Enquirer Herald

Kinard remembers a teacher who planted seeds

Myrna Kosko was a proponent of hands-on learning, and she especially enjoyed teaching science. A dozen years ago, she created a butterfly garden as an outdoor classroom at Kinard Elementary School.

When Kosko died earlier this year after retiring from full-time teaching, the school wanted to do something to remember her. On Friday, they made her name a part of the school for years to come.

Kinard students and staff gathered to dedicate the recently refurbished butterfly garden in memory of Kosko. A memorial bench overlooking the garden bears Kosko’s name, and her husband, Jim Kosko, and their three sons planted a flower in her honor.

Clover Superintendent Marc Sosne — who called Kosko “a woman with a giant heart, and a spirit that gave to the community day after day” — said the garden will continue to teach and inspire students for years to come.

Kosko — who taught elementary school for about 40 years, including both third grade and preschool at Kinard — died of a brain aneurism March 31. She led the creation of the garden about 12 years ago and maintained it.

On Friday, the school told the story of Kosko and the garden through a video presentation in the cafeteria. Students and staff then moved out to the garden for music, poetry, a dedication by Sosne and a butterfly release.

Kosko retired from Clover schools in 2008, but she continued to teach as a substitute. Kinard fourth-grade teachers were working to refurbish the garden at the time of her death.

They had recently received a $1,000 grant from Lowe’s to help fund the update, which also involved help from the school Parent Teacher Organization and a local Boy Scout troop.

“She was a big science teacher here over all these years,” said Kinard art teacher Marianne Lenard, a close friend of Kosko who served with her at Kinard for more than 20 years.

“She wanted to start that garden to teach with, and also to beautify the building,” Lenard said. Students “all had a hand in the first garden 12 years ago. The students planted a flower. And she maintained it, and she taught the kids all about maintaining it.”

But Kosko didn’t just teach science. Kinard Principal Kathy Weathers remembered that Kosko threw her heart and soul into many aspects of the school. She wrote dramatic skits for students and sang at school events, Weathers said.

And Lenard said she put together a science and math fair

“She was more than just a teacher at our school,” Lenard said. “She was involved in every aspect of our school. If there was anything going on at our school, Mrs. Kosko had a hand in it.”

Kosko also was active in the community; she was a longtime leader of Cub Scout Pack 237 and was involved in the Palmetto Council Boy Scouts of America. Many of those attending Friday’s ceremony wore Scout uniforms.

Lenard noted that one of the stones buried the Kinard garden bears the words “Teachers plant seeds that last forever.” It’s an appropriate way to remember Kosko, she said.

“That says it all,” Lenard said. “She touched a lot of students. She touched a lot of us. She impacted lots of lives for the positive. We needed to do something special for her within our school because she was such an important part of our family. And this was the perfect thing.”