Dr. Sharman Beasley Vesecky has three passions.
“Number one, my faith. Number two, people. And number three, education,” said the Highland Park native. “And education means to lead forth out of darkness.”
Vesecky has led students “out of darkness” for 43 years, including 39 of those at El Centro College in the paralegal studies program.
Originally a graduate of the University of Texas, Vesecky studied at the Sorbonne, received her master’s in liberal arts and political science from SMU, and earned her doctorate from Nova Southeastern University.
Vesecky began her teaching career at El Centro in 1975 as an adjunct professor. She also juggled a daytime career as a legal assistant for American Petrofina. In 1976, she became a full-time faculty member at El Centro and only four years later created the Paralegal Co-Op program. Vesecky placed students into internships and jobs at Frito-Lay, Exxon, Zale, and Perot Systems, among others.
“One of the fun experiences was when I taught political science, the Republican Convention was in Dallas, so I just walked my students down to the convention center,” she said.
Vesecky’s family history in the Park Cities extends back almost a century. Her family moved from Texarkana in 1921. Her father, William H. Beasley Jr., attended Armstrong Elementary School and graduated from Highland Park High School in 1929. Her mother, Doris Ann Beasley, was instrumental in starting the kindergarten program at Hyer Elementary School in 1970.
The Beasley family migrated to Dallas to merge the Beasley Piano Company, with locally-based Whittle Music Company. Vesecky started selling sheet music and records in the family store as a teenager in 1960. The Beasleys sold their company in 1985.
“My grandfather called [the store] a temple of music,” Vesecky said. Today, All Saints Episcopal School owns the land and worships there. “My grandfather would be very pleased.”
In December, when Vesecky retired from her full-time job at El Centro, dozens of former students came to her retirement ceremony or sent cards bearing messages that shared her importance in their lives and futures.
Vesecky will return to El Centro as an adjunct government professor for the May term, summer courses, and will still teach one or two courses in the fall.
“[El Centro] has enriched every fiber in my being,” she said. “I have, I think, about nine more years to share and to give and help young people reach their potential. I want to share it as long as I’m healthy and able to do it.”