On Tuesday, February 21, 2017, 600 of Mississippi’s top high school mathematicians took part in the annual mu-alpha-theta math tournament hosted by the Mississippi School for Mathematics and Science.

“They do win medals and trophies, but the big thing for us really is not about the trophies, it’s about getting people excited about mathematics,” said MSMS Director for Academic Affairs, Kelly Brown.

More than a dozen public and private schools from all over Mississippi took part in the event. These mathletes competed to see who could solve mathematical puzzles the fastest, answer the most questions correctly, and generally show their mathematical mastery.

“A lot of the students are having fun and we are having fun,” said MSMS student Ariel Williams. “It’s cool to see it all work together, because it’s been a year in the making. We have a nice system that flows pretty effortlessly.”

MSMS students do not compete in the event, rather, the school’s students facilitate the tournament and create the puzzles and questions the competitors must solve.

“You have so many people rushing to get in an answer. You really have to stay on your toes and pay attention to make sure you know who got it in first,” said MSMS student David Thaggard.

The math tournament, which began shortly after MSMS was founded in 1987, is the school’s longest-lived outreach program.

This year’s top prize for overall success was Jackson Prep. Northwest Rankin High School took second and St. Andrews took third.

The Mississippi School for Mathematics and Science is Mississippi’s only public, residential high school specifically designed to meet the needs of the state’s most academically gifted and talented. For more information about MSMS, please visit