Henderson Collegiate: A Trip Down Memory Lane

We’ve shared a lot over the years (and especially this past year) from the small town of Henderson, specifically featuring the college prep charter school Henderson Collegiate. So we thought after such a big year for them we’d take a moment to give you a little extra context on who they are, why we love them so much, and share all the films we’ve created over the years leading to this…

It’s 2006, I’m a recent graduate from American University who is now teaching 7th and 8th grade technology on a peanut field in rural North Carolina. While I was trained briefly the summer before by Teach For America, I still had pretty much no idea how to teach and desperately trying to learn very, very quickly.  Luckily for me I was surrounded by experienced, game changing teachers who were showing me daily what that could look like.

One of those teachers was Eric Sanchez, who several years later would go on to found Henderson Collegiate with his wife (and equally game changing teacher) Carice. More impressive than his actual teaching practices in the classroom was his belief in his students. Over the years I’ve come to firmly believe that teacher mindset underlies everything else, and Eric was one of a handful of teachers who showed me what it looks like to believe at your core that 100% of your students have what it takes to be successful. In school, in life and as good humans.

Thank goodness there are people like Eric & Carice in our country starting schools, and filling them with equally inspiring educators who are quickly proving what’s possible.

The hard part of starting your own school, especially one that grows one grade at a time, is that for a long time you’re selling a vision. You don’t have a proof point yet, so you are just constantly talking about college, and why all this hard work now will make a difference in your future. Their first group of students, the Pride of 2019 (named for the year they would attend the colleges of their choice) began in 2010 as fourth graders, and you can now probably see where this story is going. It is now 2019, which explains why this past year was such a big one for Eric, Carice and the entire Henderson Collegiate team and family.

So now please allow us to indulge in a little trip down memory lane where we share all the stories we’ve captured there over the past 5 years we’ve been filming there…

CarolinaCAN: Prove What’s Possible

The very first film we made at Henderson Collegiate actually wasn’t for them- it was for an organization called CarolinaCAN who was putting the spotlight on four high performing charter schools in North Carolina that served previously low-performing districts and were proving what was possible.

Henderson Collegiate Recruitment Video

One of the challenges for charter schools is the need to recruit students and teachers, especially in those initial formative years when you’re growing rapidly as a community. So the following year we helped by telling their story through video, to help potential families and teachers understand who they are, what they were doing, and why it was different.

Henderson Collegiate High School

In 2015 the Pride of 2019 started high school, and with that Henderson Collegiate High School was opened. For this film we got to capture what has happening on that campus, and our favorite part was hearing it from the perspective of the students.

2018 Fundraising Film

Prior to this year, this was one of our favorite films we got to create for them. In 2018 their first pride were now 11th graders, and we had real compelling stories to share from their time there. Stories of growth, perseverance, and hope for what came next. Being able to interview students, parents and teachers to hear about all that had been accomplished in the past 8 years was a true treat.

Senior Signing Day & Graduation: Pride of 2019

Now this year we found ourselves in the year they had been waiting for- their first group of students was going to apply to college, announce the colleges they would be attending, and then cross the stage before actually heading off to college. Thankfully we were there to capture all of it 😊

To support the work that Henderson Collegiate is doing please consider visiting their fundraising page