Meet the Class of 2016: Coraline Pettine, Award-Winning Writer

Coraline PettineMay 6, 2016, Blue Bell, Pa.—Love, reason, friendship and loyalty: the themes of the Coen Brothers’ film Miller’s Crossing resonated so completely with Montgomery County Community College (MCCC) Communication student Coraline Pettine, 19, that she won an award for the essay she wrote about the use of metaphor in the film.

The award was a $500 Rhoda and Henry Sandler Memorial Audiovisual Library Prize, given annually to an MCCC student who writes an essay about the study and research of film and film history.

Pettine will graduate later this month with an Associate of Arts degree in Communication.

“When my English teacher suggested I submit a paper for the Rhoda and Henry Sandler Memorial Audiovisual Library Prize, I was honored that he thought so well of my paper, and I was delighted to be up for the challenge,” Pettine said. “Not just because the prize money helps to pay for my college experience, but also because the audiovisual aspect of the library really is so essential. I feel like people forget the beauty behind films. People always talk about how books change their lives but you never really hear people mention any films that changed their lives.”

Film is just one facet of communications that fascinates the Bechtelsville woman. Although a part-time job in retail takes up much of her time, Pettine participates in the West End Student Theatre group and attends as many school productions as she can. She also writes for The Montgazette.

“I've always felt it's important to support the arts,” she said. “And then with the rest of my free time, I'm usually just working on some independent projects.” This semester, I participated in the Communicating Arts Production Group’s Sweded Five Day Film Festival, where we were assigned a popular film to plan, film, edit and recreate in five days. I almost did not participate because I had only a week’s notice before the event and I worked each of those five days, but I thought that would only make it more of a challenge and thus more fun.”

Always up for a challenge, self-motivation is part of Pettine’s personality.

“My father passed away when I was four,” she said. “And from then until about seven or so years ago, I moved a lot and changed guardianship a lot. I live with my loving aunt and uncle now, but for a while it was hard and I did not have a support system pushing me—just me, driving to be the best I could be.”

Pettine started her college experience at Montgomery County Community College because she couldn’t decide which four-year university she wanted to attend.

“I knew it would be redundant to waste so much money on a school I did not love, so I chose a school that would provide me with an affordable, high-quality education,” she said.

While much of her tuition was covered by grants, Pettine was one of six students to receive a William and Imelde Della Valle Langebartel Scholarship through the College’s Foundation, which helped her save money.

“After graduation, I plan on transferring to a four-year college to finish out my bachelor’s degree in film,” she said. “Although I still have not committed to a school, I am considering the Savannah College of Art and Design, the University of Central Florida, the University of Texas at Austin, the Pennsylvania State University, Cabrini College, and a few others.”

- Neree Aron-Sando

Coraline Pettine

Montgomery County Commuinty College Information Literacy Librarian Mary Beth Parkinson (right) presents Communication student Coraline Pettine with the 2016 Rhoda and Henry Sandler Memorial Audiovisual Library Prize. Photo by Alana J. Mauger