For her outstanding contributions as an elementary teacher, Ferne is recognized on the Donors’ Wall of Fame by her daughter, Marica Koch and her son and daughter-in-law, James and Sandra Koch of Kansas City, Missouri.
She acquired her education from Marion County High School, credits from Southwest Missouri State College in Springfield, Missouri, and in 1952, received a Bachelor of Science in Education degree from Emporia State University.
Ferne taught five years as a young woman in a one-room school house before interrupting her career to marry and have two children. Upon her return to teaching during the early 1940s, she taught three more years in a one-room country school before moving to Neosho Rapids School. Ferne taught third and fourth grades there for twenty-five years until her retirement in 1972.
Mrs. Koch was enthusiastic about teaching and strived to bring out the best in each of her pupils. She believed reading was especially important because if you could not read, you could not succeed in school or in life. To support this theory, with the help of parents, she held fun reading programs during the summer months to keep students’ reading skills current. After her retirement, she continued to promote reading by working with pre-school children via the weekly story hour at the Hartford Public Library.
She was a life member of Kansas National Education Association and a member of Kappa Delta Pi, an honorary fraternity at Emporia State University. Ferne was also a member of Alpha Delta Kappa, a teaching sorority, and the Retired Teachers Association in Emporia.
Ferne believed that reading was especially important because if you couldn’t read, you could not succeed in school or in life.