Lauretta McCall Holdridge Bursary

Lauretta McCall Holdridge (1912– 1990)

With an adventurous spirit and a passion to teach, Lauretta McCall helped spread education throughout British Columbia. After receiving her college degree from Craigdarroch Castle, she became one of the first to obtain a teaching credential from the Provincial Normal School. She then began a distinguished career as a teacher at the age of nineteen. In 1931, Lauretta accepted her first teaching job in the tiny community of Bednesti, which is about forty kilometers from Prince George. Lauretta lived in a one-room cabin, walked four miles to school, and helped children de-thaw their frozen lunches in the winter months. Having butter with meals was a luxury, and traveling to nearby dances on a horse was ordinary. Indeed, Lauretta was a strong woman; her willingness to teach in the north, as well as other honourable actions, even earned her a spot in the distinguishing book, “Women of BC.”

When Lauretta returned to Victoria two years later, she began a long list of elementary teaching positions at Victoria Girls’ Central, Victoria West, George Jay, View Royal, Cedar Hill and Braefoot Elementary. She even became principal at both Cedar Hill and Braefoot, which was a huge step for women in Victoria at the time. Lauretta also published a teaching guide for gifted children, worked with dyslexic children, and taught student teachers at UVic. Her love of teaching was matched only by her faith and generosity: she was an active member in the United Church, and she also offered her services to many community organizations.

Lauretta is survived by her husband, daughters, and four grandchildren. Yet her legacy also continues through the Lauretta McCall Holdridge Scholarship, an award offered to students pursuing teaching and who have the same compassion, motivation, and generosity as Lauretta did.

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