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National Merit Semifinalists


National Merit Semifinalists Make Time for Academics, Activities, and Service

Learning how to balance academic pursuits and activities while in high school pays dividends in college and career. Jackson Academy seniors who have been recognized by the National Merit Scholarship Program illustrate that taking personal responsibility and challenging oneself, as well as having the support of teachers and family, are factors that help them strike a healthy balance.

Alexander Schott and Nancy Usey have been named semifinalists by the National Merit program. They are among more than a million students who took the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test last year as juniors. Those receiving semifinalist status make up less than one percent of high school seniors across the country. In addition to testing, students seeking finalist status must validate other qualities of excellence, involvement, and leadership through a detailed application process.

Jackson Academy’s students took a moment to reflect on their favorite class, their future plans, choosing challenging courses, and their advice to other students.

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We’re Better Together! JA Joins ‘Go Gold’ Efforts


Friday, September 9 at the pep rally and the football game, love and support for children and families impacted by cancer was emphasized. Gold clothing, special T-shirts, gold glitter, and gold ribbons abounded as the JA community rallied to recognize and honor the courage of children affected by cancer during Childhood Cancer Awareness Month.

Go Gold is an outreach effort in area schools that helps educate students about types of childhood cancer and how they can help a classmate who is struggling with it. Go Gold also supports the Campbell Bulldog Fund, established to fund childhood cancer research at the Mississippi’s Children’s Cancer Center, located in Blair E. Batson Children’s Hospital at the University of Mississippi Medical Center.

“We raised $1001.00 Friday night, and the goal was to bring awareness to our campus. The JA campus came together and proved once again that we are always better together,” said Paula Pratt, associate dean. Signs at the pep rally and game honored members of the JA community who have experienced cancer.

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Learning Commons Opens


On Monday, September 12 students got their first official look at their new learning and gathering space. The Upper School library at Jackson Academy was renovated this summer into a multi functional Learning Commons, a central hub for student learning, collaboration, and innovation. The space is inviting, colorful, open, and light-filled, but it is a workhorse when it comes to flexible learning space.

The Learning Commons allows for student collaboration and study, access to technology and other learning resources, and space for free time and student entrepreneurial efforts. It provides options for how students work individually or in groups, with or without technology. Specific areas include spaces for active learning, collaboration, small groups, medium groups, a learning theater, a media/broadcast room, traditional stacks, gathering spaces, and flexible classrooms with moveable walls.

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Classes Collect Books for Inmates


In cooperation with Big House Books, Katharine Todd’s classes are collecting books for inmates in Mississippi correctional facilities, both juvenile and adult. Dr. Todd will be sponsoring a book club this year to give students the opportunity to support Big House Books and raise awareness of its mission. So far, students have collected three large boxes of books just through Dr. Todd’s classes, prior to the book club’s first meeting.

“I just recently found out about Big House Books–actually last weekend at the MS Book Fair–and was very moved by the letters they had on display from inmates who are benefiting from their program. I mentioned it to my classes this week, and I already have two and a half copy paper boxes filled with paperbacks,” said Dr. Todd.

The new club will sponsor packages for the inmates and have a book packing party for them this year.  The club will collect books throughout the year. “I’m hoping that this will allow students a ‘re-homing’ option for paperbacks that they read during the summer and school year but do not want to keep. I’ll have more details once the club gets up and running,” she said.

For more about Big House Books visit

Students and Faculty Initiate Ways to Help Flood Victims


JA students and faculty/staff have been mobilizing efforts since mid-August to support victims of flooding in Louisiana. Initiatives began within a couple days of the flooding when an Upper School student began a drive to collect bottled water, clothes, and school supplies. An Upper School faculty member and his class collected cleaning supplies, paper towels, bottled water, and school supplies, which were sent through a church. This past Friday, a Lower School teacher drove to Baton Rouge to deliver directly to those affected $3,400 worth of gift cards students had collected. She also delivered hand made cards expressing the support and love of the young students of JA.

The JAA initiated a school uniform drive. Nearly 350 skirts and skorts were sent to Central Private School, which is an MAIS school. This school serves grades K3-12. Also, 300-350 shorts and pants were delivered to Central Public School District in Baton Rouge.

JA Upper School students joined forces with JP on Wednesday to raise funds for Red Cross relief efforts. Within 48 hours JA students raised over $2,000 by setting up collection tables at the soccer and football games.

Support efforts are ongoing. Lower School has adopted Northside Elementary in Denham Springs. Books have been sent to the school, and more gently used books are being collected. Grades two through four have designated Northside as the recipient of the books from their Accelerated Reading Read 4 Need program for the first term.

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