Auditions for the spring play, “The Great Gatsby,” will be Thursday, November 30, 6-8 p.m., and Monday, December 4, 4-6 p.m. in Hyde Chapel. A student-produced adaptation of the American literary classic, the play will run April 12, 14-16.
Robert J. Hussey, Sr. Chair of Religion Clay Smythe ’85 led the annual Thanksgiving Chapel November 21, by reading from the “1928 Book of Common Prayer.” Max Williams ’24 then read Deuteronomy 8:7-18; Instructor in Religion Elliott Dent, Psalm 65; and Tucker Davis ’25, 2 Corinthians 9:6-15.
The Civic Service Organization will collect gently used coats and pants Wednesday-Friday, Nov. 27 - Dec. 1. This clothing drive will help Calvary Rescue Mission and Room in the Inn as they care for homeless men and boys.
About 200 Latin students from the Memphis area participated in the Latin Fall Festivus in Hull Lower School on Saturday, November 18. Among the attendees were 70 Upper School and Lower School Owls, 34 of whom received recognition for their work in a variety of categories. All six Certamen teams received awards. Additionally, Owls captured 13 of the 20 Academic Pentathlon awards. See a complete list of Owl honors HERE.
We are starting a recreational Buzzards Basketball League for Upper School students. The season will last approximately eight weeks in January and February. There will be two divisions - one for freshman and sophomores and one for juniors and seniors.
Maj. Gen. F. Dexter Tutor – who served as special assistant to the director, Air National Guard in Arlington, Virginia, until 2008 – spoke in Hyde Chapel about the history and significance of Veterans Day and the brave men and women who have defended the freedoms we enjoy. He held the attention of the assembled students as he recounted – without notes – compelling stories of military heroism and sacrifice.
College meetings for juniors will begin Monday, November 27. Each Owl will receive an Outlook calendar invitation in his MUS email account for a meeting with his college counselor. Each meeting is scheduled for the student’s free period.
Thanks to the members of our distinguished alumni panel who answered questions posed by History Instructor Jason Peters ’88 on life in the military. The presentation was generated through the MUS Alumni Veterans Committee, which serves as a resource for the school community to provide education, awareness, and inspiration regarding military service and veteran causes.
Winter and spring sports are just ahead, so take advantage of the newly discounted sports passes in GoFan! Offering admission to all regular-season home games for the remainder of the 2023-24 school year, a pass costs $55 now.
One hundred two Owls from Upper School and Lower School competed in the Fall Startup Math Contest October 25. They had 30 minutes for 100 questions that began with an arithmetic problem (8,239 divided by 7) and progressed to an area problem requiring calculus.
Important college deadlines begin Wednesday, November 1. In addition to applications, other important deadlines begin hitting in the month of November. Carefully review the following list of reminders:
To increase security, we are initiating a new visitor management system beginning Monday, October 30. Anyone without a current U sticker on their windshield (red U on gray background) will be stopped at the gate so the security officer can verify identity and issue a temporary visitor pass.
Owl Latin students enjoyed the Latin Veterani Dinner at St. Mary’s Episcopal School on Monday, October 16. Around 75 “veteran” Latin IV and Latin V students from Collierville, Houston, Hutchison, St. Mary’s, and White Station joined MUS at the dinner.
Headmaster Pete Sanders has named Clay Smythe ’85 the Robert J. Hussey, Sr. Chair of Religion. Smythe has served in many roles at Memphis University School, but teaching religion and ethics has been a strong thread throughout his tenure.
The Alumni Executive Board honored Faculty Emeritus Rick Broer with the latest artwork in the Faculty Portrait Series. Family and friends gathered in the Dining Hall October 12 to celebrate the unveiling of his portrait, painted by Birmingham, Alabama, artist Carter Laney. Led by AEB President Horace Carter ’89, the evening featured tributes from Headmaster Pete Sanders, Director of Annual Fund Claire Farmer, former Lower School Administrative Assistant Julia DeBardeleben, and alumnus Steve Threlkeld ’82.
With a new FedEx Express electric delivery van parked in front of Hyde Chapel, the company’s Vice President of Human Resources Marcus Martinez, Director of Safety Thomas Lopez, and Senior Manager of Safety Larry Bizzell stopped by chapel Friday morning to teach Owls about vehicle safety.
The following 15 seniors have received recognition as National Merit Commended Scholars indicating their PSAT scores rank among the top 3-4% in the United States: Dannie Dong, Henry Duncan, Harry Feild, Harrison Goetze, Hayes Graham, Nathaniel Griffin, Will Hess, Andrew Kuhlo, Tucker Lowery, Zander Mathes, Eshaan Patnaik, Everett Sego, Neil Seth, Charlie Treadwell, and Jerry Xiao.
Senior Evan Wu spent much of his free time the last two years on an unconventional task for a high school student: analyzing genetic data for human and mice tissue and writing about it. His resulting research paper – Conserved Spatiotemporal Expression Landscape of Dominant tRNA Genes in Human and Mouse – has been published in the peer-reviewed journal Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications.
The varsity golf team won the TSSAA Division II-AA West Region Tournament at Windyke Country Club on Wednesday, September 20, registering a team score of 285 (-3). This is the varsity golf program’s second consecutive region title and its 20th overall.
September 13 is MUS Founders Day, a commemoration of the original school opening in 1893. On this day we honor the two teachers whose vision brought it to life, James White Sheffey Rhea and Edwin Sidney Werts.
Mr. Barry Ray has announced he will step down from his roles as Upper School principal and assistant headmaster effective May 2024. He will continue to serve the school by assisting in the alumni office.
Director of Facilities Willie Hollinger was honored in chapel today in recognition of his retirement after 20 years of service to the school. He came to MUS in 2003 after nearly two decades in facilities management at Methodist Healthcare in Memphis.
Students and parents interested in learning more about Historically Black Colleges and Universities are invited to attend a virtual program with college admission professionals Thursday, September 7, 6:30 pm.
Dannie Dong ’24 received an “Outstanding Poster” honor for his project “Predicting Tropical Cyclone Paths through Learning from Existing Methods” at the Math Association of America’s MathFest held in Tampa, Florida, August 2-5.
In light of the Netflix series Queen Cleopatra, Classical and Modern Languages Chair Ryan Sellers began the Wednesday Hyde Chapel speaker series August 18 with an examination of the life and media representation of the queen of the Ptolemaic Kingdom of Egypt.
Students at MUS have been among the nation’s top Advanced Placement performers since the school began participating in 1963, and this year was no different. In May the school administered 419 AP exams to 207 students, and 89% of tests taken by MUS students resulted in a score of 3 or higher. Students earned a 4 or 5 on 67% of the tests.
Joel Lim ’24 participated in the St. Jude High School Research Immersion Program this summer and presented his results July 29 at Lichterman Nature Center. In his research, “HPC Performance Evaluation of a Nextflow Pipeline – DIVIA,” Lim worked alongside St. Jude Researchers to explore the factors influencing data pipeline performance and optimization.
We are thrilled to host best-selling author and psychologist Dr. Michael G. Thompson on Monday, August 7, at 6:30 p.m. NOTE: This event has been moved to Hyde Chapel. An expert in boys, Thompson is a celebrated consultant, author, and clinical psychologist, specializing in children and families for nearly 35 years. It has been many years since we hosted him, so we are delighted to have him back for this parent forum. You don’t want to miss it!
We encourage all parents to sign the Safe Home Pledge, a longstanding tradition at MUS. By agreeing to the pledge, parents promise that all student gatherings will be supervised and alcohol, drug, and tobacco-free. They also pledge to welcome questions about student parties from other parents.
Have you completed your summer reading and math assignments? Summer work helps the student begin the school year on the right foot – and reading-test results have a significant impact on first quarter grades!
One of the privileges for seniors is the possibility of eating lunch off-campus. To enjoy this privilege, we need signed parent permission. The form is HERE and stored on the Driving, Parking Resource Board on OwlHub.
There are two revisions to the calendar you will want to note: Fall break will run October 2-6, and the first day of second semester for students will be January 3. Click HERE to view the At-a-Glance calendar.
After pick-up and drop-off times, everyone must enter the campus through the Primacy Parkway gate at 1350 Ridgeway Road. Read important instructions about driving, parking, school drop-off and pick-up locations, decals, and more on the Driving, Parking Resource Board in OwlHub.
David Ferebee has been named head coach of the swim team. Chair of the Physical Education Department and assistant to the athletic director dealing with logistics, Ferebee brings extensive knowledge of athletic development and experience as a parent of two successful competitive swimmers. He will be an excellent leader of a swim program that serves both our year-round club swimmers and our seasonal swimmers.
Sixty Spanish students garnered national recognition for their performance on the 2023 National Spanish Examinations. Owls earned a total of 10 Gold, 14 Silver, and 13 Bronze Medals, along with 23 honorable mentions. Patrick Burke ’25 achieved a perfect score on the Spanish II examination.
Faculty and families celebrated 10 eighth-grade Springfield Society inductees during a banquet May 11. These scholars are in the top 10% of their class and demonstrate character consistent with the high standards of the school’s Honor Code and Community Creed.
The Counseling Department is accepting Upper School volunteers for next year’s Peer Mentoring program - become a Wingman! Help a newer, younger student learn about the U! You will get training before you are paired with an underclassman. This is a great leadership and service-hours opportunity, so contact Mrs. Candy Harris with questions or sign up today!
Kristopher Johnson ’23 spoke about his mental health journey during chapel May 10. A member of the MUS Mental Health Club, the outgoing senior wanted to encourage students who may be struggling with mental and emotional issues.
The Hyde Library wants to help you get started with Summer Reading assignments! Everyone must complete the reading assignment before next fall, and the exam deeply influences first-quarter grades - so make your plans NOW to take (and pass) a Summer Reading Mastery course or by doing the reading assignment yourself over the summer.
In a twist of fate, the Student Council chaplain couldn’t make it to chapel May 5. Luckily, Robert J. Hussey, Sr. Chair of Religion David Jackson was available to deliver the devotional, because Headmaster Pete Sanders was honoring him, along with Instructor in Math Leigh Packard, to celebrate their retirements.
The Ambassador Selection Committee – which includes Counseling Director Joe Abrahams ’96, Admissions Assistant Director Emily Bailey, Lower School Athletic Director Matt Bakke, and Admissions Director Buck Towner ’07 – announced the Class of 2025 Student Ambassadors during chapel May 1.
Upper School Robotics engineers from the Class of 2023 put their skills to the test this semester as they built, programmed, and operated their creations to navigate a speed maze and clean up a trash pit in Science Department Chair Lee Loden’s Physics II: Robotics class.
Upper School and Lower School students interested in participating in the MUS Theater Company’s fall musical, Mamma Mia!, should head to Hyde Chapel May 8, 10, and 11 for auditions and tech interviews. Theater Assistant Director Ted Fockler ’10, Instructor in Music Matt Tutor ’91, and Theater Technical Director Robert Fudge welcome potential actors, actresses, designers, and crew members.
Mr. Jonathan Large, history teacher and Civic Service Organization advisor, received The Salvation Army Angel of Hope Award on April 27 during a volunteer appreciation dinner. In addition to his many personal philanthropic and service efforts, Large leads an impressive contingency of student volunteers. It was for his youth leadership and his work with the Angel Tree Program that he was honored this year.
Seven teams of Owls in Latin II, III, IV, and V competed in the Latin Club’s April Insanity Certamen Tournament, and the quartet of juniors Will Gramm, Parth Patel, Alan Zhou, and freshman Joshua Gramm came out on top.
Five Owls worked about 170 hours – six hours a week from October to April – to analyze the problem of recidivism in Iowa prisons and formulate solutions based on predictive mathematical models. Their 38-page report resulted in a second-place finish nationally in the 2022-23 Modeling the Future Challenge, sponsored by the Actuarial Foundation.
Nine Owls committed to the next stop in their academic and athletic journeys in front of families and friends April 27. The recruiting process ended as these seniors made their decisions final in the Wunderlich Lobby.
The United States Presidential Scholars Program has named senior Jack Zaptin a semifinalist.
Candidates are selected based on demonstrated excellence in scholarship, leadership, artistic and technical pursuits, personal conduct, and selfless service to others. Those who advance from semifinalists to Presidential Scholars will receive an expenses-paid trip to Washington where they will receive a medallion during a special ceremony sponsored by the White House.
What was needed for the Owls to bring home a state championship from the 2023 Mu Alpha Theta State Convention and Math Competition? Intense preparation, sure. But other factors – Nerf guns, late night pizza in the hotel, two stops at Buc-ee’s Travel Center, and basketball pickup games – cannot be ruled out.
Competing in this event for the first time since 2007, the Owls came away with nine top-3 awards including the Overall Sweepstakes. In the Math Bowl, two Owl teams met in the finals.
Teams and families celebrated 2022-23 achievements at the Jake Rudolph All-Sports Awards ceremony April 25. Seventy-five seniors received varsity-letter plaques celebrating their careers at MUS while 331 underclassmen received newly earned letters.
Class of 2023 family members joined students and faculty in Hyde Chapel on April 19 for the Senior Academic Awards program. Faculty presented the awards while praising each student for his accomplishments.
Instructor in Instrumental Music and Director of Band and Orchestra Programs Chris Piecuch has been named the University of Memphis Rudi E. Scheidt School of Music Educator of the Year. He will receive the award in an April 26 ceremony in the Scheidt Family Performing Arts Center.
Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee once again renewed our request to proclaim April as Latin Appreciation Month, carrying on a tradition started in 2014. The MUS student-created Latin phrase Musica e montibus fluit (“Music flows from the mountains”) continues to be the honorary Latin motto of the state.
Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland presented The President’s Volunteer Service Award to seven Owls at the Special Awards and Honor Societies Induction ceremony in Hyde Chapel April 12.
After reading about the selfless volunteerism of the honorees, he likened their work to the actions of the Good Samaritan toward the injured man in the famous parable. “People walked or rode by and thought, ‘If I stop, what will happen to me?’ The Samaritan flipped that and said, ‘If I don’t stop, what will happen to this man?’ And that is what these young men have done.”
In this course about making sensible life choices combined with the power of compound interest, students learn how to build wealth and change their financial family trees forever! Taught by Pam and George Sousoulas Chair of Economics Orlando McKay, subjects covered will include zero-based budgeting, car purchases, the world of credit cards, long-term investing, and much more. See a quick video message from him about this course HERE!
Eleven students participated in the 2023 WordSmith Olympics February 26 at the University of Memphis, led by Instructor in English Eric Dalle. Among the awards, seventh grader Gus Williams won a Gold Medal, and junior Jerry Xiao a Silver Medal. The Owls also earned school second-place trophies for seventh and 11th grade.
Nine Owls from the Class of 2023 have received regional honors for their writing in the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards, including Kyan Ramsay, who also won a national Gold Medal.
Ramsay’s critical essay examining themes in Toni Morrison’s novel “The Bluest Eye” was written as part of an independent study course, Perspectives in Women’s Literature, with English Department Chair Elizabeth Crosby last semester.
Members of the DECA Club received several awards during the Tennessee DECA State Career Development Conference March 8-11 in Chattanooga.
The club was elevated to Thrive Level, which allows up to six members to participate at Thrive Academy in this year’s International Career Development Conference in Orlando. They also earned the Club 75 Achievement Award for membership.
The Alumni Executive Board has memorialized the late Faculty Emeritus A. Robert Boelte, Jr. with the 18th painting in the Faculty Portrait Series. At the portrait unveiling March 23, family, alumni, and colleagues gathered to celebrate the popular teacher who also served as an administrator.
The team of seniors Amar Kanakamedala, Jeffrey Liu, Henry Yu, Lou Zhou, and junior Evan Wu were finalists in two math modeling competitions, each requiring extensive data mining and analysis followed by a detailed written report.
Instructor in Science Garrett Smithson spoke in chapel about life’s challenges and the importance of confiding in trusted family members, teachers and coaches, and friends. He reported the results of an anonymous survey he conducted among faculty and staff to illustrate how everyone has encountered problems.
The Bubones brought home their 14th-straight first-place trophy from the Tennessee Junior Classical League Convention held March 23-24 at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Knoxville.
A total of 36 MUS students, representing Latin I through Latin IV, contributed to this victory. They tallied 1,445 total points while the second-place team in the AAA Division, Webb School of Knoxville, scored 416 total points.
The Memphis University School chapter of the National Honor Society inducted 62 members from the junior and senior classes in a ceremony March 24.
Dr. David Jackson, chair of the selection committee, welcomed students and families to the ceremony while speaking on wisdom and the National Honor Society principles. Senior members then addressed the four pillars of the society, lighting candles to correspond with each trait: Amar Kanakamedala on scholarship, Parth Mishra on leadership, Carter Campbell on character, and John Lee on service.
The student body elected junior Bennett Owen to be the 2023-24 Honor Council president.
The Honor Council, composed of representatives from each class and a president elected by the student body, is charged with the responsibility of seeing that the school’s Honor Code is upheld and that any violation is dealt with fairly and justly.
Mr. Ross Spain has been named Memphis University School’s new Lower School assistant principal and Admissions associate, effective this summer. Spain comes to MUS from Presbyterian Day School where he has been director of Student Life since 2009.
Junior Evan Wu was among 400 semifinalists from around the world who competed in the Biology Olympiad on March 16. Wu and juniors Bryan Ding and Eshaan Patnaik and freshman Ari Thiyagarajaa took the online open exam February 2.
Owls traveled to Alabama for an educational tour to wrap up Black History Month. Led by English Department Chair Elizabeth Crosby and History Department Chair Jonathan Jones, the group first stopped at the site where Ell Persons was lynched in 1917 off Summer Avenue near the Wolf River. A marker stands near where the lynching took place. This event led to the formation of the Memphis chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.
Senior Abdullah Elahi held a chapel presentation March 8 on the most blessed time for Muslims around the world – Ramadan, a month of fasting, prayer, and introspection. This year the observance runs from March 22 - April 21.
Armed with laptops, a whiteboard, comfortable clothes, and assorted snacks, seniors Amar Kanakamedala, Jeffrey Liu, Henry Yu, Lou Zhou, and junior Evan Wu sequestered themselves for 14 continuous hours March 3 to compete in the MathWorks Math Modeling Challenge, an online contest with $100,000 in scholarships at stake. They completed a research paper titled "Riding into the Future: Evaluating E-Bikes."
Hunter Adams ’06 spoke to seventh and eighth graders during the monthly Manhood Breakfast March 3. Honor Council president his senior year, Adams focused on the three tenets of the Community Creed that most resonate with him: Truth and Honor, Respect, and Accountability.
We are grateful to Pastor Donald L. Johnson of Oak Grove Missionary Baptist Church for his chapel message today on three steps to success. Johnson encouraged the boys to be self-governing in emotions and conduct; to be discerning about peer influence; and to draw strength from a spiritual, not material source.
The Civic Service Organization will host their next Mid-South Food Bank distribution Saturday, March 4, in the Lower School parking lot. Volunteers should arrive at 8:30 a.m., and plan to leave around 11 a.m.
Celebrate your student's birthday, graduation, or other accomplishments by dedicating a book to the Hyde Library! Dedicated books are displayed during the year and include a special book plate honoring your Owl’s birthday or achievement.
Thirteen Owls competed in the North American Computational Linguistics Open Competition January 25, and seniors Varun Krishnamurthi and Ismael Qureshi and junior Gabe Chen have qualified for the invitational round March 16. In Tennessee only six students advanced, and three are Owls.
The 14-man Upper School robotics team was hard at work throughout this school year preparing for the TN FIRST Tech Challenge State Championship at Middle Tennessee State University February 18. After going 5-0 in qualifier matches and competing in the semifinals, they won the Think Award, given to the team that best reflects their journey through the engineering design process.
A dental model lost control of her scooter after skidding on sand that had spilled from a “party wagon.” The model suffered numerous injuries including the loss of her two front teeth, and she sued the driver for damages. The MUS Mock Trial team took on the case during the Mock Trial District 14 Competition.
The Memphis University School chapter of the Cum Laude Society inducted 26 new members from the classes of 2023 and 2024 during a ceremony February 24. Membership in the Cum Laude Society is the highest academic honor students in a secondary school can receive. The MUS chapter, which was modeled on Phi Beta Kappa, was chartered on December 14, 1967. The society encourages scholarship under the motto, “Excellence, Justice, Honor.”
Seventh and eighth graders are invited to attend the next Manhood Breakfast Friday, March 3. In this monthly series, faculty and alumni share their transformative MUS experiences, from boyhood to manhood, and use Community Creed principles to help students apply the lessons to their own lives. Complimentary breakfast will be provided, beginning at 7:15 a.m.
Thanks to Upper School Counselor Candy Harris for a heartfelt chapel program highlighting the history and customs of the Black church through her personal experience. And special thanks to the Ridgeway High School Concert and Men’s Choirs for a stirring performance of gospel music.
The uber-popular Toolbox Tuesday continues into the new year for eighth graders with an added program for seventh graders. Pam and George Sousoulas Chair of Economics Orlando McKay will teach his “How to Win with Money 101” course to seventh graders in Dunavant Lecture Hall every other Tuesday for the remainder of the semester. The class is usually offered over the summer to Grades 9-12.
The Lower School Robotics Club took home the highest honor, the Middle School Excellence Award, at the West Collierville Middle School VEX Robotics tournament February 11. The top trio of engineers – eighth graders Ike Emmert and Walker Shirley and seventh grader Mustafa Rehan – qualified for the state tournament March 4 at Brentwood Academy. See the guys in action from another recent event (at SBA) HERE.
Nine Owls competed in the prestigious American Invitational Math Exam Tuesday, February 7. The students scored well enough on their American Math Competition exams to qualify for the three-hour, 15 question AIME.
Freshman Miles McCarroll won the schoolwide English-Speaking Union Shakespeare Competition January 27 by performing an excerpt from Henry IV, Part 2, Act 5, Scene 5. Sophomore Amrik Chakravarty placed second with a performance as Nick Bottom from Act 4, Scene 1 of A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
Senior Kyan Ramsay’s chapel presentation started with a video, put together by fellow senior Cristian Arocho, in which they asked students and teachers to choose between a favorite interest and Black History Month. When Madame Rebecca Keel was asked “French or Black History Month?” she responded, “French Black History Month!”
The video was a humorous way to highlight the question Kyan asked himself about Black History Month: Why? Why is it important? Why do we celebrate it?
Senior Stryker Aitken committed to continue his football career at the University of Memphis. He put pen to paper in front of friends and family in the lobby of the Sue H. Hyde Sports and Physical Education Center.
Congratulations to the Owl musicians who auditioned for the All-West Tennessee Bands. They performed difficult musical excerpts and scales, and they were required to sight-read in front of a judge who is a professional musician and/or teacher.
Senior Lou Zhou reported in chapel on his independent study in sports analytics with Math Instructor Darin Clifft. Using random forest decision making and statistical computing, he quantified NBA players’ ability to make the last shot in a game, calling it DAWG, for Daggers Adequately Winning Games. “Through a combination of a metric which measures the importance or pressure of each shot as well as a metric which defines the difficulty of the shot, we can describe using math a player’s ability to hit that last shot.” Among his Top-10 were DeMar DeRozan, Trae Young, Damian Lillard, and Steph Curry, players “known pretty well for their clutch shooting ability.”
Memphis Day 2023 – dubbed Memphis Day Mayhem – showcased the best of the city with a little wrestling on the side!
The morning kicked off in Hyde Chapel with Studio Band playing Memphis tunes and Headmaster Pete Sanders framing the school’s vital connection to the city. He cited the 572 alumni who hold seats on nonprofit boards, the 486 Owls who are high-ranking corporate officers, and the alumni behind 20 of the top private companies in Memphis.
We encourage every family to apply for need-based financial aid, even if they think they might not qualify. Some colleges are surprisingly generous with their financial aid awards, so it is worth applying to receive full consideration.
Also, to be eligible for aid consideration all four years, some colleges require families to apply for financial aid the first year.
Often described as the man who personifies the slogan, “Just do it,” Mr. Willie Gregory, a Nike executive, has worked with top pro athletes, helped bring the Grizzlies to Memphis, spearheaded the largest sports athletic contract for the University of Memphis, worked to quell community unrest, and joined forces with organizations from the Greater Memphis Chamber to the 100 Black Men of America to the National Civil Rights Museum.
Illustrating his talk with examples from his life, he advised the boys to remember three words: relationships, opportunity, and appreciation.