By Michael Alexander, Staff Photographer | Published August 31, 2016
Almost two months ago I met and photographed nine-year-old Jackson Kelly for a Georgia Bulletin story surrounding Jackson being recognized the Georgia winner of First Lady Michelle Obama’s fifth annual Healthy Lunchtime Challenge, a nationwide recipe contest that promotes cooking and healthy eating among children ages 8-12. Nearly a week before our photo session, Jackson appeared on the July 6 cover of the DeKalb Neighbor with his younger brother for the same acclaim.
But here’s where it gets interesting. I photographed Jackson’s dad, Nick, when he was a 17-year-old senior at Atlanta’s St. Pius X High School. Nick appeared on the cover of the September 3, 1998 Georgia Bulletin back-to-school issue (seated on the right, wearing jersey #44) with two other Pius students, Joey Miller and Katie Griffin.
Nick caught me up on the things that have transpired over the last 18 years. He started dating Jackson’s mother, Nour, during their junior year of high school at St. Pius. Nick and Nour both attended the University of Georgia in Athens, where they continued to date their entire time there. Nearly a year after graduating from UGA the two married April 17, 2004.
Nick started medical school at Emory University School of Medicine in July 2004 and graduated in May 2008. In July 2008 Nick started his three-year pediatric residency at Palmetto Health, which is affiliated with the University of South Carolina School of Medicine in Columbia, S.C. After completing the residency program he served one year as chief resident for the residency program. From there they moved to Meridian, Miss., for three years where he was vice chief of pediatrics at Rush Hospital. They moved to Dunwoody in July 2015, and today he works as a pediatric doctor at Preston Ridge Pediatrics in Alpharetta.
In between all that they also started a family. Jackson was born in 2007 and his younger brothers Bennett, five-years-old, and Maddox, two-year-old, followed him.
Jackson and Nick share a few other things in common besides gracing the cover of newspapers. Jackson attends St. Jude the Apostle School in Sandy Springs. Nick also attended Catholic grade school. He went to St. John Neumann Regional School.
Nick and Jackson both like cooking and sports. Jackson enjoys playing basketball and soccer, as well as watching sports. Nick played football all four years at St. Pius. He played middle linebacker and tight end. Nick also played basketball (forward) and baseball (outfield) during his freshman and sophomore year, and he participated in track and field (sprinting and long jump) his junior year.
I guess it comes naturally, but his mother said Jackson loves all things UGA, especially Georgia football. On the other hand, Jackson is not allured by the possibility of following in his father’s footsteps as a medical doctor. Right now his interests lie in becoming an author and illustrator.
To read more about Jackson’s cooking feats and the Healthy Lunchtime Challenge, look for Andrew Nelson’s September 1 article, “St. Jude School foodie rewarded with trip to White House.”