Even after a 50-year career in teaching, Archie McQueen continues to contribute to the development of young Hamiltonians.
Since retiring in 1998, Archie has been both a supply teacher and a volunteer, running before and after school programs at Benetto Elementary School in north Hamilton. He gives time to other schools as well and his extraordinary volunteering was recognized in 2012 with the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal.
Archie donates his supply teaching salary back to school needs through his fund at Hamilton Community Foundation.
“Small grants from the fund can have a big impact,” he says, noting its recent support to the school’s gymnasium scoreboard and IPads for students. But the fund is also flexible; he can choose other recipients if the moment is right, as it was one year for special needs at his church, St. Paul’s Presbyterian.
Archie’s fund is named for his mother, Grace Baird McQueen and his aunt Ella Baird – sisters who helped put him on the path to success as a young adult. His aunt Ella gave Archie part of a bequest she received from her employers that helped him seed the fund. Ella was in charge of nursing at Westinghouse and had a close relationship with the Myler family who ran the company.
“I wanted to honour my mother and my aunt,” Archie says, “and Hamilton Community Foundation came up as number one to help me do that.” He has been connected to HCF for some 30 years and says it’s a “marvelous organization” that is helping him “shed a little light on what might otherwise remain dark.”