Two from VHS accepted to state arts school|[05/07/08]

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Two Vicksburg High School sophomores have been admitted to the Mississippi School of the Arts.

And, while the two girls say they have enjoyed their time in the Vicksburg Warren School District, as well as their years at the Conservatory of Fine Arts, where they have received vocal training, they couldn’t be more excited to be heading to the school in Brookhaven.

“I think it’s going to be an incredible experience,” said Sarah Thurmon, the 16-year-old daughter of Tom and Debbie Thurmon.

Email newsletter signup

Sign up for The Vicksburg Post's free newsletters

Check which newsletters you would like to receive
  • Vicksburg News: Sent daily at 5 am
  • Vicksburg Sports: Sent daily at 10 am
  • Vicksburg Living: Sent on 15th of each month

Sarah, along with Ellie Sills, the 15-year-old daughter of David and Kathy Sills, are two of 20 Mississippi sophomores to be accepted to the school this year.

About 200 applied to the Mississippi School of the Arts, a residential school in its fifth year that provides advanced study for juniors and seniors in literary and visual arts, theater and vocal music. Sophomores can apply in one or more areas. Applicants meeting the criteria are invited for an on-site audition, written assessment and interview.

Ellie and Sarah will study vocal music.

To applyA student must:Be a Mississippi resident.

Be a sophomore with a minimum of 10 Carnegie units of study upon the completion of the 10th grade.Demonstrate artistic achievement in the visual, performing, literary, or media arts.Submit a completed application packet.Audition and/or present a portfolio for review on-site (by invitation).Complete an on-site interview (by invitation).Complete a written arts assessment related to their chosen art form while on site at MSA.Have an overall high school GPA of 2.5. (Schools must include all visual and performing arts course grades in calculating overall GPA.)For information, call 866-672-7871 or visit”I’m very excited, but it’s a little bittersweet,” Ellie said. “It will be a lot like college – we’ll be on our own – and I know I’m going to love it there. But, at the same time, I know I’m going to miss being around my family, friends and my youth group.”

Ellie is a member of Vicksburg High’s Madrigals, and she has studied vocal music at the Conservatory of Fine Arts for two years. In its third year, the Conservatory is open to all ages and offers private lessons in various musical instruments, as well as vocal and visual arts.

Ellie also sings in the youth praise band at First Baptist Church and helps teach preschool choir.

Sarah is a member of VHS’ Madrigals and show choir. She is in the youth band at Highland Baptist Church and is a member of the church’s vocal ensemble.

“Like Ellie said, I know it’s going to be a little bittersweet,” Sarah said. “I know it will be a great experience, but there’s things back home that I know I will miss.”

After their junior years at the Mississippi School of the Arts, Ellie and Sarah will have the option of going back home or remaining a second year.

“I think we’ll definitely stay,” Sarah said. “I know I’m going to love being in a place where students are fully dedicated to the arts.”

The Mississippi School of the Arts is on the Whitworth College campus, which is a Mississippi Landmark listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It was created by the Legislature in 1999. Tuition is free, with state funds supporting most costs.