Paige Cameron, CFNN Reporter

Jennifer Basham is a household name at Cape Fear High School. As she’s been a part of Cape Fear’s faculty for over 15 years, she has created a lasting impact on countless students. From teaching students English to organizing the annual, Mrs. Basham has contributed to making Cape Fear the best school any student can attend.

Although Mrs. Basham is known for her teaching, she didn’t always want to be a teacher. After attending high school, she went on to attend UNC-Chapel Hill to study Biology. After two years at Chapel Hill, she transferred to UNC Pembroke to major in Mass Communications. 

“When I transferred I did mass communications and then after I graduated I decided I didn’t want to do that, so I went back because I like English classes,” said Basham. “At the end of that year, they said I could be a teacher, so I said okay. I was lateral entry.”

At the end of this year, it will be her twentieth year teaching. That time alone illustrates how much she enjoys her job. “I’ve always liked kids, and I’ve always liked talking to the kids.”

Ms. Basham can frequently be found using “air quotes.”

Going on her twentieth year of teaching, Basham couldn’t imagine doing anything else. Her reasoning for joining the teaching world comes from one of her professors.

“I had a professor in college that was probably my absolute favorite,” said Basham. “And when I saw the way he interacted with the kids, I decided I could probably do that.”

Although Basham has enjoyed teaching over the years, it doesn’t come without challenges.

“Sometimes the effort that you put into it, you don’t immediately see because they might not act the way you do or they might not respond the way you want them to immediately,” said Basham. “Hopefully, by the end, you see something that was worth doing.”

Mrs. Basham has faced her own challenges this past year after facing lung cancer. “I had cancer, and the minute they (staff) found out there was so much support. Anytime anybody here needs something, the support that you get from the staff- they are like family.”

Basham defied the odds by having surgery on April 10th and coming back for graduation on May 30th to read each student’s name as they walked across the stage.

Basham holds court on another great day at Cape Fear.

“I got special permission from my doctor to read the names at graduation,” said Basham. “I was not going to leave them (Cape Fear).”

Basham continues to note how facing cancer has changed her outlook on life and teaching.

“I think now, cancer has changed how I handle school,” said Basham. “I have such a different outlook this year than before.”

The dedication she has for her career and the kids reaches far beyond what is expected of a teacher. Basham’s dedication to Cape Fear, despite her circumstances, proves to be an inspiration for many.

She encompasses what it means to be a part of the Colt family. Thankfully, Mrs. Basham’s fight with cancer resulted in a total victory, as life at Cape Fear wouldn’t be the same without her.