Education column: Good parenting makes for successful children

What happens after our students graduate from high school? While impossible to follow every student into the future, it’s sometimes possible to catch a glimpse. Having an opportunity around the holidays to interview former Clovis students, my faith in our youth was delightfully restored.

Kanisha, Natasha, and Ray Beachum Jr. agreed to be my interviewees. All three are students at University of New Mexico, on full scholarships due, in great part, to their own efforts. During two different years, both sisters won the coveted Bachelor of Arts/Medical Degree scholarship, so far, the only sibling pair to have achieved this. Younger brother, Ray, is aiming for the UNM architectural program, choosing academics over football.

When asked about their level of academic preparedness upon entering college, responses included: “College algebra was easy after CHS AP classes; was able to go right to advanced maths.”

Special kudos were given to Sandra House and coach Mike Hankins at CHS (math); also, coach Eric Roanhaus; and Jim Peabody (industrial technology).

Responses to “What’s the most important factor contributing to student success?” included: “Parents; teachers who really cared and pushed us; parents who told us we could do anything, and they’d provide the tools.”

Asked, “What’s your advice to current CMS students?” replies were: “Use all your resources; ask for help, get tutoring; learn how to study, take notes; take as many different classes at CHS while you have the chance.”

Where did this wisdom come from? These three are the children of Raymond and Karen Beachum, both part of our school family. Raymond Beachum is one of our Title I family specialists, and Karen Beachum teaches math at the CHS Freshman campus.

Raymond Beachum, also a product of the Clovis schools, “started at Lincoln-Jackson and Bella Vista Elementary; then Gattis; then CHS.”

“Growing up,” said Beachum, “values were clear: Always tell the truth, your word is your bond, always do what you say you’re going to do. That’s how we raised our kids.

“Our kids also went to Bella Vista and one, to Cameo Elementary. We always had high expectations for our kids. When told to do something, once is all it should take; there’re consequences if you don’t do what you’re supposed to.

“We made sure all three kids were involved in things — sports, honor society and community service. When they got to high school, all three worked at McDonald’s, too. It was important for them to learn to work hard,” he said.

“One of my daughters came home one day amazed that one of her coworkers — somewhat older — made only a little more than she did, but had to support their whole family.”

Over the last few years, the Beachum kids watched as both parents’ education continued with their master’s degrees.

Raymond Beachum continued: “Parents are the first and last teacher; be parents to your kids, not friends. You can still be close … just be parents. Also, teach your kids good moral values and don’t leave it all to the schools. There’s plenty of help out there.”

Math focus? Here’s an equation for you: Effective parenting plus effective educating equals successful students, which equals exponentially limitless possibilities.