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Charles A. Bernard, Jr. – Elementary Teacher’s Certificate, 1938

Charles A. Bernard, Jr.

1938 Elementary Teacher’s Certificate

            After earning my teacher’s certificate, I continued the pursuit of a Bachelors Degree which I earned in 1946 in Elementary Education and Industrial Arts.  Industrial Arts was a new department at this time, and I was the first student to graduate from S.L.I. with enough credits to teach industrial arts in Louisiana schools.

I was at S.L.I. – U.S.L. as a student or teacher during the administration of all five university presidents. As a student, I attended S.L.I. in 1936 -39 during the Edwin Stephens and Lether Frazier years. I taught during the Joel Fletcher, Clyde Rougeou, and Ray Authement years from 1949 – 75.

I was a commuter student by bus from St. Martinville. There were so few cars on campus that the bus parked on the Martin Hall circle during the noon hour for student pick-up to go downtown to Heyman’s sandwich shop.

As a member of Mrs. Girard’s vocal group, we performed in musicals in Cypress Garden, now Cypress Lake.

I worked as a student aid in Dr. Tinsley’s office for 35 cents an hour where I operated the duplicating machine for all departments in Martin Hall. We also duplicated tests for  professors.

My first teaching position was in Stephensville, located in the lower 6th ward of  St. Martin Parish. In a one-room school, I taught 53 children, grades one through seven. The village was in reality, an island situated on Bayou Long, nine miles from Morgan City.

Most of the children walked to school on a path along the bayou; however, during the flooding season, everyone came to school by boat. Because the school yard was narrow between the swamp and the bayou, almost all physical education equipment, such as baseballs, volleyballs, and bats, were rubber coated.

When the Spring of 1939 brought flood waters, the school ground flooded. Isolated from anyone in the teaching profession, I had to modify school activities and use ingenuity.   I, therefore, allowed the older children to crayfish during the recess periods. Using frogs which were easily caught, the children attached the frog parts to floating sticks and caught crayfish which they took home.

I continued my education by attending S.L.I. during the summers. I later earned a Masters Degree and furthered my education at Rochester Institute of Technology, University of Colorado and Michigan State University.

I retired in 1975 as Director of the Audio-Visual Department, but returned to U.S.L. as a consultant until 1977 when a replacement was found.  I have since enrolled in classes at U.S.L. in gardening, calligraphy, and physical education.

My wife and I have traveled much since my retirement. Because we own vacation time with an international exchange organization, we have visited Portugal, Spain, France, Germany, England, Scotland, Ireland, Hawaii, Austria, and Greece. We have also traveled extensively in the states and lately as members of Elderhostel.

Calligraphy, wood crafts, and stained glass are hobbies that keep me busy. Also, my poetry and short story writing have afforded me many hours of pleasure.

In 1949, when I became a faculty member at S.L.I.   I was excited to buy season football tickets for me and my wife, Nell. As well as I can remember, basketball tickets were given to us when we bought football tickets.  My wife and I have been season ticket holders ever since. We discontinued the purchase of football tickets recently because we considered ourselves too old to brave inclement weather.  However, we will continue to be basketball ticket holders as long as we are able to attend the games. (from 1949 thru 1999)