Beverley – the golden girl
BEVERLEY WALTERS, who describes herself as a 55-plus golden girl, wears many hats.
She has been an English teacher for all her working life, and in recent times she has been a national athlete representing Barbados at senior meets around the world.
Walters, who has taught for almost 36 years, started at Combermere School and now teaches sixth form students at Christ Church Foundation School, said of her career as an English teacher: “It has been like a chequered career; chequered in the sense that it has been a very interesting career, and like any other it has had its up and downs.
“My first years as a young teacher were full of enthusiasm and energy. I’ve had some peaks in my early years, as well as I have had some troughs where I get tired when the interest of the children is not there like in previous years and then I despair. And then another peak would arise where I have a crop who show more interest than others, but I always encourage myself,” she said.
She has had many moments throughout her career that stand out, but one shines above all the others. “About three years ago I was passing through Swan Street in Bridgetown and I heard someone call out my name. When I turned around I saw one of my past students who introduced me to his brother and said to him, ‘This is the teacher who encouraged me to become a doctor’, and I felt so proud.
“I taught him at Combermere and always encouraged him to stay faithful to his schoolwork. I ran a Red Cross link at the school; he was the only male at the time. I saw something in him and introduced him to Ben Carson’s book Think Big: Gifted Hands. After reading the book he said, ‘Ma’am I want to become a neurosurgeon’, and he did. Knowing I made such an impact in someone else’s life, I felt good about that,” she said, beaming proudly.
The devout Christian, who worships at New Dimensions Ministries, said she likes to see children trying to achieve their full potential.
“I taught a boy who was plagued by muscular dystrophy at Combermere and he was the cricket manager. Kregg Nurse was his name. And although he was confined to a wheelchair, he was a tower of strength from where he sat, ensuring the team was well prepared and everything was in order for each match to be played. So when a student tells me they can’t, I tell them they can.”
Walters, a wife and mother of two, has also shone in the National Senior Games. “In my early years of participating in the Senior Games, I took part just for the fun of it. I am a lover of the outdoors and being physical and active,” she explained.
After participating in the local games about six or seven years ago, she was flipping through a booklet and saw that she had set a new record in the 100-metre dash. Since then, she has broken the record many times by setting new records.
“My friend Dennis Thornhill, who is now my coach, encouraged me. He said, ‘Beverley, you have so much potential you should take this thing seriously’. After that I started to train and always came in second to Jennifer Swanson-Jones – mind you, this was without intense training. So I buckled down and I surpassed who I thought was kind of my nemesis. And here I am.
“After that I have managed to win three gold medals in Utah, I have been to Florida to compete, I have won gold at the local senior games. Last year I participated in the Senior Games in Minnesota, which is seen like the Senior Olympics. I did quite well in those events and earned all silver medals. My times were really good and even better than the times in Utah, although I won gold at that meet. It was a defining moment for me,” she said.
She describes her family support as being wonderful. “My husband is always very supportive. He comes to the meet whenever work permits. My two children are also very supportive, and although they can’t always be at the meet, because of work and school commitments, they always ask how the events went at the end of the day.”
Before she parted ways with the EASY magazine, she offered these words of advice to anyone pursuing their dreams. “Chase after your dreams. There is nothing wrong with that. We must find what our purpose is and fulfil that purpose. We must always have a goal in life. Try to be the best you can be in whatever niche God has placed you in, and the rest will fall into place,” she concluded.