Canton Academy Alumni Succeed

“I think the success of any school can be measured by the contribution the alumni make to our national life.” — John F. Kennedy. Canton Academy is proud of its alumni success near and far. There are some who are truly making a difference in the world.

James Herring delivers the 2019 commencement address to the newest CA graduates.

James Herring, Jr., (Canton Academy Class of 1984) a managing director in the Investment Management Division (IMD) of Goldman Sachs in New York recently delivered the commencement address at Canton Academy’s graduation ceremonies. Herring has been advising executives, non-profits, and families since he joined the firm in 1989, just five years removed from his 1984 graduation at Canton Academy. He also serves on the Private Wealth Management Advisors Council, as part of the Investment Experience Group, and as a member of the Wealth Management Forum Editorial Board. From 1996 to 2000, he was regional manager of the Equities and Private Wealth Management businesses in the Southeast, based in Memphis. During 2001, James was regional manager for Salt Lake City, Utah’s, an online wealth management start-up initiative. In 2002, he moved to New York to advise many of the firm’s key relationships in IMD. In 2006, James was named co-head of the Family Investment Office, a multifamily office business that he developed, launched and led until 2009. He was named managing director in 2012. Prior to joining the firm, James served as an officer in the United States Army Reserve for nine years. James earned a BA and MBA from Vanderbilt University. He is a former president of the Owen Graduate School Alumni Board, a member of the Economic Club of New York, and is active as a board member and fundraiser for his church and several nonprofits.

James graduated from Canton Academy in 1984. His numerous honors his senior year included serving as the Student Body President, Valedictorian, Star Student, Hall of Fame inductee, and recipient of the Dan Forth Award and the Governor’s Scholarship. His classmates selected James as “Most Intellectual,” “Most Likely to Succeed,” and “Most Dependable.” James was also a member of the Canton Academy tennis team.

Drew Morgan recently stopped by the CA campus to speak with underclassmen about careers in science and what it takes to make it through medical school.

Drew Morgan (Canton Academy Class of 2011) is a third year medical student (M3) at UMMC, which means she is mostly finished with the medical school classroom setting, tests and the like. M3 is the year students rotate through the different fields of medicine and get a taste for what areas they like and do not. Drew always knew that if it was in God’s plan for her, she would go into the medical field and possibly be a doctor or veterinarian. As far as her Canton Academy background, Drew says, “Honestly, all of my teachers at CA were supportive and encouraging whether they knew I would choose the medical path or not. The way they knew each of us individually and capitalized on our strengths boosted my self confidence in the classroom, which I have reflected on and really had to cling to throughout medical school.” Drew says that she felt like in the smaller environment her teachers had more freedom to get to know each student and, therefore, it was a more caring and personal environment.

Along with the individual attention and boosts of confidence Drew received at CA, she recognizes that smaller private schools have lots of positive attributes. She says, “When there are less people, you’re not as afraid to speak up or ask questions on things you’re uncertain about – especially if those people you know well and call ‘friend.’”  As for Drew’s spiritual walk, she says that she did not realize when she was at Canton Academy she was gaining a stability from being surrounded by people of faith, whether it was her close student body, teachers or administration.

Standing with CA math teacher, Patrick Smith is proud of his graduation medal after his graduation from Mississippi State University with a degree in chemical engineering.

Patrick Smith (Canton Academy Class of 2013) is a recent graduate of Mississippi State University with a Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering and is now working as a Process and Project Engineer at Olin Corporation in Freeport, Texas. “I’ve always been interested in math, science and how things work. Engineering is a good mix of all of those. I started at Mississippi State University seeking a degree biochemistry as a pre-medicine student but realized the medical field was not where I wanted to end up. I made the switch to engineering my junior year of college and have enjoyed it ever since.” Patrick felt very prepared for college after attending Canton Academy. The one on one attention he received from teachers in CA’s small class sizes made a huge difference when he went to college. It allowed him to gain a more detailed understanding of each subject. His teachers pushed him to learn and truly wanted him to succeed. 

“Attending a small, private high school gives students the opportunity to become involved in anything they want. Whether that is sports, clubs, leadership opportunity, individualized time with a teacher or a combination of them all. I was also able to make friendships with everyone in my class and the surrounding classes. CA is a place where you can be involved as much as you want and gain whatever experiences you want,” said Patrick.Most alumni agree that CA is truly a big family cheering for each other wherever calling takes them. Current students enjoy an environment in which teachers and administrators cultivate each individual’s strengths and help them achieve their dreams. Open enrollment begins February 4. Visit if you’d like to schedule a tour or learn more about Canton Academy.