Jason Dennis: 'This is where I belong'
Career Technical Education Teacher
Digital Media Production
Marina High School
His love for Marina - the students, the school, the community, all of it - exudes from Jason Dennis. Jason began his career as a substitute campus monitor at Marina High School in 2014, and he shares that becoming a campus monitor was a life changing experience because he got to see what students were struggling with, which were a lot of the same struggles he had growing up. “It’s a blessing,” he says about his job. “The best part of the job is to see all the hurdles they (the students) overcome.” Today, Jason teaches Digital Media Production and is the head football coach at Marina High, as well as the girls volleyball coach.
“Everywhere I go it’s Marina all the way,” he says. Jason was raised in Marina, and although he attended and graduated from Seaside High School, he shares that after working at Marina High and being around the kids that there is no place he would rather be than Marina. “Hands down there is nothing close to it,” he raves.
“I feel a love for these kids because they experienced the same exact issues as I did,” he says. It’s a mind blowing experience he shares about what he sees. “We think they (students) are acting up, but a lot of times once we sit them down and learn that they didn’t eat lunch or dinner for a couple of days or they have a lot of stuff going on at home. The most fulfilling part of my job is getting to connect with students and getting past that barrier wall.”
During COVID, Jason had the opportunity to pursue his teaching credential and he has been teaching digital music production since the 2021-2022 school year. As a Career Technical Education teacher at Marina High, he says, “Music is beyond making beats.” Jason teaches students how therapeutic music can be. “Music saved my life during COVID. It kept me busy. It kept me sane,” he says. He imparts to students that music isn’t just music - it’s a lot more powerful than we think and helps the brain learn or destress after a long day. For Jason, it activated his whole brain and served as an outlet when he participated in band and drumline. Some of his students are even writing lyrics and it is through those lyrics that he is able to learn more about their lives and connect with them.
When asked about Marina High, he emphatically states, “This is where I belong.” Becoming the head coach for the school’s football team was the hook, line and sinker for him. When he got the job, his phone was blowing up from students, staff, parents, community members about how happy they were for him, and that is what did it for him. He shares, “I am a Seaside High School Spartan at heart, Marina is a unique place and this is home for me and will be home for me for hopefully a long time.”