Katharine Cobb always knew the path she wanted her life to take.

That path was the focus of her playtime as a child, throughout her public school career and through college. That path took her life full circle as her passion to teach landed her back in her hometown school district after completing her college education. Today the slender, bright-eyed young woman teaches first grade at Felty Elementary School.

“In second grade, I had Barbara Picket (as a teacher),” Cobb said. “She was cleaning out her classroom closet the end of the year and she gave me a couple of her teacher editions (textbooks) – I sure did have a fun summer with those.”

A Texas native, Cobb was born in San Antonio but moved to Waxahachie before the start of her first grade year at Shackelford Elementary. She graduated from Waxahachie High School and, following a family tradition, attended Baylor University in Waco, where she received her degree in early childhood education.

In high school, Cobb received dual credit in English through Navarro College and participated in the district’s Ready, Set, Teach Program.

“Ready, Set Teach gave me a foundation to the basics of what the responsibilities and requirements are like for a teacher,” she said. “This program gave me classroom management skills, how to manage a grade book and the core requirements for a good lesson plan.”

The program allows students who desire to become teachers the opportunity to spend time in the classroom and gain hands-on experience in that environment. She participated in a first-grade class at Northside Elementary and a kindergarten class at Marvin Elementary.

“I was required to prepare lesson plans and keep a grade book – working with students and assisting the teacher,” Cobb said. “I even did some whole group lessons on occasion.”

The experience enabled her to observe teachers and watch their strategies for meeting the needs of students at all levels.

“I had so many role models growing up and most of them were my teachers. For me to go away to college and work so hard with the idea of becoming like them, then to come home and realize that those same teachers are now my colleagues – my cup feels full with success,” she said.

Keeping the children engaged and providing a fun and positive learning experience is both challenging and rewarding. It is important to match their needs and abilities, she said.

“First grade is so important to their development,” she said. “If children don’t get the basics, it is really hard for them to keep going.”

Cobb will be leaving Waxahachie at the end of the school year to start a new chapter in her life. She is getting married to Chris Campbell in June and, after a honeymoon in Italy, the couple will relocate to Oklahoma City. Campbell will graduate from the Air Force Academy in May and will be stationed in Oklahoma City, where he will serve as an acquisitions officer.

She said it will be difficult to leave the kids knowing she won’t be able to watch them grow and evolve into better students.

“Even more, it’s how attached I am with the kids,” she said. “I have fallen in love with each of them. They are precious.”

For the future she plans to continue teaching and has applied for her teaching certificate in Oklahoma.

“I see myself as a teacher – I love interacting with the kids and I love being in the middle of the classroom,” Cobb said.

Contact Rebecca at rebecca.hertz@wninews.com or call 469-517-1451.