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800 Seats x 5 Performances = 4,000 Spoonfuls of Sugar

fullsizeoutput_667eSpelling a snippet of supercalifragilisticexpialidocious are (from left) Latham Nance (Bert), Reese Overstreet (Mary Poppins), Francie LeDuff (Mrs. Crawley), Lucy Allen (Jane Banks), and Willis Thigpen (Michael Banks).

Two leading ladies are making appearances at Jackson Academy: Mary Poppins and Kerri Courtney Sanders.

Reese Overstreet, a junior at JA, is thrilled to portray Mary Poppins. “Every time I run a scene or a musical number, I feel as if I need to pinch myself to make sure I am not dreaming. I watched this movie nonstop as a kid.” Reese loves everything from wielding the iconic green-parrot umbrella to conveying the heart of the story. “Mary Poppins is about family. Mary doesn’t just come to the Banks’ household to be a nanny for Jane and Michael, she was trying to mend a broken family. George Banks gets lost when trying to decipher between important and insignificant things in life, but in the end realizes that family comes first,” she says. “I hope everyone who watches the show experiences a similar realization.”

After six years at New Stage Theatre, Kerri Sanders is directing Mary Poppins as her debut in the role of Director of Theatre at JA. “It has been such a joy for me to work with such a supportive staff, enthusiastic students, and dedicated parents on this huge project.  I always say theatre is a team sport, and we definitely have a fantastic team here at JA,” she says.  “Mary Poppins is certainly a production that presents many theatrical and technical challenges, and we have been able to rise to those challenges with our group of people willing to tackle them! The local theatrical community has also been so supportive of our production.”

With the JA family and local theatre community supporting our students as they prepare to tell the Mary Poppins story, the cast members themselves have become a family. “Being in a show is like being in one big family, so I love being able to embrace that aspect and having so many amazingly talented kids join in on the fun,” Reese says. For Sanders, overseeing the production has already proven to be an extremely rewarding experience. “The most enjoyable part of this production so far has been working with the talents and creativity of the students,” she says.

The classic story of familial love and conflict, adventure and imagination will come to life as a cast of 88 students presents the show in JA’s Performing Arts Center October 28-30 and November 4-5. After the October 29 performance, JA will host ‘A Jolly Holiday Tea Party’ where characters will spend time taking pictures and snacking on sugary snacks with guests. This family-friendly entertainment is available to the greater Jackson community, so bring your family, your friends, and your friends’ families. Eight hundred seats and five performances offer 4,000 opportunities to sweeten lives with a spoonful of sugar.

To select seats and purchase tickets, visit

Students Invited to Grow Through Community Service

At the October 24 JA Community Service Fair, Upper School students will learn about area community partners where they can volunteer. The event is from 9:45 a.m.–10:30 a.m. in the Performing Arts Complex.

During this time of focus on community service, three students reflected on previous service and what they learned from serving others.


Two years of volunteering at Stewpot and the Natural Science Museum have given JJ insight into why it is important to volunteer. “Everyone should volunteer because you want to—not because somebody told you to or for recognition,” he said. “I volunteer to help the community because there are some people less fortunate than us.”

At Stewpot, JJ serves lunches and passes out drinks to people who don’t always get a meal on a regular basis.

He is also a museum summer camp counselor, helping with exhibits and giving tours.

“It is fun to teach others about the animals and the environment,” JJ said. “Volunteering makes me feel good because I am helping others.”


As a volunteer camp counselor working with children on a daily basis, Kaylan realized that the counselor is considered a role model for campers.

“Serving the community was an eye-opening experience for me because it showed me how much responsibility I was held to,” said Kaylan. “It also showed me how many children and parents look up to me and see me as a role model, meaning that my actions are words. Moreover, the experience really taught me leadership skills and more responsibility for others and myself.”

Not only does serving make Kaylan feel good because people are benefitting from her service, it also reminds her to be thankful. “It keeps a spirit of gratitude in my heart to continuously be thankful,” she said. She suggests students look for an organization with a mission that interests them to make the experience meaningful and fun. She also has learned the value of volunteering somewhere that is different and somewhat uncomfortable to break out of our natural comfort zone. “Get a group of friends together and go volunteer because the community needs us to make it a better place,” she said.


This summer through the WH&OH Missionary Department, Carneilus set up a distribution station and handed out food and clothing to homeless citizens in Poindexter Park. He also worked with Cathedral Church outreach ministry serving meals to homeless women and children at Flowers House.

“When volunteering at Poindexter, I was shocked to see how many homeless people are in need in our surrounding areas. It made me realize that there are so many people out there who need our help. This experience lit a match that starting a burning desire in my heart to further help the city of Jackson as much as I can,” he said.

“Serving the community makes me feel like I am a part of something bigger than myself that is making a major difference in my community. I feel very happy and heart warmed when I see the smiles on the people’s faces that I serve, and it makes me want to never stop helping,” said Carnelius.

Carnelius believes when students volunteer they get to be a part of something that helps people who really need it. “It is a life changing experience,” he said. “You learn things about yourself that you would have never discovered if you had not embarked on this journey. Every little action helps. There is nothing you can do that is too small or not important.”

JA does not currently require volunteer hours, but sees many students developing servant hearts naturally through their experiences at school and in the community. The school designs the Community Service Fair to help more students connect with the many service opportunities available. Questions about the Community Service Fair can be directed to Audrey Wilkirson at or 601-613-1555.

“Even though JA does not require you to get volunteer hours, volunteering is a great way to hang out with your friends and have fun while also improving the community around you,” said Carneilus.

Impacting Writing for Middle School a Goal of Megan Logan


“Everything changed this summer,” says Megan Logan. Ready to stay at home and teach her children, she was surprised to receive a call from Middle School Dean Matt Morgan. It was two weeks before classes would start, and Morgan asked Logan to join the Jackson Academy faculty and teach eighth grade English.

Sudden change is not new in Logan’s life. While in her junior year of college she was diagnosed with Hodgkin lymphoma. “One day I came home from church and there was a knot,” she points to her chest, “that had not been there.” Early diagnosis gave her a good prognosis, but still meant leaving the University of Southern Mississippi for a semester and moving home to Clinton to complete treatment in Jackson.

“You would never expect something like that to happen to you in college. Nobody does,” says Logan, “but the Lord used it for good and really grew my faith during that time.” As her location changed, so did her perspective. “I said I was going to be a business woman,” she recalls. “I was going to make lots of money.” Instead, she set out to work in the same field her father and mother had made their careers in – education. “I realized what was important to me and that if I was going to work I wanted to do something that was fulfilling, and I also wanted a career that allowed me to have lots of family time, so teaching became evident that that was just what the Lord had for me.”

Logan completed her degree at Mississippi College and taught at an independent school and in the Clinton public school system with her husband, James Logan. He is now in seminary, and with four children at home it seemed impossible for Logan to take on a full time teaching position. Logan still recalls her response to Dean Morgan’s call: “I said, ‘There’s no way.’” A visit to campus for a tour and interview erased her uncertainty. “Everybody was just so warm and friendly,” says Logan. Jackson Academy’s emphasis on community quickly had her hooked. “It was an environment I was excited to bring my family into,” she says.

“Everything was just right here.” For Ella in fifth grade, Sarah in first, and Mae in kindergarten, JA provided a perfect match for Logan to teach while her children had access to quality, holistic education. Her youngest child, Henry, is two years old and spends his days under the care of an aunt.

As Logan’s family settles into the JA community, she is settling into teaching eighth grade English at a new school. She focuses on teaching students to apply grammar skills in writing. From teaching personal narratives to research papers, she exudes passion for her subject and students.

Logan knows firsthand the importance of a good teacher. At Hinds Community College, Dr. Beverly Fatherree taught Logan’s English course in such a way that “it really changed the way I thought about just about everything and how writers viewed the world and how they communicated and how [writing is] so important that it touches all aspects of life.”

As Megan Logan works to impact the lives of her students, she seeks to do more than teach ideas. She seeks to embrace the opportunity her visit to JA showed her – an opportunity to become part of a community. “I really do feel like the teachers here all care about the students,” she says. “It’s not just academics. Academics are very important, but it feels like a family.”

Admission Offers Fall Visit Days

Interested families can experience the action at Jackson Academy by attending one of several open houses and tour dates or by planning a personal visit. Excellent academics form the foundation for an education that is maximized to nurture students’ growth, blending competitive athletics and inspiring arts in a positive, progressive environment. At JA we are committed to partnering with your family to set your child’s feet firmly on the path to success in life.

Our See Us In Action events are a wonderful opportunity to visit a specific division of the school. Interested parents will learn about the nurturing educational environment at JA, and how teachers work to help students grow in their strengths and abilities. See Us In Action events feature a program overview from our Head of School and Deans, a tour of campus, and sessions for questions and answers with campus leaders, parents, and students.

See Us in Action at our Open Houses:

Preschool – Thursday, September 28, 9:00 a.m. – 10:30 a.m.

Lower School – Thursday, October 26, 8:30 a.m. – 10:00 a.m.

Middle and Upper School – Thursday, November 2, 8:30 a.m. – 10:00 a.m.

Register online at

Walk in Wednesdays are designed for parents to experience the daily life of the school. Activities include a tour of the facility and sitting in on class sessions. Through Walk in Wednesdays, families can easily learn about our interactive curriculum, enrichment programs, and the ethical foundation we develop in students as we educate the whole child. 

Walk in Wednesday for a Group Tour:

Wednesday, September 27; 8:30 a.m. – 10:00 a.m.

Wednesday, October 25; 8:30 a.m. – 10:00 a.m.

Wednesday, November 15; 8:30 a.m. – 10:00 a.m.

Register online at

Personal visits may also be scheduled for families to investigate JA’s offerings through a customized visit. Spending time on campus in a private setting will allow you to see first-hand how JA educates today’s students to thrive in tomorrow’s world, and how we can customize your child’s education to grow their gifts and inspire their minds. Personal visits may be scheduled by contacting Admission via e-mail at, or by phone at 601.364.5761.

Come see how JA shapes students’ lives on their path to success, a path well-worn by JA graduates who have gone before.

Jackson Academy Senior Emma Ward Commended by National Merit Program

Jackson Academy senior Emma Ward has been named a Commended student in the 2018 National Merit Corporation. Emma is a student who exemplifies more than academic prowess. A talented soccer player, Emma is most importantly known for her character. Sincerity, courage, honesty, and kindness are just a few of the traits that she has been recognized for among her peers and by Portico magazine’s “25 Students Who Will Change the World.”

With character and a strong work ethic, Emma has succeeded in her many academic and extracurricular endeavors. “I have seen Emma make some very hard decisions throughout her high school years that have led to her success in the classroom, in athletics, and in school government,” says Dean Steven McCartney. “She has a knack for figuring out what needs to happen to accomplish her goal and following through.”

About 34,000 students were commended by the National Merit Scholarship Program for their exceptional academic potential this year. Emma and other commended students place among the top 50,000 scorers within a pool of more than 1.6 million students who entered the 2018 competition. As Emma looks forward to graduation and college, she took a few minutes to look back at her time at JA.

How have the teachers at JA influenced your life? Which teachers have been most influential?

The teachers at Jackson Academy have always been extremely personable and that congeniality often radiates through to the students. Their interest in the areas that they teach is contagious, and they make us excited about the class, too. If I had to pick, I would say that my favorite teachers are Mrs. Ball and Mr. Dickson.

How has JA helped prepare you for academic success?

JA is always updating its teaching styles, and our school’s participation in education using technology has been really beneficial to me personally. Also, JA has high expectations for all its students, so being able to see other students participating in and achieving great things serves as inspiration to push yourself.

What classes are you taking this year?

AP English Literature, AP Calculus, AP Government, AP Art, Spanish II, and Soccer

Which has been your favorite class, and why?

Mr. Dickson’s AP English classes have been some of my favorite because we are always studying new writing styles, and he lets us form our own opinions about the writing.

Why do you like the challenge presented by a rigorous class?

I like being challenged and being able to learn something that I had not previously known, so the rigorous classes at JA are perfect opportunities to work collectively with your classmates and teachers to learn some really complex concepts in a way that interests the students.

What things do you do outside of class, and which is your favorite?

I play on the soccer team in the fall and run on the track team in the spring. I am in charge of the Upper School student council and  also participate in quiz bowl tournaments and math competitions. I would have to say that my favorite activity would be photography, which I practice in my free time. I take photos of my friends constantly and also shoot senior portraits.


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