Carter Gray: All That Jazz


Tristan Cates, Messenger Reporter

High school is a time in which students can expand on their personal interests, while developing their academic knowledge. Carter Gray represents the successful balance between exemplary levels of academic performance and extracurricular achievement. Gray has used these four years to hone in on his talents with the piano and in the classroom, allowing him to move on from this school with a plethora of skills and achievements for his life beyond McCracken.


Mr. Gray fills his extracurricular with a variety of activities because of his personal philosophy, “If you ever find yourself bored or without anything to do, then you’re doing life wrong. Read a book. Develop a skill. Go somewhere you’ve never been. Do something that scares you.” Carter is a part of numerous clubs and societies within the school including National Honors Society, Beta Club Point Secretary, Health Occupation Students of America, Senior Varsity Choir, and KMEA All-State Jazz Band. He uses the weekends to relax, get ahead on long-term homework assignments, and practice his art forms.


Carter has made it is his mission to pursue a challenging academic schedule, while balancing his interests in music, taking multiple AP and advanced classes throughout his high school career. This focus got him into the Governor’s Scholar Program for the Summer of 2017 and placing him as an alternate for the Governor’s School for the Arts. He plans on taking his education to the University of Louisville to pursue a double-major in Biology and Jazz Studies. He has chosen this plan to ensure a better chance at medical school later in life. Carter dreams of attending an Ivy League medical school, but he says he’d  be glad just to get in a medical school.


Music is a large part of Carter’s life; he has been practicing classical and jazz piano for numerous years. His daily commitment to this art form has reflected his performance, as he ranked number one at the KMEA All-State Jazz Band competition for piano. He also uses his free time to explore all types of music, practicing electric bass and acoustic guitar when he finds the time. Outside of school, Carter enjoys spending what time he can outside. He also gives back to his community, working at Concord Academy three days during the school week, supervising the children, and assisting with their work. In addition to this, he can be found privately tutoring other individuals in Math and Science. Carter takes his academics very seriously but doesn’t enjoy a stressful classroom environment. This is why his favorite teacher is Ms. Keila Morris, “because of the very laid back atmosphere of her classroom. I have two classes with her this year, AP Literature and AP Research, and I have to say those are my two favorite classes this year. Her classes are academically challenging yet very relaxed. I feel this is the sort of atmosphere I will enjoy in college classrooms.”

“But in the end, it’s only a passing thing, this shadow. Even darkness must pass. A new day will come. And when the sun shines, it’ll shine out the clearer.” This quote by Samwise Gamgee reflects an individual who sees the progression of life, someone who can see the good that will appear in the coming days. Carter Gray is a person who lives by this ideology, a person who looks for the positive. He exemplifies the ideal student; setting a positive example for other while still staying humble about his achievements.