The Pony Express

The Newest Addition to Gaither’s Media Center

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Photo by Hayley Greenlaw

Photo by Hayley Greenlaw

Photo by Hayley Greenlaw

Hayley Greenlaw, Staff Writer

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There’s a new media specialist in The Patricia Chevalier Media Center here at Gaither: Jennifer Aldrich, a transfer from Adams Middle School and a lover of all things surrounding books and truth.  

Aldrich’s parents first welcomed her to the world of books by reading to her at a young age. “Being read to at [that] age developed my love of reading,” said Aldrich.   

Despite this foundation, Aldrich didn’t particularly like to read until she finished college. “As an adult I became more of a reader. I read all the stuff that you have to read for school and then again in college, but my love of reading didn’t really happen until later in life,” she said. 

A love of reading must come with a favorite book. Aldrich struggles with coming up with one single book she loves. “There’s just too many to name. I like historical fiction and historical memoirs,” said Aldrich. These genres appeal to Aldrich because of the stories behind them. Seeing life through other people’s perspectives is important to her.  

“I like truth and reality, and I like to hear other people’s stories so that I can kind of develop my own story and just learn off of what other people have done in life,” Aldrich said. She believes that history repeats itself and the more informed you are, the more prepared you are to lead a good life. 

Joining Gaither from a middle school, Aldrich enjoys the variety of literature that high school offers. “I was like ‘Oh wow. They’ve got the Kite Runner, The Glass Castle or even Stephen King.’ It’s just some stuff you wouldn’t normally see in a school library, at least one that’s younger, like a middle school environment. I really like that a lot,” she said.  

Surprisingly enough, Aldrich wasn’t planning on becoming a media specialist anytime in her career. She had gotten her master’s in reading education and was planning to become a reading coach. “Being a reading coach, that was ultimately what I wanted to do because I really wanted to instill a love of reading to those who didn’t really have it,” she said. ‘I know what it’s like since I didn’t really have it myself when I was in middle or high school.” Aldrich wants to change the mindset of reading to make it fun, since she knows not all required school reading is the most enjoyable. 

Initially asked by her principal at the time, Aldrich started considering the position of media specialist. “I hadn’t thought about doing it before and she had asked me about it and I thought ‘Maybe I could do that’, and I haven’t turned back since,” said Aldrich. She realized she had a love for being around the books, and it’s so fun trying to convince students to check out books and read more. “It wasn’t something I was pursuing, but then when I was approached about it, I thought it was a no brainer.”  

An additional goal is to get students to utilize the media center for all its various purposes. “Media centers are so much more than they used to be,” Aldrich said. “It’s not just the reading part but it’s also the informational literacy part.” Aldrich would also enjoy getting more classes down to the media center to show students of all its uses.  

Aldrich has a true love for the media center here at Gaither. “It’s beautiful,” she said. “It’s like you’re walking into a public library.”

This love extends to Gaither students. “The students here are such a pleasure. The students are just nice, caring, they’re respectful, which is refreshing just to see kids who are so respectful, and I think that’s the biggest thing I’ve seen being at Gaither,” Aldrich said.  

Aldrich is devoted to getting students back to being excited about going to the media center. There’s something for everyone down in the media center, you just have to find it.

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The Newest Addition to Gaither’s Media Center