As a child, Jane Roupe loved to attend story times at Augusta's Appleby Library.
Today, the Columbia County schools' 2008-09 Media Specialist of the Year works each day to instill that same love of stories and reading into the pupils of Cedar Ridge Elementary School.
"I would go to the Appleby Library and stare up at the librarian reading the story," Roupe recalled. "I couldn't wait to hear what was going to happen next."
Roupe, an Augusta native, started her career as an educator working with special-needs pupils in the Atlanta area. When she returned to Augusta, she switched from the classroom to the media center.
"Reading is such a joy to me," she said. "I wanted students to feel that same kind of joy and I wanted to be in position to help them feel it."
Like the Appleby librarian who once mesmerized her, Roupe now conducts story times with kindergarten and first-grade pupils. She regularly works with teachers, using the media center's resources to support their curriculums; works with pupils and teachers in locating online resources; and maintains the school's Web site. She recently conducted a book sale as a school fundraiser and hopes to start a morning news show with pupils this month.
Roupe's efforts are what garnered her the Media Specialist of the Year designation, Cedar Ridge Principal Sarah Walls.
"She is always willing to help out with anything that is ever asked of her," Walls said. "She's very committed to the school, the teachers and students, and will always go the extra mile for them."
Beyond her sense of duty, Walls believes it is Roupe's giving nature that sets her apart.
"She is such a warm person," Walls said. "Everything about our media center is very inviting and students respond to that."
When Roupe recently asked some pupils what their favorite part of the school day is, she expected to hear recess or lunch. She said she was taken aback when many responded that they like visiting the media center.
"That was incredible to me," she said. "I love that they love to come here. I love that they love to read."
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