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Eighth Grade Gets a Taste of Reality


Reality hit eighth grade students last Friday. At Jackson Academy’s first Reality Fair each student was given a paycheck based on a career they are interested in pursuing. Each paycheck included a pay stub that showed all tax deductions required by law. Using their after-tax earnings to form their budget, students moved through a rotation of stations where they selected and paid for products and services using amazingly realistic checks. Now they know how to fill one out!

The students’ assigned goal was to spend less money than they earned. C Spire representatives showed them different cell phone plans. Paul Moak’s Honda dealership offered different cars for the students to pretend to purchase. New York Life presented students with insurance options, and Whole Foods Market showed students different grocery plans. The “surprise” station added an extra twist to the day, as students drew a card that told them what unexpected event they would have to pay for that month, like a flat tire or a visit to the doctor. Trustmark National Bank was also on site, talking with students about wise financial decisions. All of the costs of living added up quickly, and many students were shocked to discover that it’s not always feasible to buy what you want on a starting salary!


Throughout the event students took breaks from decision-making to hear from JA alumni Paige Gordy Porter ’07, now a senior audit manager at KPMG, Russ Brabec ’07, who works as a lawyer at Jernigan Copeland Attorneys, and Jessica Arnold ’09, a fourth-year medical student at UMMC. Each speaker spoke about how they chose their career path.

Many young men and women encounter their first opportunity to pay bills and manage their own budgets during their first year out of college. Thanks to Mary Wesson Sullivan and the vendors and alumni who supported this event, Jackson Academy’s eighth grade students were challenged to start thinking about their future. In her closing remarks, Sullivan asked students: “It’s hard to live with this little amount of money, isn’t it? So does this motivate you to work hard in school so that you can get good jobs?” The audience of eighth graders responded with a resounding “Yes!”

Athletes Commit to Play College Ball

Jackson Academy seniors (from back, left) Trent Tyre, John Raines Jr., and Sam Ciaccio indicated their intent to play college sports at a signing ceremony held on February 7 in the Learning Commons. In attendance were family, coaches, friends, and their Alpha and Omega buddies (from front, left) Lewis Garrard, Cash Dickson, and Graham Adams.

Trent Tyre

Trent Tyre of Madison committed to join the football team at Copiah-Lincoln Community College in Wesson, Mississippi, this fall. Trent earned recognition as an All-Conference defensive end in the 2016-2017 season. He was awarded Defensive Player of the Year in 4A-Division 1 for the 2017-2018 season. Trent has also won the accolade of All-State Defensive Player of the Year. Trent has played football since he was 7 years old.

John Raines Jr.

John Raines Jr. of Ridgeland will join the University of Mississippi’s football team as a preferred walk-on this fall. John is ranked as the No. 8 long snapper in the nation. During his three years of high school football he performed all perfect snaps, with four game-winning field goal snaps. John is one of 18 five-star rated long snappers in the class of 2018 and one of 10 semifinalists for top long snapper in the nation.

Sam Ciaccio

Sam Ciaccio of Madison has committed to play baseball at Mississippi College. Sam is a six-time Clarion-Ledger Player of the Week nominee. During the 2016-2017 season he served as the Jackson Academy Raiders team captain. Sam was named to the second All-Conference Team. He is a left-handed pitcher and first baseman. He has played baseball for 12 years.


Development Office Announces Staff Changes

Jackson Academy’s Development Office recently made two new staff changes. Ebony Welch, who has worked as development services coordinator for the past two years, will now move to the role of annual giving coordinator. JA Preschool teacher Frances Bussey will serve as alumni coordinator starting June 1, replacing Haleigh Ritter who is now working in the admission office.


Frances, wife of JA alumnus John Bussey ’06, is a familiar face on the JA campus. Frances taught in the Preschool for five years and is excited to take on her new role.

“I hope to develop and maintain wonderful relationships with JA alumni,” Frances said. “I will miss working with the students, but look forward to making JA better beyond the classroom.”

Frances and John have a one-year-old son, Wyc.

The goal of the alumni coordinator position is to build positive relations with Jackson Academy alumni, help them see their importance to the institution, and keep them informed and involved in JA news and events. The office will also help alumni stay connected with each other through reunions and social and professional networking.


Ebony is in her third year at Jackson Academy. Prior to JA she worked in loan operations at Trustmark National Bank for 10 years and at St. Richard Church for five years.

The development services coordinator maintains giving records, acknowledges gifts to the school, and organizes development events. Now as annual giving coordinator, Ebony will add outreach for annual fund gifts to her responsibilities.

“Without the annual fund, JA just would not be the same place,” said Ebony. “We wouldn’t have the best teachers and an amazing Learning Commons and coffee shop. We wouldn’t have all the things that are so easily taken for granted such as nice carpet, updated lockers, and kid-friendly furniture. JA would be a bowl of ice cream, which is good, but what I do definitely adds the chocolate, the whipped cream, and the cherry on top. What’s ice cream without all the goodies we love?”

Along with managing systems and organizing events, Ebony in her new position looks forward to meeting more people. “My son, Cameron, started here in high school so I don’t have the same relationships that people do whose kids have been together since kindergarten. I’m looking forward to getting to know more people and learning their stories and discovering why they love JA.”

Show Choirs Impress Judges and Audiences for Big Wins


Showtime 2018 (photo by Richard Stafford)


Cannon Bosarge, solo winner

Jackson Academy’s show choirs began their competition season Friday and Saturday on a high note. JA’s Middle School and Upper School groups delivered impressive performances that yielded enthusiastic applause, accolades, and the judges’ top award for Encore at Jackson Prep’s Show Choir Masters Competition.



Showtime earned first runner up in the Large Division for middle school show choirs. Cannon Bosarge won first place in the middle school solo competition.

Showtime is under the direction of Amy Arinder with Megan Rowan as accompanist. The group’s program is choreographed by Kevin Chase and Nick Quamme.



Encore 2018 (photo by Richard Stafford)



Encore captured first place in the Large Division for upper school show choirs. Then the group “swept” the competition in finals, meaning the show choir won every category, taking home Best Vocals , Best Visuals, Best Show Design, and Best Costumes . To end the evening, in overall competition among all divisions, Encore was named Grand Champion. Latham Nance earned first place in the high school solo competition.


Encore after the big win


Latham Nance, solo winner


Encore is under the direction of Katie Shores, with accompanist Nancy Cheney, and choreography by Kevin Chase and Nick Quamme.

To see Encore and Showtime, as well as many other impressive show choirs from our state, come to JA for the Jackson Academy Showchoir Invitational this weekend. Click this link for the weekend schedule that begins Friday, February 2.

Both of JA’s show choirs will continue their competition seasons with the following appearances:
February 9-10 – Opelika, Alabama
February 16-17 – West Jones
February 24 – Auburn, Alabama (Encore only)
March 2 – Oak Grove (Showtime only)
March 24 – Heart of America, Orlando, Florida (Encore only)

Jackson Academy Establishes Student-Led Honor Code


When faced with a difficult moral or ethical decision, what rudder do students use for guidance? At Jackson Academy, students now have an Honor Code and Pledge.

The new student-governed Honor Code at JA expresses the values of the school community and helps students and adults strive toward personal honor and integrity in all dimensions of school life.

“An honor code is a statement about what this school community thinks about itself, and the standards to which it believes we all should be held accountable,” said JA Head of School Jack Milne, who helped spearhead the Honor Code at JA and at his previous educational institution, The Bolles School in Florida. “That is something a truly great school does, and what we will do if we believe in our mission of helping create lives of purpose and significance.”

A committee made up of students, faculty, parents, and administrators met during the fall 2017 semester to envision and develop the implementation of a formalized Honor Code. Three student members of the committee introduced the concept to students in eighth through twelfth grades at a convocation on Wednesday, January 23.

Honor Code and Pledge: As members of the Jackson Academy community, we will maintain the highest standards of integrity and respect while striving to achieve excellence in and out of the classroom. As such, on my honor, I will not lie, cheat, steal, or tolerate those who do.

Senior Class President and honor code committee member Dolph Maxwell told the assembly of students that rather than being merely a set of rules for students to follow, the Honor Code holds up a set of ideals to which each person in the community aspires, resulting in students who choose to do “what is right when nobody’s looking.” The ideals of integrity, respect, and excellence are at the heart of the code, to which each student will pledge as a member of the JA community.

Honor code committee member and Student Body President Emma Ward recalled her experiences at Camp Greystone in North Carolina as an example of how an honor code had already influenced her perspective. “An honor code produces people whom younger people can look up to,” Ward explained. “It is something to strive toward and results in truly great people with integrity.” Ward led the assembly through the ratification process to approve the proposal, which the student body and faculty solidly voted to adopt.

“I’m very proud of our student body for endorsing this,” said Dean of the Upper School Steve McCartney. Middle School Dean Matt Morgan agreed, noting that the student body has been working on “unpacking” the significance of the word “purpose” in the school’s mission. Morgan said that this honor code is “tangible evidence of the growth of the school in its character-ethical education journey.” He said the “common language, common feeling, and common motivation” help make the ongoing reflections about purpose and character real for students.

Students will take part in a signing ceremony February 14 where they will affix their names to an Honor Code Charter during a ceremony with special guest speaker Dr. Mark Keenum, president of Mississippi State University. Dr. Keenum will speak about the importance of an Honor System to the culture of a school.

The code and pledge with students’ signatures will hang in a prominent location of the school, said Avery Hederman, a student committee member who was instrumental in drafting the code. The signed document will be a daily reminder of the values sought in the classroom and in activities throughout the school community.

On January 24 following the student presentation, Milne presented JA’s Honor Code, Pledge and procedural system to the leaders of Jackson Area Association of Independent Schools at that organization’s monthly luncheon. Student leaders Dolph Maxwell and Emma Ward again joined Milne for the presentation, giving the independent school leaders examples of what the Honor Code meant to them personally and what they hoped it would mean for their school. Copies of the documents were given to the leaders of those schools in attendance.

The spirit of an honor code has been within the DNA of JA for decades, with students, teachers, and administrators espousing principles of integrity, respect, and excellence. Through community service, participation in numerous character education programs, chapel, student-led spiritual retreats, practices of integrity, respect, and excellence are well grounded. The Honor Code affirms those practices and presents the code’s ideals as the expectation for everyone in the community.

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