The Student News Site of Burlington High School

BHS Register

The Student News Site of Burlington High School

BHS Register

The Student News Site of Burlington High School

BHS Register

Building a culture

Meet BTC Digital Media Lab teacher Jason Raymond
An artistic image of BTC Digital Media Lab teacher Jason Raymond.
Courtesy
An artistic image of BTC Digital Media Lab teacher Jason Raymond.

In 2016, Jason Raymond took his middle school class to a Donald Trump rally. Raymond, now a teacher at Burlington’s Technical Center’s Digital Media Lab, made a connection with someone who worked at PBS in Little Rock, Arkansas and acquired press credentials for his class to interview Trump supporters. 

“We brought more minorities into that event than were maybe even in the building,” Raymond said. 

As the rally commenced, it became progressively more energetic and aggressive, worrying Raymond. 

“Immediately within the first 10 minutes, they kicked an African American woman out for yelling,” Raymond said. “I kept them close to that [the press junket area] once the rally started because it [the rally] seemed to be having a different tone.” 

Although the energetic support worried Raymond, he believes it was an important moment in history, and a valuable opportunity for more insight into the world of politics for his students. 

“These moments are made up of people in these time periods expressing different beliefs,” Raymond said. “I think it’s important to get a sense of what these things are first-hand if possible. It was an incredible opportunity to kind of put yourself in a moment in time.”

This idea of introducing students first-hand to different belief systems and cultures is a recurring theme in Raymond’s teaching.  Raymond says this is valuable for his students’ growth in perspective. 

“It positions you in a place where you’re able to see how other people function in the world,” Raymond said. “It’s always going to be a good, you know, a broadening experience to have.”

Raymond started teaching at BTC in 2016. Since then, Raymond says one of his biggest goals has been to offer students the opportunity to combine and influence each other while building a local culture. This was especially amplified since the closing of 242 Main in 2016, a local punk venue which was an outlet for the youth of Burlington. 

“A lot of the parents of kids that go to school now were impacted by 242 Main,” Raymond said.  “It had such a powerful impact on the way they think about themselves and the community and everything. That’s the other piece of what I wanted to do – not only create a program that provides students an opportunity to empower themselves and to figure out what they want to do with their lives, but also to create culture while they’re in high school.” 

That’s the other piece of what I wanted to do – not only create a program that provides students an opportunity to empower themselves and to figure out what they want to do with their lives, but also to create culture while they’re in high school.

— BTC teacher Jason Raymond

Daniel Wick ‘24 is enrolled in the Digital Media BTC program and agrees that Raymond’s class invites students to broaden their experiences and try new things. 

“It’s given me access to a lot of different mediums,” Wick said. “Some of them I hadn’t even heard of. I just didn’t really have the opportunity to experience them until I joined this program.” 

Raymond has always been willing to try new things if it can create more opportunities for creative expression for students. The BTC program was originally a television production class, but enrollment had dwindled over the years.

“They were basically thinking about closing it,” Raymond said. “I came in and scrapped the whole model for what it was and switched it to media arts because I felt like in digital arts, there were so many different pathways that somebody could have to follow.” 

Ali Abdullahi is a student-artist that has taken advantage of Raymond’s Media Arts class and connections in the community. With the help of Raymond, Abdullahi has performed at Higher Ground and opened for famous artists such as Bktherula, Landon Cube and local act North Ave Jax.  

“It’s helped me grow as an artist collectively,” Abdullahi said. “And it’s helped me increase the quality of my music.” 

Raymond hasn’t taken any BTC students to a Trump rally. But if going to a Trump rally somehow were to motivate, empower or help students to create a local culture – it wouldn’t be surprising.

“When [students are] able to use the resources that are available to them,” Raymond said, “and motivate themselves to be able to reach their potential, it’s an amazing thing to be a part [of] and to just support and encourage.”

Leave a Comment
Donate to BHS Register
$110
$500
Contributed
Our Goal

Your donation will support the student journalists of Burlington High School. Your contribution will allow us to purchase newsroom equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
Donate to BHS Register
$110
$500
Contributed
Our Goal

Comments (0)

All BHS Register Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *