Long-time teacher, coach bids farewell

By Rob Vogt
For years, if you wanted to find Bob Sharma, the best place to look was in the school gym, be it Willow Creek Composite High School or West Meadow Elementary School.
After 25 years in the Livingstone Range School Division, Sharma announced his retirement effective the end of this school year.
His teaching career began with a three-year stint in Hobbema then, in 1999, he accepted a position at Willow Creek Composite High School.
He stayed at the high school about 15 years, teaching mostly physical education, then moved on to West Meadow Elementary School for the rest of his time, teaching virtually every subject.
One of Sharma’s passions is sport and fitness.
He helped coach football in his first year in Claresholm, then at different times coached both the high school boys’ and girls’ basketball teams.
Another passion is the martial arts, so Sharma infused that in both schools he taught at.
He recalls that first year of boxing at the high school before it was modernized.
They had four or five students and custodian Dale Billyard hung up a punching bag in the weight room.
“We started out small,” he said.
And it is people like Billyard and teachers Reed Spencer and Norm Dand who Sharma will remember fondly, especially when he first came to town.
“So many people were helpful and kind,” he said.
Sharma stressed the community and the parents have been good, and he has always been grateful for that.
“This community has been so good,” he said. “It welcomed me with open arms.”
However, the most important part is the students.
“The kids have been incredible,” Sharma said.
So much so former students from the past 25 years have been contacting Sharma as the news spread of his pending retirement.
“Twenty-five years goes by so fast,” Sharma said.
Looking back, the highlight of his career has been the students.
“It’s always nice running into students and seeing what they’re up to,” he said. “They’re adults now.”
Sharma will now be moving to Red Deer to be closer to family.
“It’s been a really incredible journey,” he said of his time in Claresholm. “It’s cool to teach kids and teach their kids.
“Hopefully the kids learned something from me and I learned from them as well.”