The Blue and Gold

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Mr. Rainey: ESOL of TRHS

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Mr. Rainey and his students

Mr. Rainey and his students

Josh Lipscomb

Josh Lipscomb

Mr. Rainey and his students

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Jason Rainey is currently an ESOL instructor at four local schools and is a quintessential part of Travelers Rest High School, along the other local middle and high schools. Rainey was born in Greer, South Carolina, and spent most of his childhood here. He went to North Greenville University and majored in music education. During his time there, he went on a mission trip to Nicaragua, meeting many kids who surprisingly interacted with him and loved him, even as a stranger. They were asking him many simple questions in Spanish and he couldn’t understand. At that point, when he went back to the United States, he began attending a Spanish church. He continued to learn Spanish throughout his time in college and graduated the following year.

Between graduating and searching for jobs, he went to a language school in Nicaragua to learn Spanish. After spending a few months there, Rainey couldn’t find a job. He was looking for band director jobs all over the state and turned up empty-handed. He ended up settling for a substitute teacher job in a computer lab at Blue Ridge Middle School. At the end of that year, he had a friend at Berea Middle School whose mother became ill and needed to take leave to care of her. She reached out and asked Rainey if he would be interested in teaching Spanish and he immediately accepted with the idea that he just needed a stable job. The first day he taught a Spanish lesson he knew that is what he wanted to do. 

After the time at Berea Middle, he got a job at Blue Ridge Middle and taught Spanish there for 10 years. In his second year there, he was introduced to a program where Greenville County Schools was contributing half of the cost of an ESOL degree, which served as an effective incentive for Rainey. He completed the graduate degree program at Furman in 2007, and accepted an ESOL job with five schools in 2014.

At Travelers Rest, Rainey comes in, teaches in the morning, and stays for help until the end of lunch. Then, depending on the day, he will go to one of the other local schools in the afternoons. He takes great pride in what he does and sees the value of it. “I knew that when I was teaching Spanish I was making a difference, but these guys need these skills. They need to be able to speak English to be able to survive in the culture.” It is evident he thoroughly enjoys what he does and serves so many during his normal work day, at TR and all at of his other schools.

I had some ignorant attitudes about Spanish speaking people in High School. Now my best friends don’t speak English, it’s amazing how things work out. I love what I do.”

— Jason Rainey

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About the Contributor
Josh Lipscomb, Devildog Life Editor

Josh Lipscomb is a Junior at TRHS and loves ultimate frisbee, soccer, and late night drives. If he isn’t bumping straight fire mixtapes in his stunning new whip, he will be working hard in the classroom obtaining knowledge.  In North Florida, born and raised, on his DS is where he spent most of his days.

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