Jackson Academy Announces Class of 2024 Valedictorian and Salutatorian

April 16, 2024 / Upper School/All News

Jackson Academy is pleased to announce that Mallory Brooks of Jackson, daughter of Marie and Josh Brooks, is the Class of 2024 valedictorian. Gautam Ray of Brandon, son of Anandhi and Paresh Ray, is the Class of 2024 salutatorian. These students have excelled academically throughout the four years of Upper School and have impressive community service and campus involvement resumes.

Mallory Brooks

“Being named JA’s class of 2024 valedictorian is an incredible honor,” said Mallory. “I have extremely intelligent classmates, so it still feels surreal to me. I don’t have words to express my gratitude to the many people who encouraged and supported me throughout my academic career.” 

The Cum Laude member, the Bausch+Lomb Honorary Science Award recipient, and Gold Key winner in the Scholastic Art Competition has maintained a steady schedule throughout high school. She serves as co-president of JA’s Fellowship of Christian Athletes, is involved in Mu Alpha Theta, and is secretary of the National Honor Society. She was a Lady Raider on the volleyball team throughout high school. On that team, she led team devotions and prayer. She has served on the JA Chapel Lead Team. At Bellwether Church, she is active in student ministry and helps teach Sunday School for 3 to 5-year-olds once a month. She has served in roles with We Will Go Ministries and the Jackson Symphony League.

Mallory admits she is a hard worker, but she credits her community with building her up in ways that support her achievement. “I’ve worked hard throughout my high school career to be the best student I could, but honestly, I can’t take too much of the credit,” she said. “My parents instilled in me a commitment to always do my best, especially when things are hard. My teachers have been so amazing. They have encouraged me but, more importantly, challenged me to reach new levels of understanding. Most of all, I give the glory to God for the ways he has gifted me and grown me through my high school years.”

Mallory recognizes the value of things that endure. “It’s a wonderful thing to give your all to something and achieve success, but in the end, it’s the people we meet and the relationships we build that leave their mark on us for life,” she said. “I am thankful for the relationships I have made with so many of my classmates and teachers, and it’s the impact they have had on me that I will take with me into the next stage of my life.”

Gautam Ray

Gautam has found JA a welcoming place to explore his academic interests, and he encourages other students to take advantage of all that JA offers. “I am so honored to receive the title of JA’s salutatorian,” he said. “Since 2009, JA has remained an amazing second home for me and has allowed me to explore all of my academic interests, from AP Chemistry to Latin 4, so I am thrilled to receive distinction for my time learning at the institution.”

He recently was named a prestigious Coca-Cola Scholar, a STAR student, and a National Merit Finalist. He was designated as an MIT Research Science Institute Scholar, was named an International Science and Engineering Fair Finalist, and won the University of Rochester Susan B. Anthony and Frederick Douglass Award. A member of the Cum Laude Society, National Honor Society, and the national honor societies in history, English, math, science, and Latin, he is also a Glenn Cain scholarship recipient and has won subject awards for Honors Algebra 2 and AP Chemistry. 

Gautam has enjoyed the opportunity to take initiative in addition to his academic pursuits. “If I could give one piece of advice to the student body, I’d tell them to not only take advantage of all the amazing faculty and resources at JA but also take initiative and try their best in starting and leading new clubs that best reflect your passions,” he said. Starting the Bio Club and leading Mu Alpha Theta helped me develop my interest and love in biochemistry.”

Gautam also serves as team captain of JA’s Quiz Bowl Team, president of JA’s National Honor Society, Student Body Council historian, Student Ambassador, and student tutor. “Outside school, I play the piano, serve as a member of the Mississippi Children’s Museum’s President Leadership Circle, and have conducted biochemistry and neuroscience research,” he said.

Like Mallory, Gautam is grateful to those who have encouraged him. “All of JA’s amazing faculty (from Mr. Sullivan and Coach West of the Science Department to Ms. Bannerman of the English Department) and all my fellow friends at JA have helped me so much throughout my time here, and I will be eternally grateful for their efforts helping me,” he said.

Congratulations to Mallory Brooks and Gautam Ray, our 2024 valedictorian and salutatorian!