Mary (Showman) Carpenter

2003 Mary (Showman) Carpenter has fond memories of her time as a Badger, from writing in AP English class taught by Mr. Hepfinger to playing in the Girls State Basketball Tournament. Since graduation she's gone into a career of communications to fundraising including leading an annual fund campaign for a Power 5 Conference Athletic Dept.

Year graduated: 2003

Favorite teacher? 

I honestly loved all of my teachers, and some of them are still teaching at BHS! But if I have to choose one, then it's Mr. Hepfinger–AP English. Mr. Hep made my love of English and writing come to life. I minored in English in college because of him. He helped expand my mind and read different genres and authors while also learning to write a mean research paper (before Google mind you.)

Favorite memory from being a student at BHS? 

One of my favorite memories from being a student at Bennington was playing in the 2002 Girl's State Basketball Tournament my junior year. We were so proud to make the tourney, and at that time it had been awhile since BHS girl's basketball had been to state. I was injured and getting ready for knee surgery the following week, but Coach Baldwin let me suit up and even played me. Our team was awesome. I miss those ladies...and Coach Baldwin.

Education/work career after BHS?

After graduating from BHS in 2003, I attended the University of Kansas where I was a walk-on for the Women's Rowing Team. I was so proud to be a Division 1 student-athlete coming from such a small school, because in 2003 Bennington was a SMALL SCHOOL. I was also a member of Pi Beta Phi sorority and eventually their Chapter President. I graduated from KU in 2007 with a Bachelor of Arts in Communication Studies.  


My work career is quite interesting. I was in sales right out of college and moved back to Omaha but lost my job due to a company downsizing. Mr. Stan Turner hired me to be his Administrative Assistant in his last year as Principal of Bennington High School. 

That was a great year, but my alma mater called me back, and I joined the KU Women's Basketball team as their Administrative Assistant of Recruiting. I loved being back in collegiate athletics, but then an opportunity to own a bar and grill came open. So, my husband and I packed up our family and moved to Seneca, KS for a few years. During that time, I earned a Master's in Business Administration from Kansas Wesleyan University.

After the birth of our third child, we decided to sell our business and plant roots back in Lawrence, KS where I joined the team at KU Endowment Association and, eventually, rejoined KU Athletics as the Associate Director of Annual Giving in the Williams Education Fund. I met some amazing coaches, professionals and student-athletes during my time there, even won a National Championship in Men's Basketball, but my sorority's national foundation saw the work I was doing for KU Athletics and reached out to me about fundraising for them. 

I am now the Individual Giving Officer for Pi Beta Phi Foundation and love every minute! I am working remote, based out of Lawrence. I'm still able to cheer on my Jayhawks while supporting an organization that meant so much to me during my collegiate years.  

Have you earned any awards or been a part of any professional associations?

Member of the Women Leaders in College Sports Association

Advice to current BHS students? 

Treat every job you have in this life like it's your dream job. When Mr. Turner hired me as his Administrative Assistant, I had two young kids and I was in need of a job. I knew I could make a difference again at BHS; even as an Administrative Assistant. (I am forever grateful to him for that job by the way.) The skills I learned during that year are skills I still use to this day, and it helped me get my foot in the door to bigger things–like eventually leading the Annual Fund in the Athletic Department of a Power 5 Conference. Take something from every job you hold and apply it to the next.

Also, treat everyone with respect whether they are the CEO, the Janitor or the Intern. Everyone plays an important role in an organization and one cannot function without the other... "People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel."- M.A. Any family in the Bennington Public School District?

My husband, Aaron Carpenter, and I have been married for 15 years. He coached a few years of Bennington Legion Baseball with Jamie Schleifer, my dear friend from my BHS days. We have three kids, Colby (11), Emily (10) and Cam (6). My mom, Karen Showman, taught 4th grade at Bennington Elementary School from 2001-2003. My brother, Chris Showman, is also a BHS alum (2009) and teaches Language Arts at Bennington Middle School. My nephew, Brayden Showman, is a sophomore at BHS. Badger Pride runs deep in our family!


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