NORTH AUGUSTA, S.C. (WJBF)

Jill Paul is part of the DNA of Merriwether Elementary. She went here as a child and she teaches here as an adult. Part of a great team at this school.

“I’m teaching kids of parents that I taught,” Paul says. “That’s just the Sweetwater community. Everybody loves each other. I couldn’t imagine teaching at another school.”

She’s done just about every job here.

“I taught 2nd grade for 19 years. Then I went to 4th grade. I always said I’d be a kindergarten teacher, it just took me a little longer to get here.”

And even after 3 decades in the classroom, Mrs. Paul will tell you, children are the same as they’ve always been. At least when it comes to their hearts.

“They look up to you, because you’re their mom at school. That’s what I tell them all the time, ‘I’m your mom at school’. They love you. You can get on to them for one minute, and the next minute they’re giving you a hug.”

They’re also giving her a lot of effort every day. They grow so much in kindergarten.

“Now, to me they’re still babies. They look like babies. By the end of the year they’re grown. It’s amazing. They come in not reading and by the time they leave they’re reading.”

Their progress is a credit to her hard work and dedication. Jill Paul still has the energy and enthusiasm she brought to Merriwether when she started this career.

“It’s just a calling from God,” she says. “This is what I know I’m meant to do. I love it. This is my 30th year. I should’ve retired, but I just wasn’t ready. I have a couple of more years in me I fell like. As long as I love what I’m doing I’m going to continue to do it.”