As the 2016 school year came to a close, so did the era of Cindy Evans. Chattooga High School’s beloved media specialist, Mrs. Evans, began teaching in 1979 at a time when ditto machines and an ez-grader, a cardboard grading calculator, were used to average grades. Mrs. Evans teaching career began at North Cobb High School as a social studies teacher. She logged a total of 33 years in Education, 23 of those years have been at Chattooga High School.
Principal, David Jones hired Cindy as the media specialist at Chattooga in 1993. She worked for 22 of the 49 years in the old high school building and the very first one at the new high school. During her first year at Chattooga, Mrs. Evans worked the pre-planning days setting up the library while 9 months pregnant. And on Saturday morning, Cindy was in the hospital welcoming her daughter to the world.
Mrs. Evans found her home and a family within the faculty at Chattooga High School. Cindy recalls the birth of a simply faculty tradition when fellow teacher, Darlene Scoggins, told then para-pro Felicia Foster she was hungry. Foster agreed to make a quick trip to McDonald’s to get a snack for a few of the teachers and the ritual became a 15 year tradition. Felicia still takes coffee to the high school every morning to share with Mrs. Evans. “She always has an ear to listen to me,” says Foster. Foster recalls a funny story, “It was black history month and I was at home watching a movie on call ‘The Book on Negroes’, so I texted Cindy to see if she had the book. She thought it was a joke I was playing on her. We got a good laugh about it and she did get me the book.”
Technology has evolved in the field of education over the last 2 decades and Cindy Evans has witnessed that change in the Library. “There was only one computer in the library, which was used for circulating books. Student computers were slowly added in the first half of the 1990s as the internet became publicly available. David Houston and I went to class to learn how to use a digital camera at a technology conference in 1999. We took back to school a 2-megapixel camera which cost $400 and used a floppy disk.” With the construction of a new school, the media center now has it’s own computer lab and the state-of-the-art high school has hundreds of computers throughout.
When asked about what she was most proud of, Mrs. Evans replied, “Building a comprehensive fiction collection and working with the Language Art teachers to increase readership among students. An administrator came in the media center one day in the last year and asked a group of students if they wouldn’t prefer e books to hard copy and they answered with an instant and unequivocal “no.” Hard copy isn’t dead. Many readers enjoy the experience of holding a book. I’ve worked hard to break with the stereotypical, stern librarian who wants the books to stay untouched on the shelves. I’ve worked hard to be accessible. The media center should be a safe place for students. Some days the most valuable service I provided was to smile and say a few kind words to a student (or teacher!) who was having a bad day.”
“Mrs. Evans is one of the most important people in my life,” says student Gracie Floyd. Principal Jeff Martin knows there will never be another one just like Mrs. Evans. “She gave years of service to the community, we will all miss her,” says Martin.
What will retirement look like for Cindy Evans? “The first thing is to take a trip to see the Normandy beaches. My Daddy was a WWII vet and while he wasn’t present on D-Day, he did land in Europe via a boat. It’s been a life long dream to see it. Other than travel and plant flowers, I’ll probably… read a few books.”