Give a student a meat pie, they'll enjoy it for a day...
Longtime LSMSA supporters Phil and Mary Lou Brown believe in the philosophy of "teaching a man to fish," but instead of "man," it's "student," and instead of "fish," it's "make meat pies."
From being a host family for students to generously donating to the Foundation, the Natchitoches residents have supported the Louisiana School in a variety of ways since their granddaughter Rachel Sheffield ('16) was a student.
"It has been our delight to interact with many LSMSA students over the years (including our granddaughter Rachel)," said the Browns. "Education is very important to us and we have been impressed with the dedication LSMSA students have to learning. Our home has been open for prom dinners, crawfish boils, graduation parties, and just a place to wind down after a stressful day. We have also enjoyed taking students to church with us and always welcome others to join us."
This fall, the 1983 Society members joined their daughter and LSMSA Foundation Assistant Director of Operations Juliana Sheffield to present an Expanded Orientation showing students how to make meat pies.
Expanded Orientations, also called EOs, are orientation programs designed to engage students within the first nine weeks of school. With topics ranging from "How to attend office hours" and "How to send an email" to "Laundry 101" and "Friendship speed dating," EOs are a great way for students to acclimate into LSMSA's unique living/learning environment.
"A favorite activity for many of our student friends has been making Natchitoches meat pies," said the Browns. "With the beautiful new LLC (specifically the kitchen), we decided to take meat pie making (and eating) 'on the road.'"
Students went through the entire meat pie-making process, gaining a new appreciation for the tasty treats, their history, and their fellow chefs.
"As a new student who has never been very social, I was nervous when I signed up to make meat pies," said Olivia Brown ('23) of New Iberia. "Not only was the meat-pie making fun, I also realized how much of a family this school is and how people genuinely care about you. I also made new friends there. Altogether, it was a very great and memorable experience!"
The Browns have enjoyed building relationships at LSMSA over the years and follow many students after graduation, even visiting them at their chosen colleges or universities when they are able.
"Meat pies are such an iconic part of Natchitoches," said Emily Shumate, Director of Enrollment Management & Institutional Research. "This was the perfect fit for always-hungry teenagers, and a great way for students to learn more about where they’re living."
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Louisiana School for Math, Science, and the Arts (LSMSA) is the preeminent state-supported residential high school with competitive admissions for Louisiana's high-achieving, highly-motivated sophomores, juniors, and seniors. As a public school, there is no tuition to attend, and assistance from the LSMSA Foundation ensures the program is available to all qualifying students regardless of family financial need.