Seniors and kindergarten students in Alpha and Omega attended the faculty-student basketball games together this past week. They cheered and watched games between female faculty and Upper School girls and male faculty and Upper School boys. The games were competitive and close in score, which made the event all the more exciting! Ultimately, getting to spend time with their Alpha and Omega friend was the most fun of all.
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Robotics teams in Jackson Academy’s fourth grade earned first place in the state in a global competition for lower school students. The four JA teams that completed the coding challenge each earned a perfect score. They all tied for first place in the state of Mississippi. Globally, the JA teams were among only 180 of 5,200 teams that received a perfect score. The teams took part of a challenge called Animal Habitat Rescue, and using robot Dash, along with his sidekick, Dot, they completed five animal-saving challenges before a December deadline.
The competition is one aspect of a systematic coding curriculum that has been added to the Lower School STEM program for grades first through fourth at JA. Using various age-appropriate robots and apps, the students learn programming, predicting, and problem-solving skills.
Earning first place for Mississippi were Team JA Dash (Anderson Ueltschey, Addison Jeffcoat, Willis Thigpen, Foster Meacham); Team Dynamite (Aniyah Brown, Anna Catherine Bennett, Law Stanley, Mason Brantley); Team Flaming Unicorns (Faith Wicks, Brooke Singleton, Ian Hosch, Parker Puckett); and Team Rainbow Parrots (Brooke Emerson Ogden, Lynnzee Stapleton, Micah Wallace, Parker Halford, and Aaron Howard).
This year, a systematic coding curriculum has been added to the Lower School STEM program for grades first through fourth. Using various age-appropriate robots and apps, the students learn programming, predicting, and problem-solving skills. As part of their learning experience, the fourth graders participated in the global Wonder League Robotics Competition along with 5,200 schools from around the world. The theme is Animal Habitat Rescue, and robot Dash, along with his sidekick, Dot, had to complete five animal-saving challenges before the December 15 deadline.
Four teams met the deadline and qualified for entry. Shown in the animation above counterclockwise after the title slide are the qualifying teams: Team JA Dash ( L to R – Anderson Ueltschey, Addison Jeffcoat, Willis Thigpen, Foster Meacham), Team Dynamite (L to R – Aniyah Brown, Anna Catherine Bennett, Law Stanley, Mason Brantley), Team Flaming Unicorns (L to R – Faith Wicks, Brooke Singleton, Ian Hosch, Parker Puckett), and Team Rainbow Parrots ( L to R – Brooke Emerson Ogden, Lynnzee Stapleton, Micah Wallace, Parker Halford, and Aaron Howard). Thirty finalists will be announced on January 15 and then given a sixth coding challenge and video project to complete in order for a first place winner to be chosen.
“All of the fourth grade teams did a phenomenal job, and I’m very proud of each one. The kids had a great time coding with Dash and Dot,” said Lower School STEM teacher Cliff Powers.
Jackson Academy President Cliff Kling has announced that Jack F. Milne has been named Vice President and Dean of the School. Milne will fill the role of senior administrator overseeing academics, arts, athletics, and student life upon the retirement of JA’s current Headmaster, Pat Taylor, in May 2017.
“Jack brings a wealth of experience and an impressive skill set to Jackson Academy after having served for 16 years at one of our country’s leading independent schools, The Bolles School in Jacksonville, Florida,” said Kling. “During the interview process, it was immediately very obvious to the search committee that his student-centered philosophy, his teaching background, his relational skills, and his leadership experience are an excellent fit for Jackson Academy.”
A special JA event is scheduled Monday at the Highland Village courtyard: Raider Network will broadcast during JA at the Village with live music provided by Jim Tomlinson, a 1995 JA alumnus. The event offers refreshments, games, and interviews featuring JA students, faculty, alumni, and school programs. Alumni, JA families, faculty/staff, students, and friends are invited to attend.