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HCS Changemaker: Mrs. Daphne Rivera

Congratulations to Mrs. Daphne Rivera, the Library Media Specialist at McDonnell Elementary School, who has been selected as this week’s HCS Changemaker!

Mrs Daphne Rivera head/shouldersMs. Rivera says that one of her earliest memories is of her mother taking both she and her sister to the library every Saturday.  It became one of her favorite things to do, and for the rest of her life she wanted to share the love of reading she gained with young people.  She went to college and became an English teacher, but soon realized she could have an even bigger impact by reaching all the students of the school from the library.  Today, she takes her own children to the library as often as she can in order to continue passing on the love of reading that her own mother instilled.

“She is one of our true heroes here at McDonnell Elementary,” says Principal Laura Worshim, adding that she spends a lot of time collaborating with the teachers in the school to connect her library lessons to their curriculum.  McDonnell has many students who are learning English as a second language, and Mrs. Rivera goes out of her way to make sure the library has bilingual books and other resources that can help them on their journey.  She also works very hard to make sure that learning is fun and ensures that the activities they do in the library coincide with the books they are reading.  This can entail anything from working on an iPad to measuring gummy worms.  McDonnell student Dulce Perez says, “Mrs. Rivera is a very nice woman and she lets us have a lot of fun.”

Mrs. Rivera is married and has two boys that play a lot of baseball, so they spend a lot of time at the baseball park.  Her older son is also in honor society and band.  They love to stay busy with other outdoor activities as well.  Her parents own some land with a couple of ponds, which makes for a fun family activity they enjoy as often as possible.  Mrs. Rivera also loves to read when she can, but she says that most of the time she is reading children’s literature so she can stay up to date with the things her students are reading.

Mrs. Rivera has a unique perspective in that she gets to see her students learn and grow from Pre-K all the way to fifth grade.  Her primary goal for them during those years is to have a positive experience when they come to the library.  She wants them to think of it as a place where they are welcomed and loved.  It’s immediately obvious to anyone who enters the library at McDonnell elementary that she is hugely successful in that regard.  Her hard work and dedication are changing young lives for the better each and every day.

Each week, ETV will showcase an outstanding Huntsville City Schools educator as a feature in the “HCS Changemaker." Highlighted recipients receive gifts from SchoolCraft.
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