More than a library: Cornatzer media center filled with fun activities

Published 9:00 am Friday, March 29, 2024

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By Mike Barnhardt

Enterprise Record

With more than 20 years of teaching under her belt, Angelina Etter decided it was time for a change.

She had been teaching young students at William R. Davie and Mocksville elementary schools, when she transferred to Cornatzer Elementary for a kindergarten teaching job.

Then the job of media coordinator came open. Of course, she was hired.

“I thought it would be fun, and I was right. I have loved it. It’s a good breath of fresh air.”

The media center at Cornartzer doesn’t look the same, either.

Angelina thought a book vending machine would be a good way to reward stude ants. It wasn’t in the budget, so she worked to get private funds to pay for the purple machine.

She didn’t stop there. She also helped acquire grants to add a makerspace to the media center; and she made sure the children were the center when those grants also allowed for new furniture and a new look in the media center.

And, she also helps students with their “WCZE” newscast, with a makeshift studio.

Did we mention the robotics club she manages? Or the Go Far running club?

Angelina says it helped that she was a teacher first. She has seen the curriculum and knows how to match reading activities with what the children need to be learning.

She earned her undergraduate degree in behavioral science from King College (University) in Bristol, Tenn., and master’s degrees in instructional media and library science from Appalachian State University. She was a member of Davie’s first Mebane Masters program.

It’s no wonder she ended up with a teaching career. She started at an early age.

“I’ve always said I wanted to be a teacher,” she said. “I would line up my stuffed animals, and pretend I was their teacher.”

While the offerings in a traditional library have changed over her career, so have the kids and the families they come from. More parents are working, which means less parental involvement in schools, she said.

“No two days are the same. There are always challenges. Kids don’t know how to play with each other. They lost some of those skills during Covid … and they spend more time looking at screens.”

Despite the changes, watching kids learn new skills makes it worth the while.

“It’s great to see them grow from year to year. It’s fun the see the spark and hear them say, “Ms. Etter, look at what I’m reading now’.”

And about that grant that brought in new furniture: there was a barren wall. It’s now filled with enlarged photos of students.

“I made it heart shaped to represent my love for my kiddos.”