OHS students participate in a wide variety of summer programs


Swayze Dornbusch, staff writer

This summer, many OHS students participated
in various summer programs and activities. From leadership programs to outdoor biological studies, students constantly seek rigorous and exciting opportunities to apply for and attend during their break from school. OHS senior, Norah Bruce, had a once in a lifetime opportunity to travel the states doing activities she is passionate about.

At the beginning of the summer, Bruce was accepted to be a part of the Hutton’s Junior Fishery Biology program where she identified and worked with crayfish in a lab then later went on to work in a sediment lab. Bruce was able to experience first hand the demanding yet exciting field work that even attracted a videographer from PBS.

“The program basically pairs up students who are interested in fisheries and wildlife biology with fisheries experts near them. I first worked with crayfish at the Southern research station near whirlpool trials. I spent two weeks there working with crayfish, identifying them and doing lab work,” Bruce said. “I then spent a week at the sedimentation lab. I had the opportunity to go work with a team in Kentucky for two weeks, and we traveled to North Carolina, Alabama, Tennessee, and Georgia, and Illinois.”

Bruce was able to be a part of a project bigger than just a three week program, as the field work contributed to real outcomes and progress toward a scientific conclusion.

“We were part of a three year project to figure out why freshwater mussel populations are declining,” Bruce said.“Everyday we were somewhere new and there was a lot of driving, but I got to work with my best friend who also got this partnership. We went to streams and took water and supplement samples, we took population samples of invasive species called agent clams. We put out silos of baby mussels to see how stream habitat affects growth in a controlled environment.”

Through this experience, Bruce was able to gain a larger understanding of one of her passions.

“I learned a lot. I got a lot of experience and I had a chance to figure out who I am outside of school and Oxford. I got to figure out how to define myself without my parents or friends or expectations. I was always enjoying what I was doing,” Bruce said.

Many OHS teams such as envirothon and debate went to national tournaments to compete this summer. Bruce was also among the handful of OHS students who competed in these competitions. “It was fun because we all enjoyed the same stuff but for different reasons. There were people from all over. It was surprising because you wouldn’t expect such a diverse group of people to be involved in envirothon,” Bruce said. “We won Mississippi’s state envirothon, and whoever wins the state goes to nationals.”

Numerous OHS students also participated in the Lott Leadership summer institute at The University of Mississippi. This month-long leadership institute enables rising high school seniors to acquire public speaking skills, networking skills, and meetings with national leaders to dialogue about contemporary public policy issues. This summer program is very well regarded, and senior William Berry was among the five of the OHS students who

“This program was super fun. While it might seem like glorified summer school, making friends all across the state and making connections with Mississippi’s most prominent figures gave tons of fun memories I’ll never forget,” Berry said.

Senior Fikir Beyene also had the opportunity to attend Lott. Lott is an institution that combines rigorous classes with leadership activities, preparing high school students for not only academic but also professional success.

“In addition to the phenomenal professors and exciting activities, the strong community we formed at lott and the memories we made together are unforgettable,” Beyene said. “The informative classes, exciting activities, incredible professors, and supportive, multi talented students from across the country converged to provide us with an unforgettable summer. I’m so glad that I took the opportunity to participate in Lott this summer.”