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Black History Makers: Jared Carpenter

Published: Feb. 16, 2021 at 8:24 PM CST
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BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (WBKO) - We continue our Black History Makers series talking with Jared Carpenter from Bowling Green. He was born May 1, 1990. His mother was only 17 years old when she had him. She and her mother raised him and eight other children in their government-subsidized home that was filled with love.

”The main way I was able to get through my childhood,” said Jared Carpenter. “was just some, you know, take an example from the women who raised me, you know, their, their resiliency, their work ethic, you know, their perseverance and ability to always make a way, when sometimes it seems, you know, there was no way, but also my, my involvement in sports definitely played a significant role and my, my ability to, you know, to overcome some of my humble beginnings, and being able to go in and do some of the things I’ve done, sports has always been a large part of my life and has greatly contributed to my success.”

“How did sports do that? What is it about sports that helped you so much?”

“I, you know, sports is has always been a safe haven in that regard, but also what, what it directly teaches you, you know, about, you know, how to be disciplined how to work hard, you know, teaches you the ins and outs, and the fundamentals of teamwork. And those concepts and, and probably growing up in Bowling Green, one of the other things that sports did for me, was introducing me to a very diverse group of friends.”

“It’s invaluable, the amount of education that you get from just learning from other people and being exposed to other people from different walks of life. You know, because when you when you have those different experiences with those people, you gain further and deeper understanding from your from where those people are coming from and their perspective and their worldview. And you understand why they may see things a certain way and and why they may not see things the way you see them vice versa. And, you know, my little microcosm experience in Bowling Green, Kentucky, I think can be an example for that.”

“I’m just hopeful that more more people, more kids who come from the environments come from, and more kids who come from the environments that did not, you know, resemble mine, meet people like me, you know, come from where I come from, and we can we can continue to gain a deeper understanding, continue to gain, you know, that those experiences and exposures to just different, you know, different people in different from different walks of life. And so that’s, that’s, you know, always always why, you know, Bowling Green, Kentucky will always have a very special place in my heart.”

After graduating from Bowling Green High School in 2008 with a perfect 4.0 grade point average, Jared earned a football scholarship to Northwestern University, where he won the 2013 Gator Bowl MVP Award as the Wildcats beat Mississippi State 34-to-20. While getting his masters degree at WKU, Jared got the incredible opportunity to tour South Africa, and discovered a remarkable similarity between their cultural struggles and ours.

“The most unique thing that I found through my research,” Jared told me, “was the strategic use of the South African rugby team, and how President Mandela used that to really unify the country in a way that was never imaginable and never been done before. But it’s, it was obviously a pretty special, you know, endeavor for me considering how, you know, how special sports has always been in my life. So it was just neat to just to just see, you know, something that I’ve, you know, participated in my whole life, you know, activities and and aims and goals that I’ve, you know, dedicated a lot of sweat blood and tears to youknow same efforts to see how it can be taken on on a literal you know, world stage. Being a key tool that Mandela used to settle, you know, the political unrest under apartheid.”

Jared and his eight siblings were raised by their mother and grandmother. He made a perfect four-point-oh grade point average at Bowling Green High School, earning a football scholarship to Northwestern University. He then went to South Africa to write a comparative analysis for his WKU masters degree between the American Civil Rights movement and the fight against apartheid, so I asked him what he thought of the Black Lives Matter movement.

”It’s providing an opportunity for people who may not have participated in years past or decades past. But, you know, and this modern times, you know, movements like Black Lives Matter, provide those opportunities for people who, again, may not be a part of the of the group that experiences most of the oppression, and discrimination and stuff that goes on in our country, it provides opportunities for those people to get involved. And it’s just been I think beautiful, in my opinion, to see just how m any people from all different walks of life, all different races, again, social classes that have really kind of come together and in an unprecedented way that this country has never seen. So it’s pretty neat to see.”

Jared has been helping others all his adult life. He is now a full-time traveling nurse, and a part-time ICU nurse at Tristar Skyline Hospital in Nashville

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