Making the most of their summer: five juniors attend the Missouri Scholar’s Academy


Courtesy of Ladue junior Grace Hu

Junior Alexander Seyer poses next to Ladue High School junior Grace Hu. After the final ceremony, Seyer says he was getting phone numbers and pictures with other scholars so he could stay in touch with his new friends. “You shouldn’t be all too worried about getting outside of your comfort zone. That makes you grow as a person and lets you learn things about yourself that you didn’t know before,” Seyer said.

Whether junior Sri Jaladi was rushing to his next class, or participating in Rubix cube races, he says that his time at the Missouri Scholars Academy (MSA) was a time that he would look back on fondly. Jaladi, as well as juniors Eva Phillips, Gillian Davis, Alexander Seyer and Kesava Viswanadha, were chosen to attend a three-week program at the University of Missouri, Columbia, MSA. 

The program helps gifted students to grow by providing them with opportunities. Students that attended MSA were introduced to new career fields and academic passions and given the opportunity to interact with professionals in their chosen paths. 

“It [MSA] allowed me to be introduced to new interesting topics and career paths but also allowed for a friendly environment to get to know and make friends with other people who have similar mindsets and interests as you,” Jaladi said. 

Students were selected for this opportunity based on their Practice ACT score, Practice SAT score, GPA, an IQ test and two written essays. 

“I felt great when I was chosen because the program is selective and not everyone who wants to attend can attend,” Jaladi said. 

Each day, students attended a major and a minor class of their choice. Additionally, students participated in afternoon activities, evening activities and house meetings. 

“One of the courses I took was Board Game Design, so I learned a lot about creating, designing, playtesting and getting board games published,” Jaladi said. “Each day was definitely jam-packed, and there was very little free time, but that “go go go!” mode is exactly what made the academy fun for me.” 

Aside from attending classes and being exposed to new ideas and situations, students made connections with people from across the Missouri area. Viswanadha says his favorite part of MSA was the bonds he created and friends he made. 

“The friendships that I made were forged quickly by the fact that so many of us thought alike, and therefore had a lot in common,” Viswanadha said. My favorite part of the academy was talking to and learning about different people and making new friendships with people that I would still keep in touch with. The Scholars Academy helped change my outlook on different people, and it helped me realize that I have more in common with other people than I had previously thought.”

Not only did the MSA provide guidance and exposure to careers and academic paths, but the program also revealed new viewpoints. 

“Before attending the academy, I was very goal-oriented and would hardly take a moment to consider other opportunities, viewpoints, career paths and interests,” Jaladi said. “However, I think that my viewpoints have changed from being rather confined to more open and willing to do new things and gain new interests.”

Thanks to her time at MSA, junior Eva Phillips says she now feels more confident. 

I think that the camp will help me be more open to trying new things over the years and be more focused on what I can gain rather than my fear of failure,” Phillips said. “I feel more confident in myself and my abilities, and I’m really grateful to have had this opportunity.”