National Merit Semifinalists Meet Challenges in Classroom and on Stage and Field

Lucy Clement, Anne “Kit” McCormack, and David “Burkette” Moulder III have been recognized as Semifinalists in the 2019 National Merit Scholarship Program. A challenging academic curriculum and numerous opportunities to engage in extracurricular activities related to their interests have empowered these talented students. The support and engagement fostered by their families, and JA’s faculty and staff, propelled them to achieve beyond their own expectations.

Clement, McCormack, and Moulder were among more than 1.6 million juniors across the nation who took the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test during the fall of 2017. After that initial screening, these students partnered with Jackson Academy and completed detailed scholarship applications with information about their academics, activities in the school and community involvement, leadership abilities, employment, and honors and awards received. Each year, the National Merit Scholarship Corporation recognizes approximately 16,000 semifinalists. These students now qualify to continue in the competition for some 7,500 National Merit Scholarships worth more than $31 million to be offered next spring.

Lucy ClementLucy Clement

What activities are you involved in?

I am a dance captain for Encore (our high school show choir), I tutor JA students, compete in academic competitions, and participate as a member of set crew in school theatre productions. I also serve as co-president of the Latin club and as a member of JA’s new Honor Council. I’ve been able to be involved in is the Duke TIP Summer Studies program. For three summers I was able to go to Duke University for 3 weeks and not only take a class that was incredibly fun and engaging, but also meet so many awesome people that I’m still friends with today.

How has JA helped prepare you for academic success?

JA is big enough that you have the opportunity to take the most challenging and rigorous classes but small enough that classes are never too crowded and your teachers are able to get to know you. This balance helps make all of our classes much more interactive & personal and has allowed me to develop my interests and talents.

What classes are you taking this year?

AP Calculus, Latin IV, Honors Psychology, AP Literature, AP Government/Economics, and Encore.

Which has been your favorite class and why?

I really enjoyed AP Government with Mrs. Ball and AP Literature with Mr. Dickson. In both classes we get to cover really cool material that’s easy to get interested in and excited about, and Mrs. Ball and Mr. Dickson both go out of their way to get our ideas, opinions, and thoughts on whatever topic we’re covering.

What are some of your favorite memories from your time at JA?

Some stand-out memories are Encore’s trip to Waffle House last year after winning Grand Champion at the Jackson Prep show choir competition, going to Dramafest at MSU with the one-act play, our field trip to the WWII museum where Mrs. Ball single-handedly forced open the elevator doors for our group, and watching the fireworks on the last night of Encore’s trip to Disney World.


Anne Kit McCormackAnne “Kit” McCormack

What activities are you involved in?

I am a member of the varsity cheerleading team and the outdoor club. I give tumbling lessons to little girls which is really fun, and I also lead a D-Group at Christ United Methodist Church on Wednesdays – that’s my favorite thing.

How has JA helped prepare you for academic success?

I’ve been at JA my whole life, so I really owe all of my academic success to JA, and my parents of course. It has taught me how to be a functioning, responsible student. I feel like I know how to manage my time and responsibilities on my own and get stuff done when I need to because of this school.

What classes are you taking this year?

AP Calculus, AP Chemistry, Government, World Literature, Psychology/Sociology, and Current Events

Which has been your favorite class and why?

I have had so many amazing teachers over the last few years that I really don’t think I can pick a favorite class. To me, the amount I enjoy the class comes from whether or not the teacher connects with the students. Even if the class is hard, which most of mine are, if I feel like the teacher cares about me personally, I usually enjoy the class. This has been the case in basically every class in my high school career.

What are some of your favorite memories from your time at JA?

Mr. Dickson’s literature class was definitely one of the most memorable classes I have taken, overall. I have been here for fifteen years now, so it’s hard to pick just one memory. I’m pretty sure I’ve spent nearly as many hours here as I have at my own house, so I’m very comfortable here and with all the people.


David Burkette Moulder IIIDavid “Burkette” Moulder III

What activities are you involved with at JA?

I am in Encore, run cross country, participate in ultimate frisbee, and compete in Quizbowl.

How has JA helped prepare you for academic success?

The teachers at JA have challenged me and helped me to become a better thinker, but they have also shown over and over that they care about me and what is best for me.

What classes are you taking this year?

Introduction to Engineering, Theatre Tech, AP Calculus, AP Literature, AP Government, Encore, and AP Physics C

Which has been your favorite class and why?

AP Physics and AP Language/AP Literature  are tied for my favorite class. As different as these two subjects may seem, the reason I like them so much is the same: they have challenged me to think for myself and developed me into a more complex and developed thinker.

What are some of your favorite memories from your time at JA?

I can’t say that I really have a favorite memory at JA. Every day at JA that I get to spend with my teachers and friends is so unique and rewarding that it makes it impossible to really nail down a few memories as my “favorite.”

New Tuition Exchange Agreements Offer Benefits

JA Tuition Exchange

New tuition exchange and scholarship agreements between Jackson Academy and three area colleges and universities will provide Jackson Academy students and full-time faculty and staff dependents more affordable access to independent higher education.

Officials at Belhaven University, Millsaps College, and Mississippi College have each signed agreements offering tuition remission discounts for undergraduate degrees to JA students who meet admission requirements. Millsaps College has also offered a discount for its graduate business degrees, including the Master of Business Administration, the Master of Accountancy, and the Executive MBA. Full time JA employees, parents of current JA students, and JA alumni can receive graduate programs discounts.

In exchange, Jackson Academy will offer a discount to the dependents of all full time faculty and staff of these three educational institutions when those dependents meet JA’s normal admissions requirements.

“We are delighted to have entered into these reciprocal agreements with Millsaps College, Mississippi College, and Belhaven University that make obtaining an education at these fine institutions more accessible for our graduates and children of faculty and staff, and which will in turn encourage faculty and staff at those institutions to strongly consider sending their children to Jackson Academy,” said JA Head of School Jack Milne.

General points about the programs:

  • The Tuition Exchange Program is open to all JA students who qualify for admission at the institution of higher education.
  • The Tuition Exchange Program is open to dependents (as determined by the IRS) of full time faculty and staff of the participating institutions who qualify for admission.
  • There is no waiting period to participate.
  • The Tuition Exchange Program applies to undergraduate students for the participating independent colleges, with the exception of the Millsaps graduate programs. The agreement is for Belhaven’s traditional program only.
  • Other details specific to the institutions may apply.

For more information, contact:

Show Choirs Complete Seasons

Both Showtime and Encore show choirs have had very successful competition seasons.

Directed by Amy Arinder, Showtime opened its season at the Jackson Prep Showchoir Masters where the group earned first runner-up. Next, Showtime competed at the Opelika Southern Showcase where the group won Best Visuals, Best Overall Effect, Best Vocals, and Grand Champion. At the West Jones Showchoir Invitational, Showtime took home first runner-up, and at the Oak Grove Magnolia Invitational the show choir was awarded second runner-up. Congratulations on a great season, Showtime!

Encore, under the direction of Katie Shores, opened its season at the Jackson Prep Showchoir Masters where the group earned first place in the large mixed division and Best Costumes. In finals, Encore was awarded Best Visuals, Best Overall Effect, Best Vocals, and Grand Champion. Next, the group competed at the Opelika Southern Showcase where the show choir earned second runner-up in the Championship Division. At the West Jones Showchoir Invitational, Encore took home second runner-up in the large division and in finals, as well as Best Costumes. At the Auburn Showchoir Show Down the group was awarded second runner-up in both the large division and in finals. Encore also earned Best Set Crew at Auburn. Encore concluded its season at the Heart of America competition in Orlando, Florida, on March 24.

Both Encore and Showtime will be holding auditions for the 2018-19 school year on May 7-9. There will be an informational meeting regarding show choir auditions held on Thursday, April 5, 2018 at 6:00 p.m. in the PAC. Please contact Katie Shores at or Amy Arinder at for more information.

STAR Student and Teacher Selected

Congratulations to Dolph Maxwell, who has been named Jackson Academy’s STAR Student for the 2017-2018 school year by the Mississippi Economic Council M.B. Swayze Foundation, sponsor of the Student Teacher Achievement Recognition (STAR) program. This prestigious award is granted on the basis of academic excellence demonstrated through ACT scores and scholastic averages.

Established by the Mississippi Economic Council in 1965, the purpose of the STAR program is to recognize outstanding students and teachers in Mississippi. Each STAR student selects a STAR Teacher. Dolph designated English teacher Schuyler Dickson as STAR teacher in recognition of Dickson’s significant contribution to Dolph’s scholastic achievements.

Dolph will be honored during the annual Education Celebration on April 12, 2018, at the Jackson Convention Complex in downtown Jackson. Mississippi’s ALL-STAR Scholar for 2017-2018 will be named at the celebration, winning the $24,000 Cook Foundation Scholarship.

Jackson Academy Students Step Up as Youth Leaders

Serving as youth leaders across the Jackson metro area are (from left) Logan Thomas, Gabrielle Morris, Charlie Gautier, and Lacey Irby. Not pictured: Preston McWilliams.


Each year, Jackson Academy is proud to have several students selected for participation in youth leadership programs across the Jackson metropolitan area. This year Preston McWilliams and Gabrielle Morris have been selected for the Madison County Youth Leadership Class. Charlie Gautier, Lacey Irby, Gabrielle Morris and Logan Thomas have been named Ridgeland Chamber of Commerce Junior Diplomats.

“Volunteering in your community is really fulfilling,” said junior Gabrielle Morris. “We live in this city, so we want it to be the best it can possibly be.” Participation in the Ridgeland Chamber of Commerce Junior Diplomats program and the Madison County Youth Leadership Class opened her eyes to the many ways students can serve in their communities. Both leadership programs offer a variety of workshops, seminars, and community-service projects to develop students’ awareness and ability to lead and to serve with character and wisdom.