The School Newspaper of Winston Churchill High School.

The Observer

The School Newspaper of Winston Churchill High School.

The Observer

The School Newspaper of Winston Churchill High School.

The Observer

The unsung heroes of WCHS: the media specialists

Photo courtesy of Paige Pagley
WCHS media specialist Paige Pagley and WCHS media assistants Lucya Coil and Nia Muhammad work behind the scenes in the WCHS Media Center.

Themed book selections and welcoming decorations are only two of the trademarks of the WCHS media center. Whether WCHS students enter the media center to check out books or do schoolwork, they are always greeted by at least one of three friendly faces. What many students don’t know, however, is what exactly these important women do as Media Specialists.

“As media specialists, we are all working together as a team to work for the students,” WCHS Media Specialist Paige Pagley said. “I work with teachers and staff members to assist them with planning lessons, and as a team, we help with the needs of students.”

Pagley has been working at WCHS since 2010 and has seen the school’s evolution, from staff changes to post-pandemic learning reorientation. Pagley has also observed the different trends in books and student interest in the books, as students have constantly changing needs from the media center. Moreover, with the incorporation of technology-based learning, students require more assistance than ever before.

“Last year we saw a huge increase in our readership – a higher [number] of students checking out books and students [coming] in for assistance with technological issues,” Pagley said. “With everything being online, students sometimes need help troubleshooting or resetting their Chromebooks.”

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Nia Muhammad is in her first year of working as a Media Assistant at WCHS, having previously worked as a Media Assistant in middle schools and public libraries. The transition from working with children in public libraries to working with high schools has been quite difficult to adjust to for Muhammad. In the public library sphere, Muhammad assisted with planning activities for the books and connecting young children to the world of reading.

“Working in the children’s is relatively different from the high school media centers,” Muhammad said. “Though both include event planning, the children’s [library] was more work planning weekly events for the kids.”

The WCHS media center is filled with books for fans of all genres to enjoy. From the latest books trending on TikTok to timeless classics, the WCHS media center team knows how to maintain relevance.

“We try to keep our fingers on the current books by knowing what’s popular in the media at the moment,” Muhammad said. “Sometimes fantasy books are in trend during a certain time of year, or zombie books [during others]. Knowing what the student body needs is something we also look out for.”

Teamwork is key to the success of the WCHS media staff. Throughout the year the WCHS Media Center explores different themes to garner student interest for books. Activities like the “Blind Date with a Book” and highlighting authors during specific heritage months show the team’s dedication to WCHS.

“We are [behind the desk] a lot together and we bounce ideas off each other,” Pagley said. “We just love to be creative and take inspiration from events in the building such as the homecoming hallway. We love to feed off each other’s brainchilds.”

One of the biggest events in the WCHS media center is the annual Valentine’s Day event: Blind Date with a Book. During this time of year, students get to select a wrapped-up book to enjoy during Valentine’s Day month. WCHS students can only pick the book through a short synopsis before unwrapping to see if they found their match. If the book does not suit them, they are allowed to return it and pick another.

“Last year we put up books that hadn’t been checked out often in the library,” WCHS Media Assistant Lucya Coil said. “We want to showcase these books and see if the students enjoy them.”

Coil has been a Media Specialist at WCHS since the 2022-2023 school year, having previously worked as an elementary school Media Specialist. She is connected to the WCHS community in more ways than one, as she also has a daughter who is a junior at WCHS.

What the WCHS media center team would like the WCHS community to know is that they are always open to student feedback and keen to hear the thoughts of the community.

“If we don’t have a book that students want or we don’t have enough information on a certain topic, we will go out and find it,” Coil said.

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About the Contributor
Isabella Ngwana, Assistant Online Editor
Isabella Ngwana is a sophomore and one of the Internal Communications Managers. In her spare time, Isabella enjoys spending time with those she loves, reading a great book, listening to music, or spending time watching her favorite tv shows.

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