Educator Profile




Edna was born in Hexham (Black River Bridge), Northumberland County, January 20, 1918, the daughter of Alexander and Elizabeth (Stothart) Macdougall and was later married to William F. Cameron (1912-1970). She was also the great, great granddaughter of the first school teacher in Black River, Hugh Macdougall. Her first four years of schooling were in the rural school of Little Branch, a mile and a half distant from her home. From Grade 5 she attended the Chatham Grammar School, graduating in June 1935 with a First Division Junior Matriculation. The following year, she graduated from the Provincial Normal School with a First Class, Superior License.

Her graduation from PNS coincided with the depression years when qualified teachers far exceeded the demand and the ability of school districts to pay teachers was often doubtful. However, she was fortunate to obtain her first teaching position in the not too distant community of Kouchibouguac, specifically the Patterson School, nestled between steep hills on a winding country road (now part of Kouchibouguac National Park). This was a small school of farm children, probably numbering no more than 15 or 16, but covering all the Grades 1 to 8. She was also fortunate in that her pay, $250 yearly, was always paid, if irregularly. In September 1938, she assumed the principalship of the two-roomed Boom Road Superior School (Northwest Miramichi). Though special arrangements, the usual Grades 1 to 10 enrolment was extended to include Grade 11. She therefore, had 8 to 10 students to prepare for Junior matriculation as well as a Grade 8 class prepare for High School Entrance Examinations. With upwards of 40 students, this was no easy task for a young 20-year old. The following year, she moved back to the adjoining district, Whitneyville, where she again taught Grades 1 t0 8. From there she went back to her home area to teach one term in the one-year old Miramichi Rural High School and then to Chatham Grammar School where she taught Grades 4 and 5 until her marriage in July, 1943.

In 1946, she resumed teaching, this time in Ferry Road, Grades 1 to 8 and the following year returned to the Chatham Grammar School. Here she taught the high school classes of History and Latin, first in the old Grammar School building, and then in the newer building erected on the same property. While in the latter building, she was appointed Vice-Principal, qualified for a Grammar School License, completed her first degree, regularly marked Provincial History Departmental Exams, and continued a lifetime involvement in church and community activities. When the reorganization of schools, curriculae and districts took place, she moved from her own classroom to the District Office as one of the two District 10 Supervisors, where she continued until her retirement in 1974. In 1970 she completed a B.Ed. at St. Thomas University.

Retirement from paid educational employment did not mean retirement from the field of education. For many years following retirement, she served on the local School Board, was one of three or four local teachers instrumental in organizing the first adult reading programmes and guiding a number of adults in acquiring reading skills which lead to employment advances and personal enjoyment in reading. She served many years as a member of the Provincial Library Board and was instrumental in the establishment of the Chatham Public Library. She was appointed to the first Advisory Board on the Status of Women, she also served on the Board of Directors for the Miramichi Senior Citizens Home and was an active member of the I.O.D.E. She was made a Freeman of the Town of Chatham. On a more practical level, she delivered meals for Meals On Wheels, canvassed in her home area for recognized charities, and went regularly to the two local senior homes to either help seniors in the dining room or simply to visit them. She was very active in the local Rebekah Lodge, Silver Link, but also served as President of the Rebekah Assembly for the Atlantic Provinces, visiting lodges from Victoria County, NB to Bonna Vista, Newfoundland over a three-year period. A life-long commitment to Calvin Presbyterian Church saw her active in all areas involving either children, teens or adults. She served as President of the Women's Missionary Society, Eastern Division, Atlantic Provinces.

Perhaps the first organization she organized was a Cub Pack in Black River in the late 1930's. The last was a Knitting Club for residents of Saint Anne's Court, Fredericton, during her late 80's.