PROFILE 2024: Caroline Gardner

Published 8:00 am Saturday, April 20, 2024

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Caroline Gardner Terra Ceia Christian School Athletic Director and the Youth and Children’s Minister at Harvest Church in Washington. 29 years old. Born and lives in Jamesville.

Caroline Gardner was home-schooled through the TEACH program growing up in Jamesville. She attended Beaufort County Community College, then transferred to East Carolina University, where she earned her Bachelor’s degree in Social Work. 

  1. How do you balance your responsibilities at TCCS and Harvest Church?

It’s not really two full-time jobs, so there is time to do both the best I can. They are similar in that I’m around kids in a Christian environment and have a chance to make a difference in their lives. I love working with kids and I love sports, so I think I have the perfect combination.

2. How did you get started?

I’ve always loved sports and played basketball, volleyball and softball from middle school until I dislocated my knee cap during my senior basketball season. I learned to support my teammates from the bench and learned to connect with them in more of coaching-like role after I couldn’t play anymore. I started at Harvest Church 10 years ago as an intern, then became an assistant and now I’m the youth minister. I started teaching 5th & 6th grade English at TCCS as a sub in 2019-20 and stayed another year during COVID. One of the senior parents at the time, Laurie Jefferson, really pushed me to continue teaching and I added athletics after Roger Clausen retired as the AD. It’s worked out really well so far.

3. What is the most fun part of your job at TCCS?

Watching our students come alive at sporting events. It’s different than in the classroom, because they get to make noise cheering on their schoolmates. I am amazed at how many things we do with just 150 kids in the school. There’s opportunities for everybody and it’s really cool when they take advantage of them.

4. Who mentored you?

My parents always made sure we were a part of our community and connected with other people while growing up. It can be isolating to be home-schooled, but they made sure I was taking part in activities. I owe them everything. Tera Garret, my youth pastor, and current lead pastor Brian Oliver always encouraged me to keep moving forward and Laurie Jefferson pushed me to teach at TCCS.

5. What’s the best part about growing up and staying in our area?

Friendly people who end up like part of your family. There’s more of everything and lots of options for young families from youth sports to arts programs. You can plug into the community and participate in just about anything. The new restaurants and coffee shops are also great for our area.