Student-teacher in Uniontown schools begins new chapter in pupils' studies
By Sonia Whalen Miller
Published: Thursday, Feb. 7, 2013, 12:01 a.m.
An entire new world has opened up for sixth-, seventh- and eighth-graders at AJ McMullen Middle School in the Uniontown school district.
Students are enjoying 300 new books on their library shelves after a recent book drive organized by student-teacher Adrienne Day.
While accompanying her students to library class, Day said, she noticed a lack of books for boys as well as up-to-date materials for students overall and decided to do something about it.
Her love of reading moved her to not only set aside her money to purchase 100 books for the library but to reach out for help.
“I attended a conference on reading at Cal U and spoke to the EMS Education Book Club treasurer about ways to purchase discounted books through the club. Dr. Diane Nettles, the faculty adviser, emailed me about the club performing a book drive to benefit the school. From that point, I acted as a liaison between the book club and the school,” Day said.
The club received books from college students and faculty members. And books were purchased from club funds and donations.
Day said she appreciates the diversity of genres.
“The students had a great interest in Civil War books and books on history in general. There were many very interactive books on history and science, which I was so pleased about. There were also many fiction books donated. These books were on different reading levels, which is important for students in middle school. The range of reading abilities is very broad during this stage of education, so having age-appropriate reading material on many ability levels is critical.”
Principal Joe Galie agrees the book drive was a major success in improving the school library.
“Everyone reads, or has to read, and we as the school must do we all can to promote a love of reading. This is a monumental task and when we have the cooperation of the public involved, the students really begin to see the importance of reading. ... as long as we get them to read, we can succeed.”
Librarian Melissa Woods said the 300 books will benefit students for years.
“The students are thankful and very excited to begin reading all of these wonderful new books!” Woods said.
Seeing students with the donated books in their hands and sharing that joy first-hand are satisfying for Day.
“One of the best moments I have experienced was when we were unloading the donated books onto the library counter. Several students came into the library and started exclaiming: ‘I'm going to read this one!'; ‘Me, too, and then I'm going to read this one!'; ‘Oh, I've wanted to read this one forever!'
“I couldn't help shed a few tears of joy, witnessing this excitement in students who previously struggled to find books of interest to them,” Day said.
She recently completed her 14-week student-teaching period at AJ McMullen Middle School.
Day has received her bachelor's of science degree in elementary (kindergarten through sixth) and special education for kindergarteners through seniors. She says the skills she learned as a student-teacher has prepared her for an education career.
“I try to live my life in a service-minded way. If I can find a way to make the world better — even in some small way — I feel I have lived a profitable day,” Day said. “I heartily believe it is up to Fayette County to help Fayette County, and I certainly intend to continue helping in whatever ways I can.”
Sonia Whalen Miller is a freelance writer.
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