Pilot Mountain Elementary School recently received recognition from the American Library Association for its initiative, “Everybody Has a Story,” a library program that taught third-graders about cultural and historic preservation both locally and globally.
As the recipient of the association’s 2017 Sara Jaffarian School Library Program Award for Exemplary Humanities Programming, the school library will receive $5,000 and a plaque.
“Amy Harpe, PMES media coordinator, works with the students to bring their community and culture to life and to compare and contrast it with cultures and communities around the globe. I am excited for Mrs. Harpe and the students who will benefit from this award. The recognition she received from the American Library Association is an honor for her, the school, and our district,” said Sonia Dickerson, director of communications and school library media.
As part of “Everybody Has a Story,” students learned about cultural traditions at home and around the world. Over the year, third-graders:
• Learned about “Marie,” the last known speaker of the Wukchumni language, and explored how languages can be threatened with extinction and how people work to keep their languages alive;
• Practiced Irish folk dancing steps and compared them with clogging, a local folk dance, and learned how local artists are keeping local musical traditions alive;
• Used the book “What the World Eats” to explore U.S. food traditions and those of other countries; and
• Explored how the town of Pilot Mountain has changed over time through historic photos, maps, a talk with a local historian, and a tour of local historic landmarks. Students then used what they learned to create their own versions of the historic town using the interactive virtual game, Minecraft.
“My hope is that students will look at people for their story and not their stereotype, think about their community in new ways, be good stewards of their culture and their history, and learn more about their town as well as the world,” said Harpe, the school’s media specialist and the program’s lead creator.
The Jaffarian Award selection committee commended the library.
“’Everybody Has a Story’ is an example of the kind of exemplary school library program that we all strive to create,” said committee chair Mona Batchelor. “The American Library Association applauds Pilot Mountain Elementary School for taking on this yearlong endeavor to help their students be part of a global learning community.”
Named after the late Sara Jaffarian, a school librarian and longtime American Library Association member, the association’s Jaffarian Award was established in 2006 to recognize and promote excellence in humanities programming in elementary and middle school libraries. It is presented annually by the association’s Public Programs Office in cooperation with the organization.
Photo 1: Spencer Inscore, Dustin Snow, Aidan Harpe
Photo 2: Mrs. Amy Harpe and 3rd grade students