Jamie Bostain – Class of 1992
Science teacher, East Burke High School

East Burke has been fortunate to have a number of graduates return to Cavalier Country as faculty members. As a member of the science department, Jamie Bostain has been a consistent voice in providing quality education for the students.

“I have taught Earth Science, Chemistry, Physical Science, and Physics at East Burke for 25 years. It was interesting how quickly I was hired for my job. I had earned a Bachelor of Science degree from UNC-Charlotte in Earth and Environmental Science and quickly discovered that there very few jobs in our area that required those qualifications. Fortunately, I was contacted by Alan Stephens, who was assistant principal at the time; he said East Burke had a need for a science teacher and inquired if I might be interested.

“I came in for an interview with him on Thursday, was shown around the department on Friday by Jimmy Hipps, who had also been one of my teachers, and went to work on Monday.” Since his college degree was not in education, he was hired as a lateral entry teacher, but he quickly went back to UNC-C to take the classes needed to be certified. East Burke, as well as many other schools, have taken advantage of the lateral entry option to recruit talented people into the teaching profession.

“My greatest reward as a teacher is seeing my students understand and grasp a concept and succeed in their studies. Every job has its challenges, and our greatest one in recent years has been keeping up with and mastering the changes presented by technology. The online teaching and learning that was necessary during the pandemic challenged everyone, but we worked hard to be sure the students received what they needed.

“I had great teachers as role models. My mother was a teacher, and I saw every day how she cared for her students and worked hard to help them be successful. Jimmy Hipps and Mark Jolley were two of my favorite science teachers, and I was fortunate to later have them as my colleagues as well.

“I also have some wonderful memories of a class that I found myself in by accident. Mrs. Nancy Clay, our registrar, was always so helpful to me by advising me of which classes to take. But this time, in spite of her efforts, there was an apparent computer glitch – technology challenges again! – and a friend and I found ourselves in a girls’ physical education class called Girls Selected Activities. We could either spend the term shooting hoops or let Mrs. Clay help us find another class. That’s how we wound up in Mrs. Annette Brittain’s cooking class, and it was one of the best classes I ever had. Mrs. Brittain taught us the basics of cooking, but she also taught us many life lessons, and I’ll always be appreciative.

“I enjoyed playing in the East Burke marching band and pep band. Playing at the football games is one of my best memories from high school.

“I also had a few jobs before I started teaching, including cutting grass at Wilkies Grove Baptist Church as well as working at Hampton Heights Golf Club in Hickory and at L&R Knitting in George Hildebrand. I’m grateful for these jobs because they instilled in me a work ethic that I have kept ever since.”

Jamie is a great example of how graduates of East Burke have returned to their alma mater to continue the standard of excellence that has been demonstrated since the beginning. His own children are among the ones who have benefitted from their time at East Burke, contributing to the community and family atmosphere.

“After I retire from teaching, I know that I will continue to work. Teaching is rewarding but stressful, so I may choose something that is less stressful than education. But whatever I do, I will always be a part of the Cavalier family.”

Published May 2022

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