NEW ELLENTON, S.C. (WJBF) – Another busy day for these first graders at Greendale Elementary School. Mary Helen Cochran makes sure their bright young minds are absorbing as much as possible.

“My mom was a teacher,” Cochran says. “So it was in my blood. I feel like once they’re in my classroom, they’re my kids forever. It doesn’t matter how old they are. I just follow them all the way through.”

Her students are so focused. That’s no small accomplishment for these energetic youngsters.
“There’s a lot of singing and dancing that goes on. You have to keep their attention and move around and keep it fun and have a lot of humor.”

When we visited Mrs. Cochran’s classroom, her students were working on Fundations.
“It’s a phonics program. It teaches a lot of trick words. It teaches a lot of words that you cannot sound out phonetically. Then we practice the sounds to help them spell words and write words. And it helps them read.”

It also helps them make a ton of progress in a short time.

“I’ve seen a lot of growth from the first week of school until now. Some of their handwriting was not so great, but now it’s really improved. They’re writing words. Their confidence level has boosted.”

And none of this would be possible without the strong support of the entire team here at Greendale, and throughout Aiken County.

“It’s overwhelming. It’s really what I needed to hear right now. It’s what I love to do. It’s given me a boost in my confidence right now. I just appreciate it so much.”

And we appreciate you Mary Helen Cochran. You have cared for kids your entire career, and carried on the strong legacy of your mom.

“Everything I’ve learned I’ve learned from her,” she says. “She always was positive. When we came home it was, no fooling around with Mama. Because she was a mama and a teacher. My kids will probably tell you the same thing. I know she’s proud.”