One warm and misty May morning in Columbus, Mississippi, the lobby of the classroom building at the Mississippi School for Mathematics and Science (MSMS) was full of teen-agers milling about, waiting for morning classes to begin.
In one corner of the glassy space was a grandfather clock, probably about 8 feet tall, constructed by one of the students out of brightly colored plastic pieces. On the hour, a little white ball would roll down a chute, tripping levers to ring a small chime. Upstairs in one of the science rooms was a 3-D printer, a rough-and-ready contraption that, with a little more luck, is approaching the final stages of actually printing something. Another of the students, a senior, had made it himself. I recognized several other students whom I had seen performing in an after-school stage production, one dressed as Eco-Man in blue and green tights, cape, and mask.
MSMS is a public boarding school in Columbus, occupying a few of the more modest buildings on the grounds of the elegant Mississippi University for Women, is called “The W”. The men who have enrolled at The W since it became co-ed, say they always have a time explaining themselves to those not in the know.