Ode to the Phoenix

Long Time No See

Welcome back to What’s Cooking with Callie! February has proved itself, time and time again, to be quite strenuous, but one week remains until our much-needed spring break. Although this is totally tubular, I encourage all of you Mississippi School of the Arts students to savor these remaining weeks. Last year, for the class of 2020, their MSA experience ended after spring break. Students awoke to face a normal Friday, to eat a normal lunch, to finish up normal exams. Even today, I remember my final meal as a junior. I believe I had a fish sandwich on the patio, and everyone, included me, felt drained after the third nine weeks. We went home for a week and returned only to empty our dorm rooms.

This school year has arrested our time since August. Senioritis has kicked in…campus-wide. The days seem packed with endless tasks that lead to exhaustion. But in spite of everything—the stress, the pandemic, the lack of motivation—I have seen the people of MSA flourish. I have witnessed much kindness and perseverance. I have witnessed friendships blossom and people find happiness in the smallest fragments of existence. I have witnessed changes within people, wounds that have begun to heal. And I have witnessed the Student Life Center becoming a home, friends becoming family, moments becoming treasured memories. There is much adventure within these walls, within this city of Brookhaven. It is a place to meet people you will never forget. It is a place to truly experience life and discover yourself. It is a place you will certainly forget.

For fun, here is a poem about the Phoenix, the heart of MSA. Enjoy!

Ode to the Phoenix

When your mechanical doors open

students form lines that reach for miles,

greeted with “smile, smile, smile!” and the

uplifting energy of the food service department

who betters the quality of everyone’s day

and makes everyone feel appreciated.

For a moment, gathered together,

we are infinite—

truly alive in the moments we share

under the painted tiles of our predecessors;

for a moment

we are one family.

Thank you for sharing your tater tots

and running for seconds

and filling the room with laughter;

thank you for the random and sometimes

questionable conversations;

thank you for the kindness exhibited

when throwing each other’s trash away;

thank you for random piano playing.

The Phoenix is beyond a cafeteria—

it is a place to express your feelings to friends,

a place to linger before the bell rings,

a place to build relationships,

a place to realize you have an undying love

for M&M cookies and potato soup.

Today, we experience these memories,

these people,

this food,

but soon we will only have


Peace Out

Merely three months remain of this school year, of the seniors’ experience at MSA. So I encourage you all to savor every moment. Form exciting new friendships. Embarrass yourself at karaoke. Cry over spilled french fries. Play “Jump” by Van Halen on the piano. Eat a little too many tater tots. Always run to seconds. Eat outside sometimes. Include people sitting alone. Host study groups for U.S. history packets and chemistry. Live!

I hope all of you have a good rest of the week and enjoy the departure of winter! Spring is upon us, so feel free to decorate your dorms with dandelions. Spring break is near, so do not lose momentum. You got this. (:

With much love,


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