“Thank to everyone who made the MSA experience so phenomenal! Our daughter has just returned from this life-changing ‘camp’. We sent you a quiet, shy little girl and she has morphed into a more confident and happier young lady with a ton of new friends!
“_____ had nothing but good things to say about the experience. It is really incredible that you can bring 330 young adults together for three weeks, put together an organized disciplined program & have such great results. Our country needs more educators such as those at MSA.
“Basically, I want… to thank you for the opportunity for me to participate in what ended up being one of the best experiences I’ve ever had. I’d like to thank everyone involved…..I know (MSA) must get emails from Scholars all the time saying how wonderful MSA was, but I think I’ll elaborate on that a little. At MSA, I felt more comfortable than I have for a long time. I go to a very clique-ish and reputation-based school, so MSA was …a breath of fresh air. I definitely think I can say it changed my life. Not only was I comfortable exercising my vocabulary how I always would like without people laughing because I used an uncommon phrase, I was comfortable because the teachers and staff treated us like intelligent teens, not as every other student that walks up to them. I still “hang out” with other Scholars. I live near St. Louis and I drive in every weekend to see certain girls that I knew as well as boys from my house. Because of MSA, I now have a network of good friends from all over the state and from many different backgrounds that I have a whole new understanding of now. In fact, two weeks ago people came from all over the state to the “St. Louis Reunion”. It was basically about 20 or more scholars coming from Springfield, Kansas City, and the bootheel to stay with friends and hang out at the mall for the weekend. …..I guess I’m just trying to do the impossible in expressing how great MSA was for me, and how i am so very grateful.”
“I’m sure you’ve received countless e-mails from MSA parents over the years expressing their appreciation for what (MSA is) doing for our kids, and here’s another one!
“I am so happy that my daughter _____ was selected to be an MSA Scholar this year, and I am grateful to ____ your incredible staff for the outstanding MSA experience (they) are giving her. Ever since we first learned of MSA and that____might have a chance of being selected, I knew it was literally the chance of a lifetime and I hoped so badly that she would get the opportunity to go.
“My husband, son, and I attended Family Day and had a great time. ____’s team, the Victory Peeps, was in the Scholar Bowl finals, and watching her team win was just the icing on the cake for us that day! From what we understand, they will now go up against a team of MSA faculty and staff members on Thursday evening. If you’re on that team, all I can say after seeing them in action on Sunday is that you’d better watch out! But, after being around all these fantastically bright kids all these years I’m sure you already know that!
“Even though Family Day was great, I have to say I was completely blown away by the Opening Day activities and ceremony. I knew MSA was going to be wonderful, but Opening Day surpassed my already high expectations. I was especially impressed by Chris Joplin and his speech at the Opening Ceremony. How gratifying it must be to____your staff members to know that (MSA) had a hand in shaping his life, as well as the lives of the thousands of young people who have been MSA Scholars over the years.
“I’ve been enjoying the MSA website, especially the photos…!
“Thank you for everything, …. best wishes to (the) staff in these final days of this year’s MSA”
“WOW! I have been involved in working with gifted kids since my oldest son ____was in preschool. I have NEVER, NEVER, NEVER been involved with anything as wonderful as MSA!
“As a high school ____ teacher, I have often noticed how the opposite ends of the spectrum tend to overlap– social skills, learning in different ways, not fitting in! Rob Curl said it all in his remarks at the closing ceremony. My quiet, shy son came home with an outback hat, a new hairstyle, mustache and goatee, and confidence to take on the world (not just live in his brother’s shadow). He danced while there, with girls! Learned to salsa! Didn’t sit in the back and play cards as he has in the past. He painted a mural on a building, can complete the Rubics cube in incredible time, and loved the discussions about current events, et al. Teaching those kids to dance in a concrete way– lawnmower, sprinkler,– TERRIFIC! His actual words were “Mom, I can talk to people here and they get it!” Thank you, thank you, thank you and all of the staff for working so hard!”
“I am so happy that my daughter ____was selected to be an MSA Scholar this year, and I am grateful to …the incredible staff for the outstanding MSA experience (they have) giv(en) her. Ever since we first learned of MSA and that____might have a chance of being selected, I knew it was literally the chance of a lifetime and I hoped so badly that she would get the opportunity to go. We are even more pleased that she was able to attend than we thought we would be…
“We had heard all the testimonials before ____ attended the Academy, but we remained skeptical. I thought, ‘Yes, but you don’t know MY son…’ Amen, amen, I am a believer! Perhaps the most astounding change to me was ____’s vocabulary. Gone were all those politically incorrect teenage words like “lame,” “retarded,” and (others). Instead I heard “amazing” and “interesting” over and over again. Attitude change? You betcha!…Again, thanks for providing this fantastic program”
“Also…. thanks to everyone for the effort and time put into MSA. I know we only see a small portion of the physical and emotional energy that working at MSA must take. I have seen several differences in ______ since his return, many in the area of self-confidence and in feeling OK to “speak up”. The high he was in after coming home from the Academy was a high for me. MSA was just what he needed and you provided the opportunity.”
— Parent of 2006 Scholar; St. Charles
“Even eight years afterwards, I look back on my summer at MSA with the fondest of memories. I think of MSA as one of the happiest times of my life. I am so pleased to have had the opportunity for that life-altering experience.”
— 1997 Alum; 20 years later
“I thought I should write to let you know what has happened to me since the original Missouri Scholars Academy in 1985 (which I remember fondly). I received a BS in chemistry from the University of Chicago in 1991, and my Ph.D. in chemistry from the University of California, Berkeley, in 1996. I did a post-doc at the University of Colorado / NIST until 1998. Since 1999, I have been employed in the Combustion Research Facility of Sandia National Laboratories in Livermore, CA. I explore reaction mechanisms of elementary chemical reactions, lead my own lab, and have 3 or 4 people working with me in this endeavor. My funding comes almost entirely from the Department of Energy……..In 1998 I married Julie K. Morgan, also a 1985 MSA scholar who I met at the Academy. We now have a 2 year old daughter, Lydia, who lives with us in Oakland, CA. Without MSA I never would have met Julie, so there are certainly unanticipated benefits to MSA!”
— 1985 Alum; 20 years later
“I just want to express my sincerest appreciation and amazement of the MSA program. My daughter ________ actually attempted to fail the essay/application process because this program conflicted with her summer church camp. She still was accepted much to her discouragement. The only saving grace in her mind was the fact that two of her friends were joining her in Columbia. Her attitude was quite negative towards MSA. I heard nothing but complaints and whining about “summer school.”
“When we attended the orientation I was told as the other parents that my child will come home different. Yeah right, this is my ________. She is a chronic slacker who just happens to be gifted. She hates participating in any extra activities. I was quite skeptical.
“The entire drive to Columbia I listened to all the whining. The only thing she found pleasure in was her nice roommate and the discussion of all the snack food. The first e-mail home was quite negative because the nighttime snack was apples, not pop tarts as she hoped. The 2nd day was equally negative complaining about all the Japanese activities, getting up early and the food.
“Suddenly I noticed a change in the e-mails. They became quite positive and uplifting. I began to feel much better about sending her. On family day I heard nothing but good about the academy. She was thoroughly enjoying herself.
“By the time I came to pick her up, she was crying (my _____ does not cry easily) when she said goodbye to all her new friends. She could not totally explain MSA to me but it apparently was a life changing experience for her. She has requested that I sign her up for the Alumni association and wants to be an RA when she graduates.
“Then came the changes we were promised. My daughter matured years in a matter of weeks. She is now volunteering at our church all the time, she helps me around the house, eats better food and does not complain near to the level as before. I sent a child to MSA and now see a young woman forming.
“I still am not quite sure what all happened but I am completely sold. This was absolutely wonderful……….”
“I thought you’d be pleased to know, if you haven’t already heard, that the St. Louis – area MSA Scholars have reconvened a couple of times already (aside from the continuous phone calls and house visits, which started right away). Most recently was Friday-Saturday, August 11-12. Scholars commuted by car and train from throughout the State to gather…about 25 scholars total. They took in the sights: City Museum, Art Museum, The Loop in University City, etc., but primarily they delighted in each other. To their utter amazement, they twice encountered a couple of out-of-town Scholars who had no knowledge of the gathering. After the stunned shock and the ensuing squeals of glee, they were mobbed by and welcomed into the group. A St. Charles family hosted dinner for all…hamburgers and other grilled items…and lots of cookies! Many of the guys spent the night at the house of one scholar. I understand they had an early bed time…or should I say early breakfast time (Sunday was a few hours old already). You get the picture. As you can well imagine, MSA didn’t end on July 1. It will live on in these scholars lives for as long as they have memories and each other.”