“These early years are critical to their development,” Cockerell said. “Sometimes it's scary to think that what they'll take from here is what will be their foundation for learning for the rest of their lives. But then, sometimes it's exciting to know that I'm a part of that; that I have that power to help shape them into who they will become,” she said.
Three miles away, Fain stretched in the gym at Orvis Risner Elementary School while her students imitated her movements. She believes they are slowly crafting the art of self-awareness, steadily learning the value of healthy living.
She leads them in activities such as dodgeball, baseball, basketball and kickball.
“I was in softball, basketball, diving ... I was a jock,” she said of her days at Edmond North.
She teaches physical education and health at Orvis Risner and is assistant softball coach at Edmond North.
She married her high school sweetheart, Alex, who works in human resources. In her spare time, she is learning the fine art of cooking.
She tries to make an impact on each student she meets.
“I only have 30 minutes a day with my kids,” Fain said. “Each day, I tell myself to try to connect with each one in some way. Whether it's giving them a high-five or encouraging them to keep going. I don't want anyone leaving my class without having been recognized.”
Fain said she was overjoyed to learn she would be teaching in the district.
“I would love to do this for the rest of my life,” she said. “I love this district. I want to start a family here; I want my children to go to school here.”
On one wall in Cockerell's classroom at John Ross, yellow stars are glued neatly to construction paper. On each page, a student's name and goals are displayed.
“We are stars,” the poster reads.
“I'm going to continue the tradition,” Cockerell said.