Everybody Has a Story - 2017 Jaffarian Award Winner

Everybody Has a Story

School: Pilot Mountain (N.C.) Elementary School

Applicant: Amy Harpe, Media Specialist

Program Summary

Pilot Mountain Elementary School, a public school in Pilot Mountain, N.C., has been recognized by the American Library Association (ALA) for Everybody Has a Story, a library program that taught third-graders about cultural and historic preservation both locally and globally.

The yearlong program integrated multiple activities — involving language, arts, dance, music, food traditions and practical skills — to teach students about cultural traditions at home and around the world. Over the year, students:

  • 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 comparing them with clogging, a local North Carolina folk dance, and learned how local artists are keeping our own musical traditions alive;
  • Used the book “What the World Eats” by Peter Menzel 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 historic Pilot Mountain using Minecraft.

Program Images

Students in front of train mural

Students tour their town to learn about the history of its buildings

Students use images to make observations about town history

Students use historical photos to make observations about the history of Pilot Mountain

Students in front of train mural

Town Historian Carolyn Boyles shares her book with students

Students use images to make observations about town history

Students use clues from their tour to complete a breakout activity at the public library


Pilot Mountain Elementary School wins ALA school library award for program about cultural and historic preservation