Jernigan’s Jern-ey

Mr. Jernigan lands at Enloe High School


“Alright, where were you born? What was your childhood like?”


Jernigan: I was born in Yugoslavia. I started to work at the age of 5 in the mill where we made marshmallows for Lucky Charms cereal. At the age of 7 I was promoted and moved to Russia where I starred in the Russian Ballet.


“What was it like starring in the Russian Ballet?”


Jernigan: It was beautiful, it was lovely. Can’t think of anything better for a seven year old to do. Sometimes when I would do a twirl Lucky Charms marshmallow dust would come out because it was so ingrained in my epidermis.


“How did you find yourself at Enloe High School?”


Jernigan: I usually drive here from my apartment. One time I flew but it didn’t go very well because my wings haven’t fully grew. I’m still waiting for feathers.


“Why did you choose to be a theatre teacher?”


Jernigan: It chose me. I fell into a cave and there was an old man with a really long beard who said I wasn’t worthy.  I came back when I was older and wiser and didn’t smell of marshmallow dust and he deemed me worthy to be a theatre teacher.


“What’s your favorite part of Enloe High School?”


Jernigan: My favorite part of Enloe High School is the secret bathroom on stage.


“What? Really?”


Jernigan: Alright, alright, you can ask me questions now. What do you want to ask me?


Aside from being one of the most difficult people at Enloe to interview, Mr. Jernigan is also Enloe High School’s newest theatre teacher. His theatrical journey started in elementary school where, as a part of his speech therapy, he would reenact Batman comic books using different voices for each of the characters. In the fourth grade Jernigan wrote and performed in front of his school a script for Beauty and the Beast using the movie’s graphic novel and Official Junior Novel Adaptation.


“How did it [the performance] go?”


Jernigan: It went good until Naomi wouldn’t kiss me because her boyfriend was in the audience. Oh, she played Belle.


In high school Jernigan found that there were no opportunities for him and his peers to get involved in theatre outside of his school’s musical. And if you weren’t good enough at singing to get a spot, you wouldn’t have any opportunities at all. To combat this he helped start his high school’s drama club which would put on other performances during the school year. 


“When did you get interested in theatre as a profession?”


Jernigan: In my high school all we had was the school musical. I got involved in that and I really enjoyed it and it was a great way to make friends. In the tenth grade my mother got an illness and being apart of the musical gave me a way to get through it. I realized how important theatre was and how much I wanted to teach it. 


After high school, he graduated from the American Musical and Dramatic Academy, East Carolina University, and West Virginia University where he also worked as a teacher. Before arriving at Enloe, Mr. Jernigan was the theatre teacher at D. H. Conley High School in Greeneville, North Carolina.


“How was that [teaching at other schools]?”


Jernigan: It was wonderful. That’s why I’m teaching at a different school.


In his free time, Mr. Jernigan enjoys collecting toys, action figures, trading cards, and video games. He’s especially looking forward to the remake of his favorite game, Aladdin for the Sega Genesis, which is coming out later this year.


“What would be your dream car?”


Jernigan: I’m not really a car person, but, I would have to say the Jungle Explorer from Jurassic Park. 


“The Ford Explorer?”


Jernigan: Yeah, it’s the one they use to go to the different dino paddocks.


“I saw one of those at the mall once.”


Jernigan: I see a Park Jeep all the time. I almost bought a Jeep because it was super cheap on Craigslist, but it was a stick and I couldn’t drive it. I could also go for an Ecto-1 or the Batmobile from Batman Returns. I don’t really like grown-up cars. 


He’s an energetic and colorful character who’s hard to miss walking through the halls of Enloe in bright Hawaiian shirts and Captain America’s Shield backpack.


“So, what’s with the Hawaiian shirts?”


Jernigan: So unlike most people, I have, the cross I have to bear, is that I have been given a personality. And I am not afraid to show off my personality and let it influence my wardrobe and everything about me. I really like myself and I’m a very secure individual. If I like something I like it and I don’t care what people think about it. When I was in Kindergarten I was a fan of My Little Ponies. I didn’t know anything about it until show’n tell when I brought a My Little Pony and my friends were all like ‘What are you doing’ and I was like ‘Chilling with my favorite toys’.


Mr. Jernigan teaches theatre and improv classes and is the director of Enloe Theatre Department’s production of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream which will be performed from October 30th to November 2nd.  


“What’s your favorite thing about people being a teacher here at Enloe?”


Jernigan: My favorite thing about being a teacher, so far, has been the community of students and teachers that I get to work with.