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.
And then, they were there, some looking a little excited, some too cool to show any emotion at all.
And then it was Game On! as students began to test their cutting skills.
Of course, their teacher was right beside them.
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.