Attention Academy Juniors and Their Parents

It’s time to talk about senior projects!

Plan to visit the senior project information night on Wednesday, February 2nd.  Due to distancing guidance, we will need to offer two sessions and require that students be accompanied by only one parent, and masks are required.

We will record the session for those parents who can’t join us.  In addition to learning about the senior project requirements, parents and juniors will have the opportunity to walk through our senior project virtual gallery.

Please visit to see the times for each session and to sign-up.

Attention Parents of Academy Seniors

Attention parents of academy seniors.  A few senior project notifications.
  • The senior project paper is due on Wednesday, January 19th.  Seniors can access the submission form in the January section of the Livebinder and through the email message they received to their school accounts today. All seniors must submit their final papers on or before the 19th.
  • Once the papers are submitted, seniors will begin preparing for their presentations. Seniors selected their presentation dates during their January meeting with Mrs. Graves.
  • Mandatory practices will be held in February.
  • All presentations will be held in March–ask your student when their presentation will be.
  • Students will be allowed to invite 4 guests to attend.
  • The senior project gallery will be virtual this year.  It will go live on February 2nd and will be accessible through this page.
We hope this message helps as you begin planning for the second semester!  Thank you for your support. 

Parents, we need you!

We have AWESOME parents supporting our program.  They know that their support is good for ALL of our students.  Parents and former parents have served as guest lecturers–cardiologists, epidemiologists, engineers, data scientists–who provide a “real-life” context for the concepts our courses cover.  Parents have served as mentors to students (who aren’t their own children) as they work on senior projects, providing shadowing opportunities and experimental design guidance. Parents have helped to “pull off” big events like our senior recognition ceremony.

Our program is better for our parents’ involvement.  There are easy ways to get involved.  Please consider joining our MSA Booster Club and supporting their fundraisers.  Our students directly benefit from our Booster Club’s fundraising efforts!

How can parents get involved?

We have a tremendously helpful MSA Booster Club.  The Boosters support all kinds of projects–from securing lab resources to supporting student enrichment and independent projects.

Here are two examples of Booster funds supporting student work. Check out these senior project grant winners:

The Boosters are also a great community-sounding board for parents looking to connect with folks who have lived the life of an MSA parent; in typical years, the Boosters host social events for parents to connect.

However, this year, as a result of the current distancing guidelines, membership is down as is support for the Booster Club’s fundraisers.  This dip in membership and support will impact future efforts like the senior scholarships, underclassmen enrichment grants, senior project grants, and support for future events like symposiums and the senior recognition ceremony.

How can you join and support this group’s efforts?

  1. You can become a member: Click Here!
  2.  You can support their fundraisers:
    • Buy a T-Shirt: Click Here!
    • Holiday shop!  Use the MSABC’s Amazon Smile link to do some holiday shopping: Click Here!
    • Buy your groceries at a Kroger: Click Here!
    • Enjoy some holiday lights at a discounted rate:

      Click on the image above to access the purchase link for discounted tickets.


Virtual Open House Today at 6:00pm

During a “normal year,”  we have over 600 people in our auditorium for the opening session of our open house.  Under current distancing guidelines, we just can’t conduct a business-as-usual open house, and we don’t want to limit access to the information our teachers and students typically provide during our open house event.  To ensure equal access and delivery quality, we will be offering a virtual open house experience.  Interested students and parents can view the presentations prepared by our faculty, watch student testimonials, view former senior projects, and ask questions that will be answered by our academy coordinator.  We know there’s no perfect substitute for visiting our school and teachers in person, but we hope that we’ve come close!

On or after 6pm tonight, click the image below to access the open house.

By clicking the link above, you will navigate to a self-paced virtual “open house.”

Epidemiology Guest Lecture

For those who missed our most recent guest lecture on epidemiology, you can now view it on YouTube.  A big thank you to Ms. Krug for sharing her expertise in this important field!

Honoring Mrs. Burwell

Our principal, Dr. LeBlanc, shared the following message with the staff this week.  We know it will sit heavy on the hearts of former students and parents. 

For those of you who did not have the opportunity to work with Mrs. Lori Burwell at OLHS, Lori was an exceptional colleague, mentor, teacher, and friend. After being named the Ocean Lakes “Teacher of the Year” in 2014, Lori said her greatest award was the joy she experienced through her relationships with her students and colleagues. I had the privilege to work with Lori for several years at OL and often thought she loved teaching more than anything else in life (besides her family). It indeed appeared that way to her students because of the enthusiastic level of energy she put into helping them grasp certain concepts and master essential skills. So it only fits that her colleagues, friends, and students respected, admired, and honored her. Lori understood who she was and lived authentically. She was genuinely herself, which attracted people who appreciated her. Lori used her brain as a tool to gather information but listened to the guidance of her heart. She practiced kindness and compassion and made a difference in the world.

Services for Lori will be held at Eastern Shore Chapel, Laskin Road, on Friday, October 15, at 3:00 pm. Instead of flowers, contributions should be made to Metavivor, an organization that donates 100% of its donations to researching treatments for metastatic breast cancer.

Lori’s obituary can be accessed using the link below.

First guest lecture: MSA Alum Vishnu Talla

We love welcoming back MSA dolphins who can share dispatches from their post-MSA journey.  Yesterday, Vishnu Talla shared some terrific hindsight with our current students.  If you couldn’t make it, you can watch the recording by clicking the image below.  We know the students who attended heard some great advice from Vishnu, and we couldn’t be prouder of his post-high school success!

After a Tough Year, Some Good News

Let’s call the 2020-2021 school year what it was–it was hard!  That doesn’t mean good things weren’t happening.  We learned so many new skills, we focused our efforts on the essentials, and we practiced some agile thinking and problem-solving. Great things are happening for our graduates, too.  We are already hearing from our class of 2021 that their Academy foundation is helping them to build a successful undergraduate experience–from landing rare, undergraduate research/lab positions to being named to college advisory boards.

Beyond the awesome emails we are receiving from our graduates, we are hearing from university deans about our students’ success as researchers in college.  Most recently, we’ve received word from Dr. Keith Mellinger, Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Mary Washington, that Alexander Fernandez, MSA Class of 2018, presented at the UMW Jepson Summer Science Institute.  During the event, he shared his work, completed under Professor Lamphere in the biology department, titled “Morphological Changes in Non-Native Fish Species Influenced by Differences in Upstream and Downstream Habitats.”  Way to go, Alexander!  We remember when he presented his senior project at the planetarium and are so proud that his desire to learn, research, and publish his work to benefit others continues.

Beyond college, our students are emerging as field leaders–even in such crazy times as the past two years.  This past summer, we learned that the MSA’s very own Alex Stern was making headlines.  Click the image below to read more about the next step in his journey.  He’s accomplished so much since his senior project exploring how businesses use big data and data science–now he’s applying his talents in the NFL!