In an outdoor ceremony that opened in sadness, and gave way to joy, members of the Franklin County School community Friday dedicated the media center in honor of a longtime educator.

“Dedicating the library to Elizabeth Carol Davis is a way of saying that someone who taught children to read for a great deal of her life, and then worked as a librarian – a media specialist - encouraging everyone to keep reading is worthy of remembering and cherishing.”

Davis, 64, of Carrabelle, died in a two-car collision the night of Aug. 28, 2016, on U.S. 319, south of Sheldon Street in Wakulla County.

She had recently retired from the district, after a distinguished 40-year career as a teacher in Carrabelle, and then later as a media specialist at the new school following consolidation.

“It would undoubtedly give Carol great pleasure to know that when the very earliest readers experience the thrill of choosing a book and recognizing words for the first time, it will be here in a library bearing her name,” said Marshall, who was a colleague of Davis’ during their teaching careers.

“Surely, it would delight her to see the third grader bump into the library doors because they are already halfway through their book before they get back to class,” she said. “It would comfort her to see the middle schooler remembering they actually like reading still when they find the next title in a beloved series, or the high schooler typing their college application essay.

“She would, no doubt, salute the teachers and counselors strategizing about how to save a student. And she would chuckle at all the gossip, desperate snacking, and dulcet tones of ‘spit out your gum’ ringing across the shelves,” said Marshall. “Libraries are more than a house for books. They are gathering places and refuges. The Elizabeth Carol Davis library, this gathering place, this refuge, will be as warm, colorful, generous, kind and as encouraging of reading and all it unlocks as the lady herself.”

Senior Maxwell Davis and Miss FCHS Mallorie Shiver were master and mistress of the dedication ceremony, which opened with an invocation from senior Beyla Walker.

Melanie Humble, a colleague of Davis’, then read an original poem “A Carol for Carol, (see sidebar), followed by student Melody Hatfield singing “You Raise Me Up,” while playing the keyboards.

Superintendent Traci Moses then unveiled the plaque in Davis’ honor, citing her years of service to the district. “May the pleasure of reading inspire, comfort and challenge you as you enter this library space dedicated to the warmth and kindness of Carol Davis: teacher, librarian, mother and friend.”

Following her dedication, Marshall unveiled the large lettering that will identify the building as the Carol Davis Media Center.

Pastor David Walker then delivered the invocation, and guests then gathered inside the media center to enjoy refreshments catered by students from Debra Fletcher’s culinary arts class.