Thank you, Mr. Carberry. As a child I was one of the smallest in the class. I had no physical strength or co-ordination … and was in envy of those who did! I wanted to play sports, to be a part of the team … but lacked the confidence and the skill.
I received A’s in every subject except gym. This killed me. I worked so hard, but in junior high I just wasn’t cut out for athletics. My heart was there, but my body and confidence were not. I shied away from try outs, and even gave up trying hard in gym class when I realized grades were given out to the skilled … until I went to Herdman Collegiate and met Mr. Fred Carberry.
The man was awesome! His excitement oozed out of him and I felt comfortable in a gym for the first time in a long time! The harder you tried, the more he praised! He was like a cheerleader on the side lines! He would laugh and shout, “Go Vanessa, you got this!” as I chased the much bigger and stronger girls around the gym.
I got more bruises on my body trying to impress him … like the first time I tried archery and never had my elbow right!! Ouch!! But my confidence was never bruised again. I believed I could do anything, because Mr. Carberry said I could. He graded on determination and participation, not skill. He understood we all developed at a different rate and he assessed us that way. I got my first A in gym in Grade 10 in his class, and it was the best grade I ever got in my life!
I went on to university to be a Primary/Elementary school teacher … and I did my concentration in Physical Education. I never played a sport in my life, I was never on a team … but I wanted to be a teacher like Mr. Carberry; I wanted to encourage the kids who thought they couldn’t play, or weren’t any good at anything. The kids who always have a sick note … I want to get those kids back in the game, confident and happy like Mr. Carberry did for me.
I’ve been teaching now for 15 years, and he is my inspiration. Everyday I think how he made me try, how he made feel that I could.
Thank you, Fred Carberry, from the skinny little shrimp,
Vanessa Garnier (nee Oake)