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Students Tour Texas Colleges and Universities


Students (from left) Garrett Clarke, Jarvon Gaines, Kelsey Ford, Max Rogers, and Elliott Butler toured several Texas universities together with Jackson Academy Counseling Department staff members. Not pictured: Sean Lackey.


As their bus pulled through College Station they watched the busy pace of a college campus. It is a pace that Garrett Clarke and Max Rogers will be diving into next fall as they enter college. For Jarvon Gaines, Kelsey Ford, and Elliott Butler there is still another year and a half at JA, but college decisions already loom on their horizons. Counselors Amy Bush, Paula Pratt, and Danny Robertson led the group through its three-day tour, guiding students to ask questions and observe different schools’ cultures.

“I think these kids realized, if they hadn’t before, that the town that the college is in is just as important as the college itself,” said Bush. “The surroundings and community play a big role in the campus, and vice-versa.” The students were interested in majors ranging from per-veterinary to petroleum engineering. Despite these differences, they agreed that experiencing the atmosphere and size of a campus was an integral part of discovering whether or not it was a good fit for them.

“I wanted to go the next day,” said Kelsey after visiting Texas Christian University. Perfect fall weather accompanied a great visit throughout their three days in Texas. Bush said, “There is no greater advantage to a student than being on the campus, getting to see what the school is like, what the school is about, because no two campuses are alike.”

For the seniors on the trip, the visit did exactly what it was meant to do: helped them move toward confidentially making a college decision. “We’re really close to deciding where we want to go,” said Garrett.

Robot Dash Encourages Accurate and Proficient Coding

Congratulations to the top-scoring teams in the Fourth Grade Coding Competition. Each of the 20 teams had to complete five increasingly difficult challenges utilizing a coding robot named Dash. These challenges required teams to create a sequence of coded commands to complete a series of complex moves and tasks. Points were awarded based on accuracy and proficiency.

First place went to the Stargazers (Rebekah Brooke Benson, Crystal Gao, and Sanders Reeves).


Second place went to the Dazzling Dashes (Mary Lamar Chustz, Sara Kate Long, Chappell Lang, and Julia Thompson).


Third place went to the Bulldogs (Jack Voyles, Alex Martin, Larsen Robertson, Jake Pratt, and Evan Adams).


“Each team exercised excellent teamwork, perseverance and deductive reasoning,” said Lower School STEM instructor, Cliff Powers. “I’m so proud of each of their accomplishments.”

Intergalactic Artist Speaks in Chapel


Frank Ordaz spoke to JA’s Upper and Middle School students in chapel while visiting Mississippi to create a documentary of his journey as an artist and Christian. “I knew I was an artist by the time I was 7 years old,” he said. He painted the worlds of “Star Trek,” “Star Wars,” “E.T. the Extraterrestrial,” and many more before God invaded his galaxy with the gospel of grace.

“Non-Christians want to see authentic Christians,” Ordaz told students. “They are looking to see if you walk as Jesus did.” He experimented with world religions, but when he met a true follower of Jesus Christ everything changed. The man whose faith inspired Ordaz’s was a reputable sound engineer in Hollywood, but it was his humility that earned him respect and brought the gospel to life for Ordaz.

Ordaz describes his former self as extremely arrogant, but now he displays the same humility that first drew his attention to Christ. He graciously shared wisdom gleaned from his experience with students who are interested in working in the arts. He told students that to truly thrive as a Christian artist you must have a good support system, and be excellent at what you do.

After working as a matte painter for the movies, Ordaz went on to work as an illustrator. At the request of former first lady Barbara Bush he created the artwork for the 2006 White House Easter Egg Roll. In 2011, Ordaz returned to his first love: oil painting. His fine art landscapes and portraits are sold through shows he attends and his own venue in Auburn, California, where he resides with his wife Jana. The couple has two sons.

JA parent Anthony Thaxton met Ordaz at a Christian arts workshop where Ordaz invited Thaxton to help him share his story. In the three years since their first meeting the men have filmed in California, Mexico, and Mississippi and have become dear friends. Ordaz’s story includes the flamboyance of Hollywood but is ultimately a story of how one man’s humble faith set another free to discover his true Father and, through knowing him, his identity and purpose.

C Spire Coding Competition


Pepper the humanoid robot visited and even danced with JA Upper School students Preston McWilliams, Burkette Moulder, Ashton Berry, Kit McCormack, and teacher Sarah Shaw as they participated in a coding competition. C Spire hosted its second C3 high school competition at its headquarters one day before national S.T.E.M. day.

The C3 program features a computer coding challenge that students work on with the help of a C Spire employee and an adviser from their school. The students solved a series of puzzles that grew more difficult as they progressed. Competing against 29 other schools, our students placed within the top 10 teams at the event.

“It gave them exposure to coding,” said Shaw, “and kind of opened their eyes to that field and what’s available and how it works.” The all-day competition is designed to show students the career options available in tech-related fields like computer science and information technology. C Spire hopes to help students discover the world of coding as a gateway to a career.

Jackson Academy was represented by three senior students in the 2016-2017 C3 competition. Only 13 teams participated a year ago. As the program has already grown to involve 30 schools, JA students who participate in the future can anticipate friendly rivalry.

First Quarter Honor Rolls

Academy Honor Roll

Twelfth Grade
Avery Anderson, Janise Bennett, Blaine Bowman, Hadley Brennan, Hannah Collums, Ilana Dallaire, Lacey Irby, Will Laird, Braden Lewis, Dolph Maxwell, Meredith McClellan, Elizabeth McCubbins, Lindsey Nosef, Allie Perkins, Claire Ross, Maggie Smith, Lillie Walker, Emma Ward, Brehan Whitehead, Anna Claire Williams

Eleventh Grade
Ashlyn Adair, Skylar Alexander, Eeshaan Bajaj, Ashton Berry, Elliott Butler, Johnny Carpenter, Lucy Clement, Camille Couey, Mary Beth Dyess, Camille Felder, Charlie Gautier, Avery Hederman, Erin Hederman, Columbia Holeman, Megan Lacey, Anne Marie Lundy, Kit McCormack, Preston McWilliams, Brandon Miller, Gabrielle Morris, Burkette Moulder, Charlotte Palmer, McKinna Powell, Kaylan Sanders, Will Spence, Webb Strickland, Mary Lindley Tharp, Pier Thompson, Mary Parker Williams

Tenth Grade
Reese Anderson, Walker Barnes, Kelsey Burke, Steven Chustz, Carter Elliott, Courtney Francois, Simeon Gates, Trey Herrington, Miles Johnson, Case Kempthorne, Azaria McDowell, Harris McLemore, Asher Morgan, Kennedy Nations, Virginia Parry, Nora Pickering, Anna Katherine Ray, Anna Roberson, Lily Grace Thigpen, Nelson Thomas

Ninth Grade
Drew Antici, Thomas Arnold, Connor Bailey, Paul Bautista, Emmy Brown, Nicholas Bryan, Gracie Coe, Emma Collums, Ava Couey, Coleman Dinkins, Caroline Graven, Phoebe Guinn, Caroline Harrington, Sophie Hays, Avery Hendrick, Zharia Hill, Parker Kirby, Zoe Ladner, Warner Lamb, Emory Ann Laseter, Isabelle Lee, Isabel Lehman, Miles Taylor Leverette, Lachlan McLendon, Elizabeth Pedigo, Madeleine Pettus, Will Pilkington, Priya Ray, Emma Roberts, Lila Robertson, Anna Claire Seago, Lauren Anne Smith, Emery Thigpen, Wes Thomas, Ty Usey, Maysa Vivians, Alice Williams

Eighth Grade
Abigail Addison, Abby Arnett, Drew Barrentine, Cannon Bosarge, Anna Claire Bush, Gibson Cheney, Jalia Coins, Caroline Courtney, Gunner Cress, Rachel Beth Deaton, Regan Felder, Tye Gardner, Connor Gee, Ferriday Rose Green, Sandon Guild, Samuel Hadley, Reid Hewitt, Tray Holeman, Harrison Johnston, Maggie Koury, Annalee LeDuff, Davis Lee, Parker Lowe, Clayton Mahaffey, Kennedy McKee, Anna Carlisle Nichols, Anne Barret Roberson, Ashton Tate, Sarah Beth Usey, Annalee Willson

Seventh Grade
Thomas Antici, Bailey Berry, Cade Breland, Sarah Clay, Elizabeth Copeland, Lucy Brooks Elfert, Mary Manning Farese, Cooper Flechas, Jeffrey Gao, Grayce Geary, Ann Cole Hammons, Sydney Grace Hewitt, Emma Duncan Hogue, Blake Jones, Ava Ladner, Drake Lester, Samuel Long, Merritt Nations, Anna Lauren Parker, Eliza Perkins, Dev Sharma, Louis Summerford, Camille Towery, Josh Watson, Olivia Claire Williford, Parker Yarborough

Honor Roll

Twelfth Grade
De’ja Bradford, Garner Cheney, Caroline Childress, Sam Ciaccio, Garrett Clarke, Kellan Clower, Kennedy Collins, Sophie Creath, Frances Anne Fortner, Cailynn Gregory, Katherine Hudson, Katie Johnson, Kyle LeDuff, Tre Lewis, Emma Lucas, James McLemore, Blake Mills, Mary Mitchell, Gage Morgan, Kennedy Neal, Walker Pedigo, Max Rogers, TJ Smith, Olivia Stringer, Isabel Temple, Bryant Thaxton, Sarah Grea Walker, Drake Warman

Eleventh Grade
Hayden Allen, Addison Avdoyan, Lailaa Bashir, Samantha Brown, Ellie Brent Cartwright, Darby Douglas, Owen Fracchia, Ariel Hayes, Ansley Hill, Thomas Iupe, Sean Lackey, Francie LeDuff, Ashley Manning, Reese Overstreet, Isabelle Partain, Tafarri Pleas, Carneilus Powers, Dylan Ramey, Emory Rhodes, Logan Thomas

Tenth Grade
Joseph Adams, Lili Alford, Emily Burks, Brent Butler, Yazzy Chambers, Lizzy Childress, John Eric Clark, Kellum Clark, Ava Del Vecchio, Ginny Dyess, Gracie Eubank, Land Gebhart, Sydney Guy, Hannah Hardee, Logan Hatten, Russell Hawkins, Gabrielle Healy, Caroline Hill, Alayla Jackson, William Janous, Henry Lee, Christian Luckett, P.J. Martin, Sara Evelyn McClintock, Ja’Ree Myers, Douglas Noble, Keishun Pickett, Alex Rushing, Will Travelstead, Don Waller, Reed White, Mary Gray White

Ninth Grade
Simms Baker, Parker Bracken, Rosemary Caldwell, Mackenzie Coburn, Julianna Copeland, Ava Crawford, Jenna Daly, McNeill Dinkins, Mary Grace Downs, Turner Easley, Isabelle Eiland, Meredith Fielder, Tristan Foster, Krislyn Gibson, Gus Gordon, Fumilayo Hall, Garner Hixon, Michael Hogue, Andrew Holmes, Hallie Gray House, Ford Hudson, Caitlin Johnson, Graham Laseter, Nicole Lawrence, Marie Lewis, Michael Lowe, Jonathan Lucas, Pryor Mehrle, Jesse Montgomery, Hensley Moulder, Thomas Nance, Anna Blake Reed, Elena Roberts, Elise Robinson, Bryant Seago, Ally Sessums, Ella Jane Simmons, Emily Thompson, McKenna Thompson, Jack Varner, Kate White, Delaney Williams, Samia Wilson, Anne York

Eighth Grade
Jordan Bertschler, Andrew Burks, Elizabeth Castle, Davis Cress, Caroline Crisler, Ashley Crump, KD Davis, Morgan Dilworth, Matthew Frost, Parker Grant, Hudson Hadley, Anthony Jasinski, Libby Lohmeier, Brooks Magee, Daniel Martin, Molly McClure, Charlie Nutter, Hayden Parr, Olivia Quin, Will Rhodes, John Moak Scarbrough, Garrett Smith, Reed Travelstead, Banks Whittington, John Wicks, Drew Williams

Seventh Grade
Stella Allen, Molly Baldwin, Mary Peyton Barnette, Gwen Bishop, Emily Buchanan, KK Clark, Lila Eubank, Mary Grace Foster, Lilly Gebhart, Mia Healy, Houston Hearn, Win Hooker, Josie Huff, Adams Kennedy, Walker Lake, Cruise Nance, Gracie Drew Pratt, Brooke Rogers, Kendall Ross, Dane Stevens, Dajionae Weathersby, Bennett Wier

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