Jessica Carter: Striving For Excellence


Lauren Adams, Staff Writer

Erie High School prides itself on having world famous educators. One of the staff members that really lives up to this slogan is Jessica Carter, a social studies teacher who teaches both US History and US Government and Politics.

 Carter has been working as an educator at Erie High School for the past two years, and before that she worked as a teacher and field trip coordinator in Alaska. When talking about working and teaching at Erie High, Carter stated; “I love the community here. I love what the school stands for, the striving for excellence that you don’t necessarily get at other places, it’s what I was looking for when I was looking for a job.” 

 Carter is a great asset to the Erie community because she helps her students strive for excellence in her classroom. One of the ways. Carter does this by making her lessons as interactive as possible. Instead of simply assigning notes and quizzes, Carter goes the extra mile and assigns projects and hands-on activities.  Carters favorite lessons include, “A lot of the projects or simulations that I’ve done with a number of my classes where they’re more hands on and they’re actually addressing something in the world, trying to make some sort of change, or experiencing what the world is actually like, those are my favorite because you actually see statements just recognize what’s going on in the world and their ability to impact it.”

Teaching highschoolers can oftentimes be challenging, but Carter has risen to the occasion and won the admiration of many of her students.  The students in Carter’s classes all agree that she is an excellent teacher. Teaching history and government can be a difficult task, however Carter has the unique ability to make every voice heard, and take the time to make sure everyone is understanding the content and being successful. Maddi Ketcherside, a former student of Carters states, “Carter was such a good teacher to me because she took the time to teach me in ways I could learn efficiently. She would help me by following up on topics I struggled with to make sure I understood them in full. I thought the way she ran her classroom was very efficient she met everyone’s needs” 

Many other students also agree that Carter is a very comfortable teacher, who is eager to listen to her students and help them be successful. Samantha Gambon, who had Carter for US history shares her experience with Carter; “Carter was always so kind to everyone, and her patience was absolutely incredible, especially with my class. She was also just an easy person to talk to if you needed help.” 

Malachi Odom, another former student of Carters, is in agreement with Gambon she says, “she frequently answers as many questions as possible and is easy to talk to.” Odom continues to reflect on his time with Carter, and says, “she’s playful and has a good sense of humor… She keeps you to a set standard and brings you to the standard if you aren’t there, unlike other teachers.” 

Keeping students up to the standards is another attribute of  .Carter that many students noticed. Carter floats from different classrooms throughout the week, sometimes landing in the same rooms that AP level history classes are taught in. While the course load of AP and regular classes might differ,  .Carter makes sure that the standards don’t, and that her classes are still as successful as possible. Gambon supported this statement and added; “ .Carter was always looking out for her students. If there was ever a moment I was struggling to remember the material, she would help me come up with a way that made sense for me to help me remember.” 

While Carter is such a stand out teacher, she also faces challenges like many other teachers. When asked what the biggest challenge she faced was, she stated; “The biggest challenge… just trying to make sure that I have everything that I need to provide the students with the ability to succeed. Students have the ability to grow and succeed if I can give them that foundation.”

Not only does Carter work at Erie High School, she also became a coach for the Erie High School track team this past season. This year the team moved up in ranking to 5A, which meant that they were competing against tougher schools and had harder times to reach to qualify for state. Carter worked with Mr. Baeza, a geology teacher at Erie High School and another new hurdle coach, to help the team get as strong as possible. These coaches came at the perfect time, as there has never been a consistent coach that focused on the specific techniques of hurdling. Carter and Baeza introduced the athletes to new warmups and workouts that helped sharpen their talents and cut down their times. 

When asked why she wanted to become a coach, Carter states; “Track has always been a part of my life, everyone in my family runs and I have grown up going to meets and talking about it and I just love doing that and then watching and helping athletes again just grow and meet their goals and find themselves doing things they never thought they could is so exciting.”

The track season was very successful with Carter as a coach and many athletes found themselves setting new personal records. The most notable improvement was Anni Pound, a senior track athlete who shaved six seconds off of her 300 hurdle time in just one season. Another successful athlete this season was Marco Martinez, a junior track and field athlete who got multiple personal records and saw many improvements in his form. 

The track season can often feel very long, but Carter made it go by much faster by helping the athletes set goals for themselves to reach each week at their meets, and by teaching new workouts to increase the athletes endurance and technique. When asked what her favorite memory from the season was, Carter recalled with a smile; “The random dancing around at different practices was really fun.” 

Carter confirmed that she plans on returning to being a coach next year, and that she would like to have summer practices so that the hurdlers can stay in top shape and keep sharpening their skills in order to have an even more competitive and successful season. 

Overall,  Carter is a stand out teacher and coach. She has such a welcoming personality that many students feel comfortable with and she is able to find success in every student and athlete. Carter truly is the definition of striving for excellence.