Tupelo Goes Northeast


Just before spring break, some of Tupelo’s brightest math and science students would visit Northeast Community College in Booneville to compete against the best of other Mississippi high schools.

According to Northeast Mississippi Community College’s official website, “These competitions involve students from the local schools in our five-county service district. In addition, faculty members assist with other competitions held by other divisions on our campus.”

This competition would come in the form of two tests similar to the ACT’s math and science sections, which would be immediately graded on campus and compared with the results of other students.

Schools won individual and group awards for math, science, and overall categories. Each group was represented by an adviser, with Tupelo’s being chemistry teacher Robert Pressley.

“I was extremely confident because I know we are one of the best academic institutions in Northeast Mississippi,” Pressley said.

Tupelo would walk away from the event with multiple honors, Including a first-overall finish in the competition’s group overall category, and multiple individual honors, including Junior Raymond Zhang’s first-place finish in math.

“For the math section, I felt like it was easy. I guess like ACT math. So yeah, it’s something I’ve already done before.” Zhang said.

While testing was ongoing, students who were not competing had the opportunity to tour the college’s campus and learn more about a place that they may be interested in attending after high school. 

On this tour, students would learn what makes Northeast community college unique compared to other Mississippi community colleges, highlighting the school’s bookstore, fitness center, and student services building.

“I really liked the gift shop because it had a bunch of useful stuff there. If you were practicing nursing, they had nursing materials and such,” junior Callie Keokominh said.

Although Tupelo finished strong, there is still room for improvement, as they would not place within the top 3 of the events science category.

“We didn’t win the Science category. So hopefully next year we can improve our science scores and walk away with first place in the science portion of the competition and the math portion.” Mr. Pressley said.

And while Tupelo would finish first overall, little time was spent specifically for this event, rather the time students spent in their classroom translated into strong results.

“I appreciate all the math and science teachers that work so hard to make sure our students are some of the best in the area and we don’t even have to practice in order to win these competitions because all the work is done in the classroom.” Pressley said.

Next year Tupelo hopes to improve upon their already stellar performance.