised Study Program.

She is forever indebted to her Piney Woods experience, the faculty, the staff and the then-president, Dr. Charles H. Beady, Jr.

The standards at Piney Woods were set at excellence, and today she continues to set those high standards of excellence for herself.

Continuing her uncle’s legacy, her mother and her aunts also attended The Piney Woods School and the Junior College in the 1960s.  Other family members followed in the same footsteps and attended Piney Woods in the 1970s. 

Derricka’s turn to attend The Piney Woods School came in the 1980s; she graduated in 1988. Other family members would later attend in the 1990s and 2000s. For Derricka, attending Piney Woods became a family tradition.

The Piney Woods experience has had an incredible impact on her life. It has shaped her life in the areas of career and education.  She met great people and formed lifelong friendships. The lessons she learned from her time at PWS are numerous.  One of the most important ones for her was being on time for work. It is her rule of thumb to be 15 minutes early for work and any appointment she has. She learned that lesson from her participation in The Piney Woods Work Study Program. Her organizational skills were developed from the Supervised Study Program.

Piney Woods Announces Founder’s Day Weekend 2019

La'Monica Scott | Uncategorized

It is an exciting time for The Piney Woods School as planning for the 110th Founder’s Day Weekend has begun. From the humblest of beginnings to an educational wonder, PWS has withstood the test of time.

To celebrate and commemorate this milestone Founder’s Day, the administration has selected the weekend of November 1-3, 2019. The weekend will be packed with activities for all, as it will also serve as Parents’ Weekend.

Among the weekend’s activities: Parent/Teacher Conferences, Open House, Sunday Worship Service, and an Alumni Meeting. It would be an incomplete weekend without the Founder’s Day Program, which is scheduled for Sunday afternoon.

This magnificent celebration will also feature a fundraising gala on Saturday, November 2, 2019. Tickets are available for this event.

Mark your calendars! We look forward to your presence at this year’s celebration!

New Student Perspective – Kaydence Taylor

La'Monica Scott | Uncategorized

By DeAundre' Alston, Sophomore, North Carolina, Class of 2022

Kaydence Taylor is a 10th grade student-athlete and new to The Piney Woods School. She is a member of the school’s volleyball team and feels the training is going well. Kaydence feels that her game has already improved significantly working under Coach Tripp.

Classes are going well for Kaydence and she likes all of her teachers, but Piney Woods is a very different experience than what she experienced at her previous school. She has confidence that PWS will be good for her and will foster academic growth.

Kaydence said, “I had fun over the weekend with the activities that were held in the recreation center. We (the students) played billiards (pool), air hockey, and ping pong. The karaoke night was funny and provided an opportunity for the students to socialize.”

Overall, Kaydence loves the new environment and looks forward to more opportunities to have fun.

Our President’s Note

La'Monica Scott | Uncategorized

We enter this new academic year with excitement and promise. As students and parents have arrived, our campus is again pulsating with possibilities for a brighter future, both for us as an institution and especially for the young scholars who grace our campus grounds. I am excited that again this year we have students from as near as Mendenhall, Mississippi, and from as far away as Anchorage, Alaska. Internationally, students have already arrived from Addis Ababa, but more are scheduled to join us in the coming days. Our students are not only expanding in number, but are getting younger as well. For the first time in nearly 20 years, we again welcomed students beginning at age 13 to join us for the academic year. As such, the new year represents new beginnings for us in both people and programs.

Of the many activities that make up our work, one of my favorite things to do is teach. I love teaching because of the joy that comes from watching students explore and navigate their current and developing knowledge simultaneously with their current and developing thinking. We have some exciting matters unfolding in our core academic work this year, particularly our renewed and expanding focus upon project-based learning. The phenomenon of helping students experience learning through real-world projects is taking root throughout our team. Just a few days ago, I was delighted to happen upon faculty members discussing cross-curricular learning opportunities for student field work. As we face the year ahead, our task is to envelop our students with the same passion and focus for learning throughout the campus, in all ways and all places.

The effort of educating our students and building the learning community from which they will most benefit is an effort we have never done in isolation. As we initiate a new season of excitement for our students’ classes, teaching, and learning, we are especially grateful and appreciative of the support we have received from our donor community. During a recent conversation with a supporter from New York, I discovered that the supporter had never visited our campus and asked him how he came to know of our school, our work. He shared that when he was a student at Amherst College over 40 years ago, there were students from here who told him about Piney Woods and he simply never forgot it. Such is the impact our students can have. The work in which all of us (families, faculty, community, supporters) have engaged will raise yet another generation of young scholars who I am confident can embody the true character of Piney Woods in such a way that those whom they encounter will never forget.

Welcome to a new and prosperous time in the life of The Piney Woods School! Let’s make a mark that will change the world, one student at a time--a mark the world shall never forget!