A Teacher’s Legacy

“I’ve learned to work hard, read and learn”

Dorian Ladue loved Charlotte Mecklenburg Library, and she loved children. Thanks to a memorial gift in her honor from the students and families at Crossway Academy, her legacy will support both.

Dorian co-founded Crossway Academy in 2011. The Matthews-based school serves students with special needs, and all students take a monthly field trip to Matthews Library for a sensory storytime program designed for them. Co-founder Shelley Dean explains “Dorian loved this library, and her priority was to teach our students responsibility, and to make sure they were part of the larger community. All our children have library cards and check out books every month. Our students aren’t passive recipients of Library programs – the Matthews branch has really worked with us all as partners and participants in the Library community.”

When Dorian became ill last year, the school established a fund to support the Library’s sensory storytimes in her honor. “She was so proud to know this would be her legacy,” Shelley recalls. “Together with Dorian’s friends and family, the Crossway community is thrilled to support Library programming for people with special needs in Matthews and throughout Mecklenburg County.”

Jesse Isley, Children’s Services Leader for the Library, recognizes the impact of sensory storytimes. “Multisensory experiences are offered in 13 of our 20 locations, and they continue to grow in popularity. We’ll hold over 400 individual programs this year for people of all ages with special needs, and so far have had over 4,000 attendees. This gift helps us expand the program through the purchase of sensory materials for more branches, as well as staff training. By working so closely with a group like Crossway Academy, we can find out what works, what gaps we can fill, and together we can build a stronger program for everyone.”

At Matthews Library for the dedication ceremony of the school’s gift, Crossway Academy eighth-grader Kolby reflected on Dorian Ladue and his monthly visits to the Library. “I’ve learned to work hard, read and learn.”

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