At the end of his sophomore year, Damonta Morgan left Clarksdale High School as one of its top students, according to The Hechinger Report. He transferred to The Mississippi School for Mathematics and Science, hoping for more challenging courses to prepare himself for college and a career as a biology professor. He soon learned how ill-prepared he was. “I wasn’t behind for Clarksdale High School,” Morgan said on a recent spring afternoon at MSMS, the state’s only public residential high school for academically gifted juniors and seniors. “But when I came here, I was behind.”

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