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Kerry-Ann Hamilton
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Howard University Middle School of Mathematics and Science (MS)²
Graduates First Class

Photos by Kerry-Ann Hamilton

Honor student Tekiah Jones listens attentively during the inaugural graduation exercise for the
Howard University Middle School of Mathematics and Science.

Washington, D.C. (June 8, 2008) - After three years of tackling tough science and advanced mathematics classes, “A” student Ashley Freeman and more than 100 of her classmates graduated on Friday, June 6 as the inaugural class of the Howard University Middle School of Mathematics and Science (MS)² .

Freeman was accepted to one of the top academic high schools in the District - Benjamin Banneker High School. Her classmates were also accepted to competitive high schools in the Washington D.C. area including McKinley Tech, Georgetown Day School, Gonzaga, The George School and St. Johns College.

“This is a proud and defining moment in the history of the middle school and Howard University,” said Marie C. Johns, (MS)²Board Chair and University Trustee. “On behalf of the Board of Directors, I would like to congratulate this historic class and express a sincere thank you to all those who made this possible.”

(MS)² opened its doors in the fall of 2005 as the first charter school established by a University in the Washington metropolitan area. Today, it remains a school of many “firsts” – the latest accolade a class of 103 students who aspire to be engineers, doctors, and scientists.

Renowned astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson, first appointed to the Frederick P. Rose Directorship of the Hayden Planetarium in 1996 at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City, was the graduation orator to the young scholars.

During his remarks, Tyson charged students to grasp mathematics and science as they are fundamental skills. He also made the school name an equation. "E=(MS)², excellence equals (MS)²," Tyson said.

Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson inspires the Howard University Middle School of Mathematics and Science Class of 2008

Tyson was only 9-years-old when he first viewed the universe while at the Hayden Planetarium. This visit changed his life and shaped his path toward astrophysics. During the Howard University 2008 commencement exercise, he was awarded a Doctor of Science honoris causa for his exemplary achievements in his field. He is the recipient of nine honorary doctorates and the NASA Distinguished Public Service Medal.

Josiah Christian, 15, is one of the (MS)² ’s many success stories. When Christian started, he was performing below grade level in the 6th grade, and was in need of Special Education services. However, due to his diligent effort, he no longer needed his IEP and he is graduating as an honors student.

“When I grow up I want to be an astronomer, so I really admire Dr. Tyson and all that he’s been able to achieve as a Black man,” said Christian, who will attend the prestigious Principia Upper School (boarding) in St. Louis, Mo. “I look up to him and his accomplishments are amazing, but when I become a professional I want to even surpass him.”

The achievements of the Middle School and this class are numerous including blue ribbons in national competitions. The dedication and hard work of the students and staff led to the fulfillment of national benchmarks. The April 2007 assessment ranked (MS)² among only 10 of the District’s 50 charter schools to make AYP in mathematics and reading.

“Together we are responsible for developing the whole child, but with emphasis on the outcomes that develop naturally from exposure to mathematics and science – academic independence, creative problem solving, exploration and discovery, and conceptual learning and understanding,” said Sue White, Head of School. “Our class of 2008 have honed these skills and we will track their success in high school and beyond.”

For more information on (MS)² visit

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