Edmonton Eskimos player David Beard, a Sherwood Park native, credits his high school social studies teacher Karen Holt for modelling success both in and out of school. A rookie in the Canadian Football League this season, Beard is also completing his kinesiology degree.
Several teachers were important to Edmonton Eskimos player David Beard through his formative years, but it was his grade 11 and 12 social studies teacher Karen Holt who was the greatest influence, through her passion for teaching and her approach to maintaining a healthy work-life balance.
Beard remembers the way Holt talked to her students about history and was able to foster an interest in the material they were learning.
"She was passionate about what she taught," he said.
A graduate of Bev Facey High School in Sherwood Park, Beard played for the University of Alberta Golden Bears before the Eskimos selected him in the second round of this year’s draft. The offensive lineman is now adjusting to life as a professional athlete while completing his kinesiology degree.
Beard explains that Holt was able to help him develop his study skills and the ability to tap into his memory by recalling what he had learned for exams and assignments.
"A lot of my study skills flourished when I was in that class, which has helped me as I have continued my studies and into university," he explains.
Beard also gave skiing lessons to Holt’s two children, creating lasting memories of her role as a parent. This experience influenced Beard because he was able to see Holt excel at two challenging roles.
"She seemed to do an exceptional job, being a skilled teacher and also caring for her family. She showed dedication to both areas of her life," he says.
"Separation of career and family life and doing the best you can for both
areas of your life is important. She provided a very good example for me and my classmates."
Holt’s example motivates Beard now as he begins his career as a professional athlete. He’s passionate about his football career and has nine classes left in his degree, which he says he’s committed to finishing.
"As a football player you have challenges, like any other career, but the way she excelled is the way I want to excel," he says.
As a former student who played sports throughout high school, he advises students to cherish their time in school.
"It is something you need to prioritize not because people tell you to, but because it is going to make your life better," he says.
"It may be challenging in the moment, but it is something that creates opportunity you can’t even imagine at the time. School is the building block of who you will become."