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Jennifer Carpenter’s inspiring journey into video production 

Sunnove Carlson

In the BATV halls, Jennifer Carpenter stands as a storyteller. Her journey from a hesitant substitute teacher, to a passionate advocate for creative expression conveys the value of compassion and creativity. 

Carpenter’s journey began with a love for writing stories when she found herself often writing in her free-time. Her transition into teaching video production was unplanned, yet a valuable endeavor, driven by a commitment to encouraging creative spirit in her students. Beyond the technicalities of video production, Carpenter’s classroom becomes a sanctuary where kindness, respect, and courage shape not just filmmakers, but compassionate individuals.

“I never wanted to teach high school, truly, but I soon realized that this was where I was supposed to be,” she said. 

In high school, Carpenter’s focus wasn’t on video production, but rather on band, honors societies, and drama. Most evenings she found herself writing fictional stories. These creative narratives were the start of a love for storytelling through filmmaking. Her career began with a job as Mooseheart, which swiftly turned into filming promos, and going back to school for video production. Her initial reluctance to step into the role of a video production substitute teacher transformed into a pursuit she did not anticipate, after she was called upon by a friend who needed the assistance in his classroom while being away. 

In 2018, Carpenter’s friend, Scott Larson, asks if she could substitute once or twice a week in order for him to get medical treatments. At the time, Carpenter declined for technical reasons. Later, in January 2019, Scott calls again, but this time asks her to be a permanent substitute for the year. Carpenter accepts, not knowing what this unplanned path may bring her.

“Scott (Larson) calls me again and says that he is no longer able to work and he needs a permanent sub for the rest of the school year while he gets more intensified treatments,” she said. “So, I pray about it and decide, okay, I think it’s time for me to leave where I am and become a permanent sub.”

Carpenter expressed events like Rock the Runway, the Scholastic Competition, and NATAS to be the coolest things she’s been able to be a part of. These events serve as occasions for her students to showcase their skills and creativity. Carpenter sees these experiences not just as events, but opportunities for her students to validate their efforts, learn from their peers, and gain the confidence to share their work on the big screen. 

“Seeing student videos up on the big screen causes this huge swell in my chest and I’m just so proud of them for even making that step to put their work out there.”

Her pride transcends personal accomplishments, finding its roots in the resilience and creativity of her students. For Carpenter, being there to help her students, seeing their work on the big screen, whether in competitions or in the classroom, brings a profound sense of pride toward something bigger than herself. Having the ability to make a real positive impact on her students’ lives brings her irreplaceable honor and joy.

“My students, they are so much braver than I ever will be and if I think about it too much I will cry.”

Jennifer Carpenter navigates the balance between technical skill, human connection and emotional intelligence in her video production classroom. Her journey becomes proof of the idea that the best educators are those who not only teach their subjects but also guide their students to become compassionate, confident, and creative individuals, ready to join the real world beyond high school. Carpenter’s story, alongside those of her students, is a narrative of growth, resilience, and the power of storytelling both on and off screen.

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