• Philip Beard- Teacher, Role Model, & A Message Of Hope

    I know Comanche Ag teacher, Phillip Beard, must want to run every time he sees my name on his caller ID because he knows I want something from him and his students.  However, so far, he has never refused to take my call.

    Today, I slipped unnoticed into the Ag shop, knowing that students would begin cutting out buffalo metal art in just a few minutes. While I waited, I took the time to stop and really “take in” my surroundings.

    On one wall, hung gear, very neatly displayed.

    On one wall hung gear, very neatly displayed.

    On other walls were things that I did not recognize, all labeled and neatly displayed.

    On other walls were things that I did not recognize, all labeled and neatly displayed.

    And in the center of the room was the trailer that I had seen the boys welding just a few days earlier.

    And in the center of the room was the trailer that I had seen the boys welding just a few days earlier.

    And then, they were there, some looking a little excited, some too cool to show any emotion at all.

    The faces change from year to year, but I never tire of working with the students of CHS.

    The faces change from year to year, but I never tire of working with the students of CHS.

    Just deciding how to lift the 700 pound piece of steel was a problem.

    Just deciding how to lift the 700 pound piece of steel was a problem.

    And then, there he was...

    And then, there he was…

    ...Helping lift and handing out directions in that mile and hour style that I remember from my own classroom days.

    …Helping lift and handing out directions in that mile and hour style that I remember from my own classroom days.

    First, he had them make the cut lines a little more distinct.

    First, he had them make the cut lines a little more distinct.

    And then, Mr. B. demonstrated just how to cut Bully.

    And then, Mr. B. demonstrated just how to cut Bully.

    And then it was Game On! as students began to test their cutting skills.

    AG CUTTERS 1

    AG CUTTERS 2

    AG CUTTERS 3

    AG CUTTERS 4

    Of course, their teacher was right beside them.

    While one group was cutting the bull buffalo that I call Bully, other students were working with Tech coordinator, Melissa White, as they prepared to draw the cow buffalo, Buffy.

    While one group was cutting the bull buffalo that I call Bully, other students were working with Tech coordinator, Melissa White, as they prepared to draw the cow buffalo, Buffy.

    Tracing Buffy!

    Tracing Buffy!

    It's difficult to see, but Buffy is outlined, and these students will be cutting her out soon.

    It’s difficult to see, but Buffy is outlined, and these students will be cutting her out soon.

    After all of that, can you see why I decided that I needed to come back and sit down with Ag teacher, Phillip Beard, a veteran teacher of 23 years?  I suppose I wanted to know why he is in Comanche, why he does what he does.

    “I taught in far west Texas, and traveling the Lone Star State gets old. Everywhere we went was a 10-12 hour drive, and Houston was 14 hours. That gets really old. I love it here!  I love agriculture, and I still have a farm. Basically, I get paid to do my hobby. Kids are great here, and I just love what I do.

    “It’s funny that you asked all of this because we’ve been doing this very thing in class,” he told me.

    I assumed he meant he was having students do self-studies. However, I soon realized that the Ag teacher is back in school himself. Why? He’s working on his doctorate!

    “An Ag teacher with a doctorate,” I smiled. I don’t believe I’ve ever known one of those. So…why are you doing it,” I asked.

    “I have no idea. I just thought it would be a good thing,” Phillip Beard smiled, refusing to brag. I love farming; it’s what I do. Plus, I know that with the ever growing population, what we do now will not continue to work, and the bottom line is that I believe that people have a right to know the truth and the facts about what they eat.”

    But for now, Phillip Beard simply enjoys working with Comanche kids. He is teaching them responsibility, self-confidence, respect, and a love of community. And for me, Phillip Beard is truly a message of hope for those kids whom he is going “to save,” whether they ever understand just what he does for them or not.

    About Fredda Jones

    Fredda Davis Jones was raised “in the country” in Comanche County and learned very early that creativity and innovation are traits that can flourish even in small-town Texas and that with enough effort, indeed nothing is impossible, including being married to the same man for over 40 years! Rickey and Fredda have 2 children, 5 grandchildren, and a crazy life that includes sitting in the bleachers several times a week. The rest of her time is spent creating great content for texansunited.com and marketing small-town Texas.
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