Beard’s laid back attitude is STAR quality

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, May 18, 2010

NATCHEZ — Cathedral STAR Student Davis Beard said she didn’t really study for the ACT.

Beard said she took a two-day course the school offered on the ACT, but she didn’t buy any books or take time specifically to worry about the test.

“I felt like if you go there with an open mind and relax — that is how you do better,” Beard said.

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It worked. With a score of 30, Beard scored the highest on the ACT in her class while maintaining an A average.

“It is easier to do stuff when you are having fun,” Beard said. “I’m not saying I had fun on all of those tests, but if you find joy in what you do, it makes it so much easier.”

To be eligible as a STAR Student, Beard had to maintain an A average in courses, specifically English, social science, math and science.

“I was very honored when I was told I got it. Being the STAR Student has been a goal of mine throughout high school,” Beard said. “A bunch of people scored 29, so I was lucky to get that extra point.”

Thanks to taking AP honors classes, Beard’s final GPA came in at 4.35.

“I always wanted to make all As,” Beard said. “This year, to boost my GPA, I took honors classes instead of easier ones.”

Beard selected Ken Beesley, who taught her advanced math classes, to be her STAR Teacher.

“I felt like he always did his job better than he was expected to as a coach,” Beard said. “He not only taught me math, but to work hard in anything I do.

“I always kind of knew I wanted to pick him if I got STAR Student.”

Beesley, who has been at Cathedral since 1969, has handed the coaching reigns down to his son and only teaches. Beesley said he was honored Beard selected him.

“I was a little shocked,” Beesley said. “I was surprised, but glad — glad I had made an impression on her.”

Beard has what it takes to do well, said Beesley, who taught her AP calculus this year.

“She has a lot of natural ability, is dedicated and self-motivated,” he said. “She gets the most out of her potential because of her strong work ethic.”

Beard said her favorite memory of Beesley was the way he taught his classes.

“He always told us to not memorize,” Beard said. “‘Try to learn and reason things out because memorizing will get you nowhere,’ he would say.”

“He is not one of those people who will joke around — but I always felt like he did a good job.”

Beard and her sister, Madeline, also won the state title in Class 1A girls doubles tennis.

Beard has a full-ride scholarship to Louisiana State University, where she will major in biology.