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Elaine Bedard
Excellence in Education

Elaine Bedard taught the power of words and the importance of kindness. The books, the grammar, the vocabulary units and the essays all mattered. But when students left Elaine's classroom, their appreciation for the power of words – their own and those of others – was finely tuned.

Soothing and powerful, Miss Bedard's own words shaped her engaging and influential lessons for 34 years as an English teacher at North Attleboro High School. She had a knack for conveying the idiosyncrasies in an author's language and transforming a student's intricate analysis into a "polished, proofed paper". And, embedded in these discussions, she routinely taught lessons of kindness and compassion.

After Miss Bedard's retirement in 2008, one former student reflected: "Miss Bedard's reading aloud is really our very favorite treat. As we begin to discuss…, we, impressed with our insight and powers of perception, think we’ve done it ourselves. Miss Bedard…always made us feel as though it was indeed we who had uncovered the deeper meaning...Miss Bedard not only made me feel smart, she made me feel special."

Miss Bedard, who graduated from NAHS in 1969, often described North Attleboro High School as "special" as well. After earning a Bachelor's in English from Wheaton College in 1973 and a Master's in English from University of New Hampshire a year later, Miss Bedard happily returned to NAHS to teach English in 1974.

Hired by Superintendent William Kelly, Princial Lou Kelley and Humanities Chair Victor Lister, Miss Bedard joined a core group of influential teachers – Mary Ellen Pelanchar, Charlie Ayotte, Rus Benson, Bob Hanold, Judy Cobb, Jim and Martha Frutchey, and Vinny Baldarsaro – who served as the school's teaching foundation for decades.

Miss Bedard primarily taught Sophomore Honors English, Creative Writing, Protest Literature and Critical Thinking and Writing. Defined by high expectations, her classes featured challenging writing and reading assignments, lively discussions, critical thinking, laughter and life lessons.

Miss Bedard's confident and smooth teaching style, which earned her Yearbook dedications in 1979 and 2008, transcended every new initiative in schools, surely because students and words were at the heart of her lessons.

Another former student recalled: "You always taught more than English; you taught us life lessons that we will carry with us forever. You instilled the importance of love, friendship, honesty, and trust within us, while demonizing things such as hate and violence. In a world rife with both of these, your positive life lessons could not be any more essential. You have changed the way I see the world, and I am sure, the way countless others do as well."

For Miss Bedard, hearing these reflections validated her dedication to her craft, the children of North Attleboro and North Attleboro High School itself. With her legacy secure and time to reflect, Miss Bedard says this about teaching: "I know the power of words; I know that the classroom must be a safe haven for each individual; I know the impact of honesty, respect and kindness in the classroom; I know the importance of laughter in education; and I know that I will always be proud to say that I am a teacher."

The North Attleboro High School community, especially Miss Bedard’s students who use the power of words daily and act with kindness, would like to simply say thank you for being our teacher.

Miss Bedard resides in North Attleboro and enjoys reading, crocheting and chatting with friends and family. She loves to ask questions to get people to talk and laugh.