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JACKSON ACADEMY

2019 ISSUE | VOLUME XX

A Publication for Jackson Academy Alumni, Families, and Friends


“Within our nurturing and spiritual community, Jackson Academy inspires and equips each student to lead a life of purpose and significance.�


CO NT ENTS

06

From Raymond to JA and Worth It The Thaxton family changed schools knowing the decision would present challenges and opportunities. The new environment nurtured their children’s creative spirits and helped strengthen their family heritage of artistic endeavors.

12

14

F E AT U R E S

Students Find Spaces for Building Character

22 D E PA R T M E N T S

10 

04  EDITOR’S LETTER



05  A LETTER FROM THE

 rom responding with courage, to telling their faith stories, to joining voices F speaking up for online civility, students who choose the high road uplift us all.

Classroom of Today and the Future

HEAD OF SCHOOL

36  CLASS OF 2019

16 

40  SCHOLARS

The

hands-on nature of today’s classroom delights JA’s youngest learners. Read how two teachers take the best of today’s methods to shape classrooms that excel.

Influencing with a Personal Story

45  TEACHERS OF THE YEAR 46  STUDENTS IN ACTION

20 

48  ATHLETICS

JA’s history is replete with examples of caring, experienced teachers who know their students well. See how one teacher’s decades-long career has impacted thousands, and learn from the insights of another teacher still early in his career.

52  ARTS

Still Inspired After All These Years

24 

An

inspirational teacher influenced 10 families so profoundly that they took a chance on phonics education and formed Jackson Academy. Sixty years later, the JA community continues to inspire students and family members with ideals that propel each toward lives of meaning.

ON THE COVER: Lower School students envision where their paths may lead after JA. TRUE BLUE 3


E D I TO R ’ S L E T T E R

JACKSON ACADEMY

2019 ISSUE | VOLUME XX

EDITOR/WRITER

As a parent of two Jackson Academy graduates, I had not realized the prayerful attitude that undergirded decisions at JA until I began working here in 2013. Prayers for students and their families, for faculty and staff, and for wisdom in decision making initiated each weekly administrative meeting. A similar realization occurred in 2018 while researching and writing about JA’s 60th anniversary. Details ref lecting the heart of the school and what the founding headmaster, Loyal Bearss, believed about teaching jumped out from the archives— from his hand-written lesson plans to recordings about the school’s founding. This individual from Shelby, Michigan, who moved to Mississippi to fill in for a university colleague, wanted everyone to be able to read effectively. A speech correctionist, Bearss’ experimented with methods for effective teaching. Phonics became his passion. After he attempted to find a home for his experimental phonics programs in the public school system and at a nearby parochial school, he and 10 families decided to start a new school for young learners. Phonics was the central tenet of this fledgling school’s existence. Beyond JA’s regular school year, Bearss sponsored summer sessions for students from other schools to improve their reading.

Patti Wade

Director of Marketing and Communication C R E AT I V E

Jonathan Blackwell Graphic Designer

PHOTOGRAPHER/WRITER

Rachel Lies

Interactive Media Coordinator CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS/WRITERS

Jonathan Blackwell Frances Bussey Lisa Bynum Joseph Craven Martha Grace Gray Rachel Lies Richard Stafford Patti Wade Jim Wilkirson

Age was also not a factor in his love of teaching reading. Sometimes older students studied at the new school, and he taught adults in other settings. Nancy Alford, a teacher under Loyal Bearss and later a JA dean, recalled hearing a woman recount at Bearss’ funeral how he had taught her as an adult so that she could read the Bible.

O F F I C E O F ADVAN C E M E NT

Alford’s voice conveyed the excitement of seeing students achieve success using Bearss’ phonics program—often on their first day of instruction. “He was such a remarkable teacher, and so unselfish. He would give anyone that phonics program because he wanted people to read,” she recalled. “If you had taught a child to read, you had given them the key to life.”

Chief Advancement Officer

This year, faculty and staff embraced the story of JA’s founding. Students took initiative to share their love of reading with others by conducting a book drive and donating more than 3,500 books to organizations devoted to making reading a priority and serving those whose access to books is limited. The 60th year has been a reminder of what a great school we enjoy. In this issue of True Blue, we look forward to envisioning with the JA community what exciting developments the next 60 years hold. Patti Wade Director of Marketing and Communication pwade@jacksonacademy.org

4 TRUE BLUE

Frances Bussey

Alumni Coordinator

Jim Wilkirson

True Blue, a semiannual publication, is published by the Office of Marketing and Communication and the Office of Advancement. Jackson Academy 4908 Ridgewood Road Jackson, MS 39211 If you have alumni news you would like to share, please send it to the above address or email it to Frances Bussey at fbussey@jacksonacademy.org. Photos submitted should be of high quality.


A LETTER FROM THE HEAD OF SCHOOL

Dear Jackson Academy family, In our recent induction ceremony for the JA chapter of the Cum Laude Society, I quoted my wife Caroline who once told me that she believed the role of Jackson Academy is, and should remain, “to give its students bigger eyes for bigger things in a bigger world.” I went on to tell the students that they would be among the future leaders that this city, this state, this country, and this world will depend upon to leave a positive mark. It would be up to them to use their God-given talents and much hard work to accomplish great things in the future for themselves, their families, and their communities. That is our job at Jackson Academy. In partnership with parents, we are to give our students the resources, encouragement, and direction to help them discover their gifts and interests, and then shape those students into individuals who will leave the world a better place than that which they found. I also pray that God will enable me to leave Jackson Academy perhaps a tiny bit better for my having been here. I continue to be extremely proud of our wellrounded students, whether in academic accomplishments, fine and performing arts, athletics, leadership, or service to their fellow man, and I am honored to be associated with such a talented and dedicated faculty and staff. At each graduation, it matters a great deal more to me the kind of young adult each student has become and the quality of character he or she will exhibit throughout life than the performance that might have been achieved in the classroom. As is frequently attributed to Aristotle: “Educating the mind without educating the heart is no education at all.” I believe with my whole being that no school does a better job at educating both minds and hearts than Jackson Academy. Go Raiders! Sincerely,

Jack F. Milne

TRUE BLUE 5


F EATUR ES

From

to

Worth It

and

Until Four years ago, commuting to a school in Jackson was never something Anthony and Amy Thaxton considered for their children. Co-owners of Thaxton Studios, a product ion compa ny based in Raymond, the couple was on the verge of homeschooling their son Bryant, a sophomore at the time, and daughter Sydney, a fourth grader. The family had a desire to travel and felt homeschooling might be the best option. That is, until Bryant’s former band director, Todd Taylor, invited Bryant to perform at Jackson Academy as part of an exhibition show. Bryant and a group of other students were part of the Brickstreet Boys, an ensemble that played Dixie music. Taylor had just been hired as JA’s band director and wanted to spark more interest in the Middle School band program. Taylor felt an exhibition show, performed by some of his talented former students, would do the trick. 6 TRUE BLUE

After the show, Bryant was invited to tour the school. That afternoon, he came home and announced to his parents that he wanted to attend JA. “My jaw dropped,” said Amy Thaxton. “Bryant has always been shy in new social situations. JA was a much bigger school than where he was going before. I just couldn’t see him wanting to change schools for his junior and senior years.” Despite their reservations, the Thaxtons made an appointment to tour the school. They were pleased with the warm welcome they received and impressed by the number of activities available to the students. “That factored a lot into our decision – there were so many good, quality options,” Anthony Thaxton explained.


F E AT U R E S

“The kids can try something on, get the experience, and see if they like it. Kids can find their own niche and chart their lives. There is a good chance they will discover themselves.”

“He really began to develop into a leader. I don’t think we would have seen this change in him if we had gone through with our plan to homeschool,” said Anthony Thaxton.

“After the tour, Bryant told us, ‘I want to do this,’” his mother said. “It has been the best decision we’ve ever made.”

The Thaxtons were also touched by the camaraderie and support that the students showed each other. Before one of Bryant’s first football games as part of the marching band, the Thaxtons noticed that as the football team walked onto the field they patted Bryant on the back and said, “Go blue tuba!”

Bryant is not only a talented musician, but is also a composer. He rejoined his former band director and began assisting Taylor in enhancing the band program. Bryant was given the opportunity to instruct other students in music methods and marching techniques. He even wrote arrangements for several of the stand songs performed by the JA Band. During his time at JA, Bryant also toured with the prestigious Mississippi Lions All-State Band for two years.

Creativity runs in the Thaxton family, with family members actively pursuing fine art, music, theatre, video production, and creative writing. Bryant, now a college sophomore, was chosen by JA Band Director Todd Taylor to write the field show for this upcoming football season, an assignment typically sent to a seasoned professional writer.

8 TRUE BLUE

Amy Thaxton adds, “Bryant felt like he fit in more at JA than anywhere else. We saw a lot of personal growth in him during his two years at JA. By the time he graduated, I knew he could handle anything. Bryant is blooming where he is now. I credit JA with that.”


F E AT U R E S

Bryant, who graduated in 2018, is now a sophomore at Mississippi College studying music composition. In addition to full-time college studies, he heads up the music recording side of Thaxton Studios. He has even been hired by Taylor to write the 2019 JA Marching Band halftime show. While Bryant made a name for himself in music, Sydney Thaxton became a rising elementary school star after publishing her first book shortly after arriving at JA as a fifth-grade student. Sydney had a fondness for writing before coming to the school. However, Sydney’s English teacher, Grace Simmons, was so impressed by the 11-year-old’s writing abilities that she encouraged Sydney to publish her work. The novel, titled Dusk, follows the story of a young girl named Phoenix Rose and her budding relationship with a stray dog named Dusk. The book is available for purchase online through Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Books-A-Million. After publication, Sydney did readings, book signings, and question and answer sessions at JA for fourth, fifth and sixth grade students. Sydney donated all the money from the resulting sales to the school library. “It was a great opportunity for Sydney because she was new to the school, and suddenly every kid in the fourth, fifth, and sixth grade knew her name,” said her father. In addition to writing, Sydney also enjoys painting and drawing, played on the seventh-grade girls basketball team, and plays the French horn in the JA Band. “Sydney will not miss a day of school because she loves it so much,” said Amy Thaxton. “That says a lot about the nurturing environment at JA.” The Thaxtons do get questioned from time to time about the cost of tuition and the commute to and from school. The Thaxtons live and operate their business in Raymond, which is 45 minutes away. “The commute is not an easy trek, but it’s worth it,” said Anthony Thaxton. “We use the long ride to and from school as an opportunity to talk to our kids. As

“As for the cost, we view it as an investment. You have to look at cost versus value. To us, the value we receive has far outweighed the cost. All of the programs are top-notch quality. We have not been disappointed with any of the activities that our kids have been involved in.” for the cost, we view it as an investment. You have to look at cost versus value. To us, the value we receive has far outweighed the cost. All of the programs are top-notch quality. We have not been disappointed with any of the activities that our kids have been involved in.”

– Anthony Thaxton

Amy Thaxton adds, “JA has felt more like a family than some of the smaller schools we’ve been a part of. I was scared going in that my children would be swallowed up and become just another face. That’s not at all what happened. The faculty put the kids as their main focus, and it really comes through. I am continually impressed and so glad we are here.” TRUE BLUE 9


F E AT U R E S

STUDENTS FACE CHALLENGES WITH CHARACTER

Natalya Salvo: A Heart of Courage

Henley Nance: A Heart of Compassion

cour·age

com·pas·sion

the ability to do something that frightens one.

sympathetic concern for the sufferings of others.

/ˈkərij/

Natalya Salvo’s courage shone brightly in the light of a hospital room. After battling multiple illnesses throughout the summer, Natalya was diagnosed with leukemia on July 31, 2018. Undaunted by her diagnosis, her first question was, “Will I have to miss school?” “I have always had a fear of needles,” Natalya shared. One of the most challenging aspects of treatment was the number of needles that she had to face. Doctors and nurses employed many different types and sizes of needles to beat back the cancer. As the disease retreated, needles were used less often, but a procedure to clean her blood left her with a blood clot that required regular shots over a long period of time. At first, the prospect was overwhelming and Natalya would balk when the nurses, and later her parents, sought to give her the shot. Night after night, Natalya had to choose to do something frightening and often painful, and over and over again she ultimately chose to hold still for the shot. In December of 2018, Natalya’s doctors informed her family that she was in partial remission. Overjoyed, she shared the news with friends and classmates schoolwide. Everyone was thrilled to celebrate Natalya’s health and bravery, inspired by the courage she has shown in facing cancer, and needles, and ready to cheer her on to complete remission. 10 TRUE BLUE

/kəmˈpaSHən/

“Henley, I need to tell you something important.” Rising sixth grader Henley Nance sat down with her mother and was shocked to learn that her friend had been diagnosed with cancer. Henley and Natalya had been inseparable since fourth grade. Always ready to support a friend, Henley and her mother began praying for Natalya’s recovery immediately. That day, Henley reached out through e-mail and soon took to text messaging with her classmate. The next week she visited her in the hospital. The friends walked through the ward together, and Henley saw that Blair E. Batson Hospital for Children had created a caring, encouraging environment for her friend. Their friendship never abated, even when Natalya was too sick to attend classes. “She would ask me questions about the schoolwork,” Henley recalled, “and we would Facetime and text.” Henley helped Natalya to keep up in school, and to keep her spirits up. “She wanted to be in Finale, and I would teach her all the Finale dances,” Henley said. When Natalya announced that she was in remission, Henley was ecstatic. “I don’t think I’ve ever cried that much. I was so happy.” Thanks to Henley’s help, her family, and a team of supportive teachers and friends, Natalya f inished the f irst semester standing strong on the stage with Finale, performing in the Christmas Show alongside her compassionate friend Henley.


F E AT U R E S

Ashton Berry: A Heart of Persistence

Webb Strickland: A Heart of Resilience

per·sist·ence

re·sil·ience

firm continuance in a course of action in spite of difficulty or opposition.

the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties; toughness.

/pərˈsistəns/

Ashton Berry’s persistence was never more evident than when she took to the softball field. For seven years, Berry started as a varsity player on the team, which meant that by her senior year she had started in every game since the sixth grade. In those seven years, the team only won 14 games. It was her love for the game that inspired her to persist throughout the tough seasons. “Softball brings me a sense of peace that I have not found in any other hobby or sport that I have ever played,” said Ashton. “If I had quit playing at JA, I don’t think that I would be the person that I am today because I would not have learned the lessons that I did through softball. Like my father, who was also my coach, always said: ‘There are more lessons in losing than there are in winning.’”

Latham Nance: A Heart of Confidence con·fi·dence /ˈkänfədəns/

a feeling of self-assurance arising from one’s appreciation of one’s own abilities or qualities.

/rəˈzilyəns/

“When I finally was cleared to play, I was faced with a decision: Do I keep playing or not?” In his third year of high school football, Webb Strickland found himself out of the game, knocked out by a concussion. Not being on the field hurt as badly as his injury. “My coaches, while not pressuring me to play, cared for me and were there for me when I needed them during this time,” recalled Webb. “This made me want to continue playing for them.” When Webb made the final decision to return to the team he found that he knew all of his reasons for returning by heart. “The memories I had made on the field with my teammates and friends were the deciding factor in my choice to continue playing. Looking back, I am glad I made that decision.”

“It takes courage to get on stage and do what I do, and I think that when you succeed at something that takes courage—you can’t help but gain confidence in yourself,” said Latham Nance. Audiences at JA have watched this talented performer ooze with confidence as he takes the stage, entertaining crowds with lead roles in productions that include Fiddler on the Roof, Mary Poppins, and The Wizard of Oz. Latham discovered his passion for performance while attending the Summer Show Offs camp that is hosted at JA each summer. His counselor, JA alumnus John Wright, ’09, inspired him to continue developing his talents, and soon his entire family was involved in cheering him on. “I found what I was good at in the PAC with teachers who poured into me. With my willingness to trust them, it was a good combination for building self-esteem.”

TRUE BLUE 11


Students

Grow

Spiritually as They Lead

Chapel

12 TRUE BLUE


F E AT U R E S

“Chapel has been a good platform to raise student leaders in their spiritual life.” — Chaplain John Hugh Tate, D. Min.

“One of my biggest visions for chapel is that it becomes more and more student-led,” said Chaplain John Hugh Tate, D. Min. “If spiritual life is going to continue to flourish here, that needs to be cultivated.” President Emeritus James Peter Jernberg Jr. and former Headmaster Pat Taylor worked with Tate to establish JA’s chapel service as a part of the life of the school in 2010. When chapel met for the first time, students in grades seven through twelve gathered together, listening to Tate’s teaching. “I remember the first chapel service,” he said. At first, it was somewhat experimental. “We did different things with worship. I would bring in musicians,” said Tate, “but we were trying to really pray that God would bring some student leaders to it.” Nine years later, his prayers for students to rise up and lead in chapel are being answered more loudly than ever before. In the fall of 2018, Meagan Gautier, Jacob Galantas ’19, and Carter Elliott began leading worship during Upper School chapel each month. The work of showing up for early morning rehearsals and planning for setup was worth it to them for the opportunity it created to publicly share their faith with fellow students. “What we’re doing is about glorifying God,” remarked Meagan. Students have also taken the lead by stepping up to the lectern, offering messages of hope and sharing their testimonies. The opportunity to speak was exciting, but also challenging.

For students like Johnny who are interested in full-time ministry as a career, the opportunity to experience some of the work that would be involved in their intended role is priceless. But regardless of which career a student envisions, these students are demonstrating that you don’t have to be a professional to have an effect.

“I remember being really, really nervous because I was going to be around my peers speaking about something that not everybody believes in,” said Meagan. Webb Strickland ’19, agreed, saying, “I was very nervous—my heart was pounding!”

Responding to the messages that his friends have shared, Jack Crisler ’19 said, “I would definitely say that having other students up there talking has been impactful, because they’re on your level.”

Overcoming their initial apprehension allowed the students to gain new experiences and insights, and seemed to accelerate their spiritual growth. After speaking in chapel, senior Peyton DePriest ’19 shared that “through preparing for it I grew in my relationship with the Lord.”

Others shared similar perspectives. “Seeing all the students being involved in chapel makes it a lot more comfortable for me to talk about my faith,” said Dylan Ramey ’19. “I’m thankful that we can do that here.”

“Being able to lead has really helped me to be more responsible for my faith,” shared Johnny Carpenter ’19, who intends to pursue a career in ministry. “It makes me take my faith more seriously and realize that I can actually make a difference with my words.”

Tate’s vision from 2010 continues to become a reality, as students rise up to lead worship and share messages inspired by their own faith with the student body. “Chapel has been a good platform to raise student leaders in their spiritual life,” said Tate. “It gives students an opportunity to use their gifts here, share their faith here, and share different faith journeys.” TRUE BLUE 13


F E AT U R E S

CAMPAIGNING –FOR–

KINDNESS 14 TRUE BLUE

“B

e kind on social media,” read a poster hanging along an Upper School hallway. Several yards away another read, “Kind words, kind hearts.” The posters remained in the Upper and Middle School buildings from January until May, reminding students of their capacity to inf luence the internet with kindness. The posters were created by Bronwyn Burford’s fifth-grade digital citizenship students. The course is required for that grade and provides a year-long study of how to use the internet for personal and academic pursuits. Although it only takes a small portion of overall class time, the segment that deals with cyberbullying and netiquette is relevant and useful for the students. “Cyberbullying occurs when one child or teen uses the Internet, cellphone, or other type of social media to harass, embarrass, or taunt another child or


F E AT U R E S

net·i·quette /ˈnedəkət,ˈnedəˌket/ noun

informal

the correct or acceptable way of communicating on the internet.

teen,” states a pamphlet created by the Office of the Mississippi Attorney General. A recent study conducted by the Pew Research Center indicated that as many as 59 percent of teens had experienced some form of cyberbullying. The prevalence of the practice makes it an important topic in education.

to use kind words online. JA’s Apple Systems Administrator Lori Snider collaborated with her to make that idea a reality. Snider recommended an iPad application that would help students create their artwork and messages. She then spent a week teaching students how to use the app.

As she prepared to teach the course segment, Burford noticed that many campaigns about cyberbullying only addressed putting a stop to the behavior, using messages like, “Don’t do this!” or “Stop Cyberbullying!” Burford decided that, instead of merely telling students what not to do, she wanted to help them focus on the opportunities that the internet provides to share kindness and positivity.

“Y’all are going to be teachers,” Burford informed her class. “I want you to spread the word that you can make a difference.” The students loved drawing on their iPads to design their posters. “They were just so enthusiastic … they love to create, and they loved seeing their work printed out on something and displayed.”

“Lori, I have this idea, but I don’t know how to make it work,” said Burford. Burford’s idea was for her students to develop a campaign encouraging people

When the posters were finished, Burford asked Upper School students to walk the halls with the fifth graders and select places to hang the posters. “They loved going with the high school kids,” Burford remarked with a smile.

”Do people like our posters? Were they helpful?” the students asked. Burford asked faculty and Upper School students what they thought about the Kindness Campaign. “The posters look so professional, I didn’t even know that JA students had done them,” one teacher said. Students found the positive messages encouraging and were glad that younger students were sharing what they had learned as a reminder to older students. After creating the campaign, the students moved on to topics such as researching reliable academic sources. At the end of the semester, the art was pulled down from the walls to make way for cleaning during the summer months. The point was never to merely make posters but to make an impact on people’s hearts. As Burford said, “We want to do our best to help these children be the best individuals that they can be.” TRUE BLUE 15


Inspiring Little Scientists

When Lynn Ladner

first embarked on her career,

it wasn’t as a science teacher. Ladner worked as a product liability lawyer for more than 20 years. The transition from lawyer to teacher may seem like a stretch, but Ladner found many of the day-to-day tasks she performed to prepare for a case helped her in the classroom. 16 TRUE BLUE


F E AT U R E S

“I spent a lot of my time explaining in a brief or to a judge or sometimes to a jury how things worked,” Ladner explains. “I really felt like that was a unique way to start thinking about teaching.” As her children grew, Ladner and her husband made the decision that she would cut back on practicing law to spend more time at home. She worked as a substitute teacher at JA for several years during that time, giving her the perfect opportunity to hone her teaching skills. Last year, Ladner was approached by Head of the Lower School Sarah Love about bringing an enhanced science curriculum to K4 and K5 students. “This age group is particularly wonderful because they are natural born scientists. They want to understand why things happen. They’re full of questions and full of curiosity,” says Ladner. “This is a great time for us to make science something very natural for them to be interested in and to enjoy rather than a subject that they get introduced to later on.”

“ This age group is particularly wonderful because they are natural born scientists. They want to understand why things happen. They’re full of questions and full of curiosity.” Ladner worked closely with Cliff Powers, STEM teacher for the Lower School, to develop a curriculum for the Science Explorations class. Many of the topics introduced in the class are subjects that will be covered more in-depth as they move through school. The program launched for the first time during the 2018-2019 school year. Every nine-week term is dedicated to a different topic. During the first nine weeks, students learned about the difference between living and nonliving things. They studied plants and how they grow, farm animals such as chickens and cows, and even examined live earthworms.

“Some of the children loved getting their hands on the earthworms and some of the children didn’t want to touch the worms,” she said. “But as they get more comfortable, then they do. That’s so rewarding because their fear factor is gone, and they realize there’s nothing scary about a worm.” The second nine weeks was dedicated to studying what Ladner describes as God’s favorite thing—the human body. Students learned about the various parts of the body, their different roles, and how everything works together. After that, students studied weather and the solar system. The fourth nine weeks was dedicated to physical science,

where they learned about weights and measurements and had the opportunity to engage in some hands-on projects, such as making slime. “We start each class with a book. It gets their attention; it grabs them. It’s a nice segue rather than just starting with a dry presentation of materials,” Ladner says. “We will have some sort of project or an experiment, a craft, where they have some very broad concepts and, usually, we incorporate a song or a little video that helps reinforce what we’re talking about.” The response from both students and parents has been positive. “The children will come in and they’ll say, ‘I got science stuff for Christmas!’ Or a parent will stop me in the hall and say, ‘My child was so upset that she was going to have to miss school on Tuesday because that’s her science day,’” Ladner adds. “I call them my little scientists. It’s a great subject for them to be excited about, and I really try to make it so that they are wanting to learn.” TRUE BLUE 17


THE

Classroom

OF

“My love for children in the classroom has grown to include their families. Teaching is no longer just about the 8 to 3 classroom time. Our school has become our family.”

KATRICE HADLEY First Grade Teacher Katrice Hadley knew she wanted to be a teacher when she was in the second grade. The 21-year teaching veteran fell in love with Jackson Academy after enrolling her twin boys in the K3 program. The next year, a teaching position opened, and Hadley jumped at the opportunity. Eleven years later, Hadley describes JA as her second home. “I became a teacher because I love children,” she says. “My love for children in the classroom has grown to include their families. Teaching is no longer just about the 8 to 3 classroom time. Our school has become our family.” Hadley’s first grade classroom operates a little differently than most. Over the years, she and the first grade team have implemented new methods of teaching and techniques that create a sense of community among her students, allow them to explore their creativity, and facilitate better learning retention. 18 TRUE BLUE

GENIUS HOUR Students receive time each week to delve into subjects or hobbies that interest them. This could include, but is not limited to, drawing, building with LEGO® sets, or researching topics that have sparked their curiosity. At the end of the hour, students stand up and share with the class what they have learned.

{{ “It gives students the opportunity to explore their own passion.”


THE

Future MORNING MEETINGS

WHOLE BRAIN TECHNIQUES

Students meet as a class for a devotional, prayer requests, and to share victories or concerns they are experiencing at home or at school. The meetings teach students how to express their emotions as well as foster empathy towards one another.

CLASSROOM ARRANGEMENT AND GROUP PROJECTS

This teaching approach allows kids to use their whole body to learn skills, rules, and phonics by acting out or performing actions or hand motions that remind them of what they learned.

BRAIN BREAKS Short mental breaks using music and movement are given throughout the day. The breaks help kids to stay calm and remain focused.

ORTON-GILLINGHAM TECHNIQUES This multi-sensory approach enhances learning through visual, auditory, and hands-on exploration. For example, a student might use dried macaroni as quotation marks in sentences they have written. When a child can see, feel, and manipulate what they are learning, it becomes easier for them to store it in long-term memory and recall it.

COMMUNITY BUILDING AND SELF AWARENESS Teachers have the freedom to help students work through a social or emotional lesson by allowing students to express feelings throughout the day.

Desks are arranged in small groups to encourage students to work together on assignments and research projects. For example, at one point each group was asked to research and write about a different animal. At the conclusion of the project, the reports were compiled and published into a class book.

{{ “I find the students learn better from each other than from me walking around the classroom making corrections.”

JOURNALING Each student is given a journal and encouraged to use it as a way to express their feelings when needed or to complete a writing assignment about a shared topic or story. Recently, Hadley asked her students to journal daily before going to bed. She encourages students to write down fears or concerns from the day in addition to happy experiences.

{{ “Journaling at home gives kids a chance to get out feelings that they’ve bottled up inside. After they’ve identified that anxiety, they can rest and talk about those problems in the morning.”

TRUE BLUE 19


F E AT U R E S

Influencing Lives

Makes Life

B he’s

ruce Sumrall likes to tell people the only faculty or staff member currently employed at JA who has canoed through campus. He’s referring to the Easter Flood of 1979 that flooded much of Jackson and left the JA campus under 39 inches of water. Once the waters receded, nearly 500 patrons showed up to help with the cleanup. Many of them had f lood damage of their own to deal with. Through tragedy comes triumph, and Sumrall believes the f lood was instrumental in shaping JA into the school it is today. “It brought us together,” he explained. “We had to borrow school books, and we held classes at local churches during the day. At night we put the school back

20 TRUE BLUE

together, ripping out carpet and putting up sheetrock.” Sumrall also feels the f lood further motivated JA to expand into high school. “At the time, we only went through junior high," said Sumrall, who served as junior high dean at the time. “We were pushing to expand into high school. After the flood, we decided to go for it.” One year later, Sumrall became JA’s first high school dean, overseeing 25 sophomores and 16 juniors. The school graduated its first class in 1982. Sumrall left JA in 1982 to pursue different career goals. He taught at other schools, worked in the business world


F E AT U R E S

«G od has chosen

teaching as

my mission. I am very

proud of the opportunity I have been given to

Worthwhile for a while, and served as headmaster of another private school. In 2001, an opportunity opened for him to return to JA and teach high school chemistry. “I get asked all the time why I would go from administration back to teaching,” Sumrall said. “You do what you love.” In addition to teaching part time, Sumrall also heads up the Outdoor Club and serves as adviser for the Honor Council. The Outdoor Club, which is open to high school students, plans four wilderness trips per year. The group has traveled across the country to places such as Arkansas, Alabama, Missouri, North Carolina, Sout h Carolina, Wyoming, and Montana. Sumrall has even taken a group of students to Canada. Activities

include camping, hiking, mountain climbing, boating, biking, and caving. “I wanted to provide something challenging for the older kids. It’s an opportunity to get kids outside and enjoy nature together with people they might not always hang out with,” he explained. “They learn something not only from the adventure, but from the devotions I share.” The Honor Council is a student-led governing body established in 2017 to promote ethical and moral behavior among peers. Students take an oath to conduct themselves with integrity and promise not to lie, cheat, steal, or tolerate those who do. A student perceived of violating the code must meet with the council. The council

change lives.»

gathers information about the alleged violation and makes recommendations to the head of the school as to how they believe the situation should be handled. “So far the council has worked well. It gives students and administration the opportunity to work together ... It has really fostered a positive change,” says Sumrall. Sumrall has seen a lot in the four decades he has been teaching. When the subject of retirement is broached, he is quick to respond. “I am 73 years old, and I plan on being here another 20,” he said with a laugh. “God has chosen teaching as my mission. I am very proud of the opportunity I have been given to change lives.” TRUE BLUE 21


advocate advocate a determined

choices choices for responsible

“When you are young, you think you are invincible.” That’s how Upper School English teacher Jay Levy describes his mindset the day he got behind the wheel of a car eight years ago. It was a day that would forever alter the direction of his life.


F E AT U R E S

for. When Levy joined the faculty of JA in 2018, the SADD chapter was not active. He began recruiting students. The chapter now boasts 25 members and continues to grow. “I use SADD as a way to share my testimony to younger students. I’m living with these examples. SADD is a part of me. It’s something I have to do,” said Levy. SADD members participate in several service activities throughout the year,

“When something seems insurmountable, You’ve got to find the light and use it for good.” In 2010, Levy was a sophomore education major at the University of Mississippi. He also held a part-time job as an assistant manager at the Sonic Drive-In in Oxford. During a visit to his home in Madison, Levy received an urgent call from the store. There was an issue, and he needed to come to work as soon as possible. “I was speeding, not wearing my seatbelt, and texting,” he said. “Everything I knew I shouldn’t be doing.” Levy was racing along Interstate 55 approaching Batesville. As he merged off of I-55 onto Highway 6 toward Oxford, he lost control of his car. The vehicle flipped, catapulting him through the sun roof. Levy sustained multiple injuries and was airlifted to a hospital in Memphis, Tennessee, where he was treated for a broken right arm, spinal injury, fractured neck, and other injuries. “I was lucky to be alive,” Levy said. After two weeks in the hospital, Levy began therapy at Methodist

Rehabilitation Center in Jackson. Because of his spinal injury, he would use a wheelchair for the rest of his life. Despite the daunting obstacles ahead, Levy was determined not the let the situation dictate his life. After sitting out for just one semester at Ole Miss, he returned to school with vigor and determination. He graduated on time and at the top of his class. Now a teacher in JA’s Upper School, Levy uses his story as a way to influence the teenagers he comes into contact with every day. “The very first day of school, I talk to my students about my accident. I show them pictures. It’s gruesome,” Levy said. “I tell them how I used to think wearing a seatbelt wasn’t cool because it could wrinkle my shirt. You think these things won’t happen to you, but it can.” Levy has also found another platform with which to influence his students – SADD, or Students Against Destructive Decisions. He passionately worked with chapters at schools he previously worked

such as seatbelt checks. The students hand out Smarties candy to students who are caught wearing their seatbelts and Dum-Dum pops to students who are not. At his former schools, Levy set up mock car crashes to allow students to see what it’s like to drink and drive. “I really want to bring awareness not just to the dangers of drinking and driving and the importance of wearing a seatbelt, but also distracted driving—driving while texting, while putting on makeup. It’s all dangerous,” he said. Levy said the response to his work has been positive and awe-inspiring. He enjoys working with the students in SADD and loves hearing their ideas and perspectives on new ways to bring awareness to the importance of safe driving. “When something seems insurmountable, you’ve got to find the light and use it for good. I’m living proof, and I’m willing to be open and share my story if it means I will get through to even one person.” TRUE BLUE 23


NANCY ALFORD, WHO TAUGHT WITH LOYAL BEARSS AND LATER BECAME ELEMENTARY DEAN AT JA

L

ong before Jackson Academy became a sprawling campus of brick buildings, classrooms, parking lots, athletic fields, and playgrounds, it consisted of 44 students from 10 local families meeting in the rooms of a 2,000-square-foot converted duplex apartment. The founding families were following the dream of a man named Loyal Bearss, a Michigan native who found his way to Mississippi and was a proponent of a somewhat controversial, but very successful phonetic method of teaching children to read. Nancy Alford was among the early faculty members at JA. Alford had taught for four years at Peeples Junior High School, leaving her position there in 1962 when she and her husband started a family. At the time, Alford was a member of North Park Presbyterian, the same congregation Bearss attended. One day, she inquired whether Bearss ever needed substitute teachers. Initially, Bearss declined. Because of the small class size, there wasn’t a need. However, one afternoon in October 1962, Alford received a call.

R e m e m b e r i n g

Loyal

A FORMER TEACHER

RECALLS THE EARLY DAYS OF JACKSON ACADEMY 24 TRUE BLUE

“He called me and said, ‘Can you teach tomorrow?’ And I said, ‘Oh, yes.’ Eight children, oh, how fun! I was in half of a living room. And we had four little desks here and four little desks here. And I remember the children.” Alford was assured by Bearss that her services would only be needed for that one day. However, later that afternoon she received another call inquiring if she could come back. Alford had earned a permanent position at JA. She retired from the school 42 years later. “The way you taught for Mr. Bearss, you walked in and he gave you a yellow legal tablet with the lesson plan written on it and you did just what he said,” recalled Alford.


F E AT U R E S

The idea for Bearss’ phonics program began while he was director of the speech and hearing clinic at the University of Southern Mississippi in Hattiesburg. He taught classes to help correct speech irregularities among his students. He discovered by teaching the students that each letter makes its own sound, they were more successful at pronouncing the word correctly. Parents began noticing not only that their children’s speech had improved, but so had their reading. Bearss named his program Beginning Phonics. He developed charts and lessons and wrote booklets to accompany his teaching. He sold his booklets for a quarter to anyone who wanted one. The program taught long vowels first, which was a highly unusual, but also successful, way of teaching. Many children were able to read on the very first day of class. “He gave you success right away,” Alford said. “He said, ‘Let the children come to school, let them read something on the first day and they are all off and running.’” Bearss approached some local public schools with his phonics program, but the schools did not adopt his proposal. His methods deviated from the traditional sight-reading method utilized by the schools. Through the sight-reading method, children are presented with hundreds of the most common English words and taught through memorization to recognize them by sight. “The reason I think phonics is so great, you can’t memorize every word. You need to know some sound,” Alford said. In 1958, Bearss was given permission to teach reading at St. Andrew’s Episcopal School. Parents were astounded by the improvement in their children’s reading abilities. St. Andrew’s opted not to renew the program the next school year. In May 1959, 10 families left St. Andrew’s to follow Loyal Bearss and his dream of teaching phonics. Jackson Academy opened its doors four months later. “I didn’t know phonics. I grew up during sight [reading],” said Alford. “We sat in the back of the room and he taught and absolutely made those children jump out of their chair.

‘LE T THE CHILDREN COME TO SCHOOL, LE T THEM READ SOME THING ON THE FIRS T DAY AND THE Y ARE ALL OFF AND RUNNING.’

Literally jumping up out of their seats to get called on to answer. Nothing is more boring than phonics if you don’t have a lot of enthusiasm. And he did. It was just amazing to watch it. It was so much fun.” In the early days, reading and math were taught from 8 a.m. to noon. with recess and snacks served mid-morning. After lunch, special subjects, such as P.E., music, art, and foreign language, were taught. Students were grouped together by performance, ensuring that students who were struggling would be given extra attention. “If you didn’t get it, he stayed right there until five o’clock and worked right with you. He didn’t think the smart child was better than the child who was struggling. He saw the worth of every child. And I think that was what also made him unique besides his program,” Alford said. Class sizes during the regular school year were small. But Alford recalls teaching huge classes of children during the summer. Many of the children were from the public schools. “He [Bearss] was open for everybody,” Alford explained. “If you want to come and you want to learn how to read, you’re welcome." Because Bearss’ program was so successful, many of his colleagues urged him to copyright and publish the material. However, he was more interested in teaching others to read than making money off his work. While he did eventually copyright the program, it was never formally published. Many times, Bearss gave his booklets away for free. Even after Bearss left JA to pursue other endeavors, he continued to teach both children and adults how to read. Alford recalls an elderly woman who spoke at Bearss’ funeral in 2006. The woman shared how Bearss taught her how to read as an adult because she wanted to read the Bible. “I can just see him sitting there going through phonics with her,” Alford said. “Until the day he died, he was [teaching people to read].”

FIRST LOCATION OF JACKSON ACADEMY, 4010 NORTHVIEW DRIVE

TRUE BLUE 25


F E AT U R E S

1

LOOKS TO

SAV E TH E DATE

- ALUMNI REUNION WEEKEND -

OC TO B E R 1 1 -1 2 , 2 01 9 Featuring all alumni tailgating and festivities prior to the Friday night game. For more information and complimentary alumni meal and ticket reservations, contact fbussey@jacksonacademy.org.


F E AT U R E S

THE

FUTURE

The rhythm of school life is a familiar experience of growing up. Fresh notebooks offer unblemished pages. Pencils wait to be sharpened. Odd grades are times of stretching knowledge and even grades are seasons to refine. Summer bliss awaits, followed by end-of-summer languor. Schools operate in cycles, says JA’s Assistant Head of School Matt Morgan. As he envisions the upcoming years for Jackson Academy, he acknowledges there are times when the school is pushing forward to new heights, and there are years when the school is refining what it has tested. JA is nearing the completion of the 2015-2020 strategic plan that focused a great deal on programming. While those goals are being wrapped up, preparation for the next strategic plan is under way. What are the changes that are taking place in education and in society that JA needs to address for the benefit of its students? The 2019-20 academic year is scheduled to be a planning year. Morgan anticipates that faculty will envision two to four big goals. One of the goals that will receive discussion is the idea of student and adult wellness, which is forecast to be one of

the upcoming revolutions in education. Wellness in schools addresses, for example, a school’s role in reducing anxiety, guiding the use of time, and helping students find balance between jam-packed days and adequate sleep. A Professional Development Day for faculty scheduled during the fall of 2019 will employ cross-divisional groups that will work on ideas for the next strategic plan. The process is modeled after an October 2018 planning event for JA led by James O. Kennedy of the Baylor School in Chattanooga, Tennessee. In the session called “Planning the Next 60: A Community Visioning Process,” Kennedy posed the guiding question: What do you want Jackson Academy to look like in the year 2023 in terms of its people, places, and programs? More than 160 members of the JA family participated in the community visioning process. Working first in small groups, participants generated ideas in a number of different categories. Then Kennedy led the entire group through a process to take each group’s ideas and together determine the most compelling ones overall to help chart a course for the future. The new strategic plan is expected to be approved by the JA Board of Trustees in the spring of 2020.

SAV E TH E DATE -

N E W TH I S Y E A R !

UPPER SCHOOL GRANDPARENTS DAY F R I DAY, OC TO B E R 2 5 , 2 01 9 Join us for a jam-packed day of excitement, exploration, and education as “the greatest generation” goes back to school! For a full schedule of activities and to make reservations, contact sthigpen@jacksonacademy.org.


F E AT U R E S

What do you think the future Just Imagine JA’s Future Written by Stu dents in Grades 1-4 Sixty years ago, one man’s imagination sparked the journey that brought about the creation of Jackson Academy. JA’s founder, Loyal Bearss, hoped for and worked toward a world where everyone could read for themselves. What hopes and imaginations will shape the next 60 years at JA? In 2018-19, we asked some of the individuals whose work will craft that future to share what they imagine JA will look like in the next 60 years.

“I think JA will be the best school in the country. It will have a bigger cafeteria and a bigger P.E. gym. I would like a very big playground. It would be the kindest school.” - Dudley Stancill, first grade

“I think JA is going to have some super awesome teachers, good rules, and I’m pretty sure the spotlight is going to be on JA -- the best school ever!”

“In the future JA would have new people. Me and AJ will still be best friends.”

“I think in STEM when we learn about space, we will go to space.”

- Josh Hubbard, second grade

- Margaret Johnston, second grade

“For sports, there will be a rock wall, a turf baseball field, a rodeo arena, a real soccer goal on the playground, and a massage chair for after you workout. There will be a train going through the JA campus to see all these awesome things.”

“Jackson Academy alumni will be, and are, the world’s best scientists, artists, and so many more! The best thing, however, is all the friends you will meet at Jackson Academy.”

- Neely Usry, second grade

“I wish JA could have an animal area to teach students how to take care of animals...I wish JA could have a puppy playground for training dogs. JA is an awesome school at teaching students.” - Berkleigh Akins, third grade

- Stone Haraway, third grade

28 TRUE BLUE

- Ellie Seago, fourth grade


F E AT U R E S

of

1 is going to be like?

“It will be a place where you can ride your scooters and bikes. They could maybe have more elevators. They could add more grades. They could even make a JA college.”

“ We could make a f lying pencil sharpener. Also, we could use elevators to get to other classrooms. The best thing would be we could turn our playground into a pool!!!”

“In the future, I think JA will have five elevators and a new football field. We will not have any homework and first grade will get to eat candy.”

- Evie Moremen, first grade

- Cash Woodall, first grade

“In the future Jackson Academy will have a giant cookie machine that shoots cookies at you. Students will get king cake every day.”

“On the 10 first days of school we will have half days and teachers will, too (because they need a break from us!).”

“If you get hot you push a button and snow comes down and you can have a snowball fight.”

- Aubrey Mapp, third grade

- Peyton Smith, third grade

“2079 will be a year of awesomeness! It will be a year nobody will expect. Field trips from the Earth to Mars will be possible, science projects for the best model rocket, and magic class! These will be some things added to JA in 2079, or you can say the future of JA!”

“A lthough there will be many changes in the future, Jackson Academy will remain the best school there is!”

- Liam Gill, first grade

- Colton Ogden, second grade

“The good things of JA are that when you feel down or, if you feel worried, then you can talk about it with friends, so you feel better. You also have the best teacher every year because all of them are nice….I hope all this stays in JA.” - Cole Williams, fourth grade

- Jayne Riley Edwards, fourth grade

- Cody Simmons, fourth grade TRUE BLUE 29


F E AT U R E S

A Year of Remembering Our Purpose JA started out in 1959 as a small school on Northview Drive with a large focus on teaching reading by phonics. Many children were able to read on the very first day of class using the Beginning Phonics program developed by JA’s first headmaster, Loyal Bearss. The school’s 60th year has been one of ref lection on that founding. It is beneficial to remember why small classes, reading using phonics, selfpaced learning, time for play, physical education, and even snacks, were part of the school’s original philosophy. Those important features of JA remain well recognized in education today. JA’s 60th year has been a great moment for reflection as the school moves forward into its next strategic plan cycle.

Teaching reading was the cornerstone of Jackson Academy’s founding.

30 TRUE BLUE


Students celebrated JA’s birthday by learning about its founding. They also collected books for Big House Books to distribute to incarcerated adults and to donate to young readers at Spann Elementary who participated in the Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy Teen Trendsetters program.

TRUE BLUE 31


The Jackson Academy Association (JAA) kicked off JA’s 60th year with the annual A Blue & White Night at the Country Club of Jackson. All alumni, as well as current parents and patrons, were invited to enjoy Southern food favorites while dancing to the music of The Chill. The event featured a fabulous array of auction items available for bidding.

32 TRUE BLUE


Approximately 300 alumni from all classes gathered together at Homecoming 2018 to celebrate JA’s 60 years. Seven alumni chefs and restaurateurs from Babalu, Barrelhouse, Brent’s Drugs, Local 463, Lou’s Full-Serv, The Manship, and Sugar Magnolia Takery provided artfully-crafted cuisine that was a highlight of the event. Alumna Mallory Henry with Lavish Fleur provided floral arrangements for the celebration.

TRUE BLUE 33


The annual Color Me Raider run, sponsored by the JA Athletic Booster Club, presented a unique opportunity to celebrate. The Sheffield neighborhood burst with color as volunteers doused runners in brightly dyed powder. A foam pit gave runners a cool welcome after the 5k and fun run. End-of-race festivities included a crawfish boil, kids zone, and a JA Raiders baseball game. A popular gathering spot was the alumni tent that offered imprinted 60th anniversary logo items, such as miniature baseballs, Koozies, and water bottles, as well as iced cookies and water. Alumni, current JA families, and neighbors had a wonderful time at the Athletic Booster Club’s annual event, celebrating JA’s 60th anniversary and the vibrant community that has developed since our founding.

34 TRUE BLUE


TRUE BLUE 35


9 1 0 2 f o s s la CP Ashlyn Grace Adair

Skylar Grace Alexander

Hayden Bradford Allen

Shields Elizabeth Armstrong

Addison Elizabeth Avdoyan

Eeshaan Kumari Bajaj

Faatimah Lailaa Bashir

Ashton Reese Berry

Noah Winston Berry

Cianna McKenzie Brewer

John Truett Brooks

Jane Ashley Brown

Matthew Barnes Brown

Samantha Paige Brown

Destiny Le’anna Dior Burns

William Elliott Butler

Johnathan Riley Carpenter

Ellie Brent Cartwright

Lucy Carrington Clement

Camille Crandall Couey

Daniel Clayton Courtney

Lily Gabrielle Crawford

John Martin Crisler

Joseph Nash Dehmer

Peyton Tanner DePriest

Cameron Montgomery Diket Jr.

Darby Erin Douglas

Mary Elizabeth Dyess

Parker Montgomery Evans

Susan Camille Felder

Sara Wilson Fielder

Sarah Glenn Fisher

William Blake Fletcher

Kelsey Arlene Ford

Owen Patrick Fracchia

Jarvon William Gaines

Jacob Scott Galatas

Charles Aiken Gautier Jr.

Ross Alexander Greenlee

Maximilian David Harmon

Ariel TeAunna Michelle Hayes

Wilson Cruz Heath

Caleigh Shell Hankins

Avery Elizabeth Hederman

Erin Gaither Hederman

Ansley Jessica Hill

Ramey Nan Hogue

Kaydee Columbia Holeman

Brooks Alexander Howie

Thomas Charles Iupe Jr.

Gregory Moreau Johnston Jr.

Katherine Lee Kelly

36 TRUE BLUE


Megan Jylenn Lacey

Sean Nicholas Lackey

Frances Grace LeDuff

Anne Marie Lundy

Nayan Malhotra

William Douglas Mann III

Ashley Anne Manning

Anne Katherine McCormack

Mary Kathryn McDowell

Robert Pepper McDowell

Jackson Reid McHenry

Jack Aubrey McIntire

Michael Preston McWilliams

Brandon Alexander Miller

Gabrielle Elizabeth Morris

David Burkette Moulder III

Travis Daniel Myers

Latham Laws Nance

William Richard Newman V

Peyton Charles Norwood

Katherine Reese Overstreet

Charlotte Layne Palmer

Annie Morse Parkes

Kathryn Isabelle Partain

Tafarri Diliza Pleas

John Robert Porch

McKinna Hart Powell

Carneilus Dimitri Powers

Dylan Pierce Ramey

Isaac Smithhart Reed

Emory Leigh Rhodes

Leah Caitlyn Richardson

Elijah Patrick Ridgeway

Walker Reid Rippee

Davis Tanner Robertson

Acardi Cole Robinson

Kaylan Lashaun Sanders

William Currie Spence

Webster Ivo Strickland II

Mary Lindley Tharp

Logan Christopher Thomas

William James Thomas

Pier Ayanna Thompson

Christian Brock Turner

Samuel Joseph Walenta

Lillian Alexandra Waltman

Guy Hyde White Jr.

William Andrew Whitfield

James Hunter Wilkirson

Charles Brammer Williams

Mary Parker Williams

Rivers Morrow Williams

Turner Andrews Willson

John Brewer Young

TRUE BLUE 37


COLL EG E C HOI C E S Ashlyn Grace Adair Auburn University Skylar Grace Alexander University of Mississippi Hayden Bradford Allen Mississippi State University Shields Elizabeth Armstrong University of Mississippi Addison Elizabeth Avdoyan University of Mississippi Eeshaan Kumari Bajaj University of Alabama at Birmingham

Mary Elizabeth Dyess Northern School of Contemporary Dance Parker Montgomery Evans Mississippi State University Susan Camille Felder Mississippi State University Sara Wilson Fielder University of Mississippi Sarah Glenn Fisher Mississippi College William Blake Fletcher University of Mississippi

Frances Grace LeDuff Belhaven University

Isaac Smithhart Reed Undecided

Anne Marie Lundy Mississippi State University

Emory Leigh Rhodes University of Mississippi

William Douglas Mann III Mississippi State University

Leah Caitlyn Richardson Mississippi State University

Ashley Anne Manning University of Mississippi

Elijah Patrick Ridgeway University of Mississippi

Nayan Malhotra University of Mississippi

Walker Reid Rippee University of Mississippi

Anne Katherine McCormack University of Mississippi

Davis Tanner Robertson Mississippi State University

Mary Kathryn McDowell Mississippi State University

Acardi Cole Robinson Mississippi State University

Robert Pepper McDowell Mississippi State University

Kaylan Lashaun Sanders University of Mississippi

Jackson Reid McHenry University of Mississippi

William Currie Spence Mississippi State University

Jack Aubrey McIntire University of Mississippi

Webster Ivo Strickland II University of Mississippi

Michael Preston McWilliams University of Mississippi

Mary Lindley Tharp University of Mississippi

Brandon Alexander Miller Mississippi State University

Logan Christopher Thomas University of Mississippi

Gabrielle Elizabeth Morris University of Mississippi

William James Thomas Mississippi State University

David Burkette Moulder III University of Alabama

Christian Brock Turner Undecided

Travis Daniel Myers Holmes Community College

Pier Ayanna Thompson University of Notre Dame

Latham Laws Nance Mississippi State University

Samuel Joseph Walenta Mississippi State University

William Richard Newman V University of Mississippi

Lillian Alexandra Waltman Mississippi State University Guy Hyde White Jr. University of Mississippi

Faatimah Lailaa Bashir Xavier University of Louisiana

Kelsey Arlene Ford High Point University

Ashton Reese Berry Mississippi State University

Owen Patrick Fracchia University of Mississippi

Noah Winston Berry Mississippi State University

Jarvon William Gaines Louisiana Tech University

Cianna McKenzie Brewer University of Southern Mississippi

Jacob Scott Galatas Millsaps College

John Truett Brooks University of Mississippi

Charles Aiken Gautier Jr. Mississippi State University

Jane Ashley Brown University of Mississippi

Ross Alexander Greenlee University of Mississippi

Matthew Barnes Brown University of Mississippi

Maximilian David Harmon University of West Alabama

Samantha Paige Brown University of Southern Mississippi

Ariel TeAunna Michelle Hayes Mississippi State University

Destiny Le’anna Dior Burns Mississippi State University

Wilson Cruz Heath University of Mississippi

William Elliott Butler Mississippi State University

Caleigh Shell Hankins Clemson University

Johnathan Riley Carpenter Mississippi College

Avery Elizabeth Hederman Mississippi College

Ellie Brent Cartwright University of Mississippi

Erin Gaither Hederman Mississippi College

Peyton Charles Norwood Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College

Lucy Carrington Clement College of William and Mary

Ansley Jessica Hill University of Mississippi

Katherine Reese Overstreet University of Mississippi

Camille Crandall Couey University of Mississippi

Ramey Nan Hogue Mississippi College

Charlotte Layne Palmer University of Mississippi

Daniel Clayton Courtney University of Mississippi

Kaydee Columbia Holeman Indiana University

Annie Morse Parkes University of Mississippi

Lily Gabrielle Crawford Mississippi State University

Brooks Alexander Howie University of Mississippi

Kathryn Isabelle Partain University of Mississippi

John Martin Crisler University of Mississippi

Thomas Charles Iupe Jr. Mississippi State University

Tafarri Diliza Pleas Fisk University

Joseph Nash Dehmer University of Mississippi

Gregory Moreau Johnston Jr. Holmes Community College

John Robert Porch University of Mississippi

Peyton Tanner DePriest Mississippi College

Katherine Lee Kelly University of Southern Mississippi

McKinna Hart Powell Mississippi State University

Cameron Montgomery Diket Jr. University of Mississippi

Megan Jylenn Lacey Bates College

Carneilus Dimitri Powers Mississippi State University

Darby Erin Douglas University of South Florida

Sean Nicholas Lackey University of Alabama

Dylan Pierce Ramey University of Mississippi

38 TRUE BLUE

William Andrew Whitfield Holmes Community College James Hunter Wilkirson Mississippi State University Charles Brammer Williams Mississippi State University Mary Parker Williams Mississippi State University Rivers Morrow Williams University of Mississippi Turner Andrews Willson University of Mississippi John Brewer Young Belhaven University


GR A DUAT IO N

On May 17, a celebratory evening culminated the high school careers of the JA Class of 2019. Congratulations were extended to each member of the graduating class and to Erin Hederman (top left), valedictorian and recipient of the MAIS Don Souder Award, given to the most outstanding female and male scholar athlete in the MAIS; Camille Couey (center photo below, far right), salutatorian; and the “Lifers,� who have attended JA since kindergarten (directly above).

Photos by Martha Grace Gray

TRUE BLUE 39


S CHOLAR S

Seventh Graders Selected for Duke TIP The D u ke Un ive rsit y Ta le nt Identification Program (Duke TIP) identifies seventh graders in states across the Southeast, Midwest, and Southwest who have scored at the 95th percentile or above on a grade-level achievement test. These students are invited to participate in the Duke TIP Seventh Grade Talent Search and take either the SAT or the ACT. This year, 40 Jackson Academy students qualified for the program including (from back, left) Aden Spratlin, Bo Barbour, Ford Childress, Newell Eatherly, Andrew Lee, Lowe Sims, Noah Pressler, Efrem Lehman, Red Deaton, Trey Johnston, Robert Flantroy, Zyon McDowell, Benjamin Watson, John Gordon Thompson, Miles Danley; (second row) Titus Taylor, Turner Denton, Harper Griffin, Kendall Edmonson, Mary

Cum Laude Welcomes New Members Designed to recognize scholastic achievement in secondary schools, the Cum Laude Society has granted charters to only four schools in Mississippi. Jackson Academy’s chapter welcomed (from back, left) Gabrielle Morris, Miles Johnson, Preston McWilliams, Carter Elliott, Charlie Gautier, Elliott Butler, Brandon Miller, Eeshaan Bajaj; (front) Pier Thompson, Will Spence, Webb Strickland, Megan Lacey, Anna Roberson, Reese Anderson, Anna Katherine Ray, Ashton Berry, Lily Grace Thigpen, and Camille Felder.

40 TRUE BLUE

Grace Seago, Anna Payton Parker, Lindsey Johnson, Abbi Mims, Alex Guild, Rachel Lehman, Mya Coins, Sophie McIntire, Lucy Allen, Sydney Thaxton, Gautam Ray, Tack Mahaffey,

Boston Hollingsworth; (front) Blair Wilson, Madilyn Ray, Mallory Brooks, Vivian Baker, Olivia Smith, Anna Margaret Hooker, Virginia Browning, and Samantha Roberts.


SCHOLARS

National Junior Honor Society The National Junior Honor Society recognizes students in seventh and eighth grades who have demonstrated excellence in the areas of scholarship, leadership, service, character, and citizenship. Jackson Academy’s chapter of the National Junior Honor Society inducted 60 new members during the 2018-2019 academic year. Inductees were (from back, left) Bailey Berry, Eliza Perkins, Anna Lauren Parker, Avery Brooks, Mary Manning Farese, Elizabeth Copeland, Sydney Grace Hewitt, Olivia Claire Williford, Emma Duncan Hogue, Grayce Geary, Sarah Clay, Ava Ladner, Camille Towery, Emily Buchanan, Emma Robertson, Gwen Bishop; (second row) Turner Denton, Adams Kennedy, Bo Barbour, Win Hooker, Benjamin Watson, Blake Jones, Dev Sharma, Jeffrey Gao, Cooper Flechas, Merritt Nations, Samuel Long, Bennett Wier, Parker Yarborough,

Dajionae Weathersby, Josh Watson, Houston Hearn; (third row) Mallory Brooks, Virginia Browning, Mary Grace Seago, Titus Taylor, Noah Pressler, Red Deaton, Mya Coins, Alex Guild, Sydney Thaxton, Kendall Edmonson, Liles Williams, Anna Margaret Hooker,

Vivian Baker, Abby Fielder; (front) Louis Summerford, Newell Eatherly, Cade Breland, Thomas Antici, Abbi Mims, Molly Baldwin, Stella Allen, Zyon McDowell, Tack Mahaffey, Matthew Mehrle, Gautam Ray, Blair Wilson, Lucy Brooks Elfert, and Landry Lester.

Christian Luckett, Sydney Guy; (front) Lila Robertson, Alice Williams, Pryor Mehrle, Case Kempthorne, Isabelle Lee, Emma Collums, Maysa Vivians, Miles

Taylor Leverette, Emory Laseter, Emmy Brown, Ashley Brown, Nayan Malhotra, Lailaa Bashir, Emily Burks, Gracie Coe, and P.J. Martin.

National Honor Society Jackson Academy’s Upper School chapter of the prestigious National Honor Society inducted 46 new members during the 2018-2019 academic year. Inductees (from back, left) were William Janous, Drew Antici, Reed White, Walker Barnes, Trey Herrington, Emery Thigpen, Parker Kirby, Coleman Dinkins, Henry Lee, Owen Fracchia, Sean Lackey, Walker Rippee, Johnny Carpenter, Hayden Allen, Sydney Morris; (second row) Russell Hawkins, Sophie Hays, Caroline Graven, Ginny Dyess, Avery Hendrick, Ava Couey, Caroline Harrington, Zoe Ladner, Anna Claire Seago, Priya Ray, Emma Roberts, Wes Thomas, Thomas Arnold,

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SCHOLARS

National Merit Scholars Lucy Clement, Anne Katherine McCormack, and David Burkette Moulder III were named finalists by the National Merit program. They are among more than one million students who took the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test as juniors. Those receiving finalist status make up less than one percent of the initial pool of entrants. In addition to testing, students seeking finalist status validate other qualities of excellence, involvement, and leadership through a detailed application process.

Hall of Fame Named New members of the JA Hall of Fame are (back, left) Webb Strickland, Preston McWilliams, Burkette Moulder, Carneilus Powers; (front) Erin Hederman, Avery Hederman, Columbia Holeman, Camille Couey, and Reese Overstreet. Hall of Fame members exemplify the highest standards of integrity and engagement in all areas of school and community life.

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SCHOLARS

STAR Students and Teachers Recognized Columbia Holeman and David Burkette Moulder III were named Jackson Academy’s STAR students for the 2018-2019 school year by the Mississippi Economic Council M.B. Swayze Foundation, sponsor of the Student Teacher Achievement Recognition (STAR) program. This prestigious award is granted on the basis of academic excellence demonstrated through ACT scores and scholastic averages. Each STAR student selected a STAR teacher. Columbia designated Chair of the Foreign Language Department Judy McKeigney, and Burkette chose Chair of the Science Department Sarah Shaw.

Valedictorian and Salutatorian Jackson Academy’s 2019 valedictorian was Erin Hederman, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Robert Hederman of Jackson. Camille Couey, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Christopher Couey of Jackson, was the school’s salutatorian.

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SCHOLARS

ACT 29+ Jackson Academy proudly supports our students’ pursuit of academic excellence and college preparedness. This year, 46 Upper School students were recognized for achieving ACT scores of 29 or above.

Ashlyn Adair

Skylar Alexander

Reese Anderson

Eeshaan Bajaj

Ashton Berry

Samantha Brown

Elliott Butler

Johnny Carpenter

Gibson Cheney

Steven Chustz

Lucy Clement

Camille Couey

Peyton DePriest

Carter Elliott

Camille Felder

Sarah Fisher

Owen Fracchia

Courtney Francois

Charlie Gautier

Avery Hederman

Erin Hederman

Caleigh Hankins

Columbia Holeman

Thomas Iupe

Miles Johnson

Parker Kirby

Megan Lacey

Sean Lackey

Zoe Ladner

Isabelle Lee

Kit McCormack

Preston McWilliams

Brandon Miller

Gabrielle Morris

Burkette Moulder

McKinna Powell

Anna Katherine Ray

Anna Roberson

Will Spence

Webb Strickland

Mary Lindley Tharp

Lily Grace Thigpen

Logan Thomas

Wes Thomas

Will Thomas

Pier Thompson

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TEACHERS OF THE YEAR

Teachers of the Year Each year, Jackson Academy proudly recognizes four Teacher of the Year award recipients at the Jackson Academy Association’s annual Teacher Appreciation Luncheon. Teachers from each division are selected by their peers to receive this distinction. Awards include monetary stipends contributed through generous gifts to the Annual Fund.

Suzanne Murray

Sandra Triplett

Suzanne Murray received the Lower School Teacher of the Year Award for grades K3 through K5. A member of JA’s class of 1991, Murray has taught K4 at the school for 23 years.

Sandra Triplett, JA Class of 2009, was awarded the Lower School Teacher of the Year Award for grades 1 through 4. Triplett has taught at the school for five years.

Debra Hastings

Stancie Ley

Debra Hastings received the Middle School Teacher of the Year Award. Hastings is a sixth-grade mathematics instructor and has taught at the school for 35 years.

Stancie Ley was awarded the Upper School Teacher of the Year Award. Ley has taught at JA for 15 years and currently instructs students in applied science and senior physics.

PRESCHOOL

MIDDLE SCHOOL

LOWER SCHOOL

UPPER SCHOOL

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STU D ENTS I N AC T I ON

SERVES In the 2018-2019 academic year, students in all grades participated in service projects. They raised funds to feed hungry friends through Heifer International. They collected toys to remind sick boys and girls that others are rooting for their bright futures and supported research to fight diseases like cancer and epilepsy. Even as our students work to transform the futures of those they’re serving, they are being transformed, becoming empowered to express compassion through action. That’s why JA serves—because we care.

$5,403

R AISED

FOR H EIFER INTERNATIONAL

( 12 Y E AR S , N E AR LY $ 40 K !)

500

C R E ATED

VA LENTI N E’ S DAY C A R DS FO R V E TER A N S H O M E A N D VA H OS P ITA L

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100

D O N ATED

O P ER ATI O N C H R I S TM A S C H I L D B OX E S


STUDENTS IN ACTION

900

C R E ATED A P P ROXI M ATELY

TR AY D ECO R ATI O N S FO R U M M C PATI ENTS AT C H R I S TM A S A N D E A S TER

$500

R A I S ED

FO R A C A N O PY C H I LD R EN ’ S SO LU TI O N S C H I LD ’ S C H R I S TM A S WI S H LI S T

3,500

CO LLEC TED

B O O K S TO D O N ATE TO S PA N N ELEM ENTA RY ’ S TEEN TR EN DS E T TER S P RO G R A M AND BIG HOUSE BOOKS

45

O RGA N IZ ATI O N S S ERV ED

LIV E S I M PAC TED

STILL C ALCUL ATING TRUE BLUE 47


ATHL ETICS

2018-19 Signings Throughout the year, students gather in the Learning Commons during the morning break to celebrate athletic signings with those athletes who will go on to play college sports. Athletic Director David Sykes and Assistant Athletic Director Brandt Walker act as masters of ceremony and the crowd of family, students, faculty, and staff cheers as students put pen to paper and officially commit to their future teams. In the 2018-2019 school year, the Raider family celebrated as nine students signed to play college sports.

Darby Douglas signed to play soccer at the University of South Florida.

Avery and Erin Hederman signed to play soccer for Mississippi College.

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AT H L E T I C S

Columbia Holeman signed to play softball for Indiana University.

Kinkead Dent signed to play football at the University of Mississippi.

Max Harmon signed to play football at the University of West Alabama.

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AT H L E T I C S

Francie LeDuff signed to run cross country and track at Belhaven University.

Megan Lacey signed to compete in track and field for Bates College.

Peyton Norwood signed to play golf for Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College.

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AT H L E T I C S

MAIS ATHLETIC HIGHLIGHTS 2018-2019 CHEER First Place & Overall Spirit Champions

GIRLS BASKETBALL AAAA-1 State Champion

BOYS BASKETBALL

GIRLS SOCCER

AAAA-1 State Runner-Up

Division 1 Champions (fourth year in a row)

BASEBALL

BOYS SOCCER

AAAA-1 Semifinalist

Division 1 Runner-Up

FOOTBALL

VOLLEYBALL

AAAA-1 Semifinalist

Overall Runner-Up

DANCE TEAM (ACCENTS)

BOYS TRACK

First Place Pom, Runner-Up Kick, & Overall Spirit Champions

Overall Runner-Up

GIRLS TENNIS AAAA-1 Champions (fifth year in a row)

BOYS TENNIS AAAA-1 State Runner-Up


A RTS

Fiddler on the Roof Leaves Audiences Toasting ‘To Life!’ The village of Anatevka came to life as a cast and crew of more than 45 Upper School students collaborated to present Fiddler on the Roof in October. Jackson Academy’s Performing Arts enthralled audiences with the classic Broadway musical, delivering lines and melodies in dialect, energetically carrying out intense dance numbers, and sweeping more than 1,000 attendees into the world of 1905 Russia.

Antigone Now Earns Distinguished Play Award In December, the cast and crew of Jackson Academy Theatre’s Antigone Now claimed the Distinguished Play award and were selected to compete in the Mississippi Theatre Association’s state festival, which took place in January. The performance garnered several awards, including first place for an original scene by Hensley Moulder and Phoebe Guinn and second place for a poster designed by Hensley Moulder. Reese Overstreet ’19 and Sarah Fisher ’19 earned All-Star Cast. 52 TRUE BLUE


ARTS

A Midsummer Night’s Dream Helena, Lysander, Hermia, and Demetrius had no idea what adventures were in store for them once night fell in the Blackbox Theater. Jackson Academy Performing Arts presented William Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream to three sold-out audiences in April. The cast and crew transformed the simple theater into a mysterious wood where audiences enjoyed adventures, mishaps, and the magic of live theatre.

If You Give a Student Creative License JA’s theatre students gave new life to the classic stories If You Give a Mouse a Cookie, If You Give a Moose a Muffin, and If You Give a Pig a Pancake by combining the trio into a Theatre for Young Audiences, or TYA, play during the spring semester. Tasked with the creation of a TYA experience in class, Reese Overstreet, Avery Adair, Phoebe Guinn, Gretchen Morris, and Hensley Moulder created a project that earned all A’s from the toughest, most honest audience they could find: JA’s K5 students. TRUE BLUE 53


ARTS

JA Band Jackson Academy’s marching and concert bands enjoyed a full year of delighting audiences in multiple venues. After a successful marching season, the group prepared a spring concert and earned all superior marks at the MAIS Band Competition. The highlight of the year was a trip to perform in Disney’s Magic Kingdom parade.

Finale In December, members of the sixth grade ensemble performed a Christmasthemed musical titled, “Dude, You Hear What I Hear?”. At the end of their studies in May, Finale presented a show choir-style performance of several songs, including Geronimo by Sheppard, On Top of the World by Imagine Dragons, There’s a Place for Us by Carrie Underwood, and Roar by Katy Perry.

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ARTS

Encore and Showtime JA’s Encore and Showtime show choirs hosted the Jackson Academy Show Choir Invitational for more than 2,000 attendees and presented a thrilling Spring Spectacular concert, in addition to earning awards at competitions throughout the Southeast. It takes incredible vocals, precise dancing, poise, and a powerful support team to bring a performance to life, and both groups did so throughout the year.

Newsies Coming to the JA Stage October 26-28 Don’t miss the Tony award-winning musical Newsies to be performed in the Jackson Academy Performing Arts Center in the fall of 2019! The show follows a group of New York City paper boys, "newsies," as they band together to confront publishing mogul Joseph Pulitzer after he attempts to reduce their earnings. With soaring ballads and powerful choreography, the musical celebrates the human potential to overcome challenges with collaboration, creativity, and an attitude of "One for all, and all for one!" TRUE BLUE 55


Introducing the new JACKSONACADEMY.ORG

Take a look! We invite you to visit JACKSONACADEMY.ORG to view the redesigned school website. Read our story. Stay connected.


4908 Ridgewood Road Jackson, Mississippi 39211

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TRUE BLUE | 2019 ISSUE | VOLUME XX

JACKSON ACADEMY

Profile for Jackson Academy

2019 True Blue Magazine  

Jackson Academy | 2019 Issue | Volume XX

2019 True Blue Magazine  

Jackson Academy | 2019 Issue | Volume XX

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