A High School Teacher’s Legacy Remembered

bernard-cameron-almonte

Bernard Cameron, a second-term councillor in Mississippi Mills, Ont., was found dead in his home on Thursday morning. (Lois Siegel Production http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/ottawa/mississippi-mills-opp-investigation-1.3443618s)

Have you ever woken up in the morning, looked in the mirror and wondered “what is the point?” I had one of those days Friday. All I had to do was get through one meeting and then reading week was starting for me. If we are honest we all have those days. I made it through the meeting and then did some retail therapy and returned back home to Chatham. As normal I sat down and turned on the laptop and began checking out the newsfeed on Facebook and that was where I heard the news that my grade eleven English teacher, Bernard Cameron (65 years old) had been the victim of a murder suicide.

I was nineteen when I met Cameron, I was frustrated and bored in my general level English class and he was the head of the English department at CKSS. I had never met him before but I went to him and made my case for switching to advanced English. He heard me out, he challenged me, and then he told me “Fine, but you must maintain an 80% average in my class to stay at an advanced level.” That was the beginning of my passion for English, and a season of blossoming under the mentoring of a fantastic teacher.

One of my favorite memories of my semester with Cameron was his playful story about “Archie”. Archie was a playful, mischievous character that Cameron spoke of fondly, did I mention that Archie was a ghost? Anytime something went missing from its rightful place Cameron would scold this fictitious ghost friend named Archie. The absolute best story about Archie was the day he talked the janitor into letting him into Cameron’s office so he could play a harmless, mischievous prank on the poor guy. When Cameron opened his office door that day he was greeted by a mass of string, hanging toilet paper and a note. I never could figure out why Archie made the mess and I had to clean it up.

As I read the tributes that are pouring in for this precious man I am not surprised in the least to hear the love, admiration, and fondness that he is being remembered with. Words like funny, integrity, kind, gentle, and hero to name a few.

Cameron is survived by his wife, their four children, three of whom, including Sarah (who he died protecting), were adopted, and six grandchildren. He also leaves behind an incredible legacy of lives touched by his influence and example as a teacher, a city councillor and a friend.

In his death Cameron has reminded us that we influence and impact many lives, hopefully for the better. He has also reminded us that there are many good people who influence and inspire us. When you think of a person who has inspired you and challenged you to the best you can be take a moment and honour them with a “Thank-you”.

Thank you Mr. Cameron, for believing in me and helping me love laughter and Shakespeare!

About author
Barbara Hutchins

Barbara Hutchins

I am a First Year Digital Journalism Student, wife, Cancer Survivor-Thriver who defeated death and decided to learn how to live! Journalism and writing is my lifelong dream and I refuse to give up on it!

Comments
  • MJ(Mary) Whittaker#1

    March 2, 2016

    Hi

    My name is MJ and I am Bernard’s sister. I want to say thank you to the beautiful piece that you wrote. You captured the essence of who he was. Thank you again.

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