(Eleuthera, Bahamas) – A legendary Educator, Mrs. Emma E. Cooper who dedicated 50 years of her 90 years of life to teaching, has passed. She died in New Providence at the home of one of her children on Saturday August 31st, 2013. The Palmetto Point Primary School was renamed in her honour in 1985. Mrs. Cooper’s teaching career began in 1943 and continued on until 1993. Although teaching in Rock Sound, Tarpum Bay, Savannah Sound and a short time in Governor’s Harbour she spent most of her teaching career in the settlement of Palmetto Point. Mrs. Cooper touched the lives of many people and indeed with her accomplishments she is a woman whose memory will live on forever.
PROFILE OF MRS COOPER by Bahamas National Archives
Emma Evelyn Carey Cooper was born on January 23, 1923 at Tarpum Bay, Eleuthera. Her parents were James Wakefield Carey, a farmer and Emma Delphine Knowles Carey, a housewife. During the time that Mr. Timothy Gibson was head teacher at Tarpum Bay, she wrote the entrance examination for the Government High School which she passed. She attended the Government High School from January 1938 until December 1941.
Her teaching career began in January 1943 in New Providence. During that time she taught at Quarry Mission, Western Junior and Western Senior Schools. In January 1944 she moved back to Eleuthera, at which time she began teaching at the Rock Sound All Age School in Rock Sound, Eleuthera. Four years later, January 1948, she moved to the James Cistern All Age School, James Cistern, Eleuthera. At that school she found only a few sticks of chalk and on one or two books. The doors of the head teacher’s cottage had to be fastened with string. In september 1949, she moved back home to Tarpum Bay where she spent just one year.
In September 1950, she was on the move again. This time to Savannah Sound, Eleuthera. She was head teacher there until October 1953.
In early 1953 she married Addison M. Cooper of Palmetto Point, Eleuthera. To that union was born three children, one son and two daughters. As a result of her marriage she moved to Palmetto Point and began teaching there in April 1954.
She has taught there since that time except for a three month stay at the Governor’s Harbour All Age School. During this time, Easter Term 1963, she acted as head teacher On may occasions since that time she acted as head teacher at the Palmetto Point All Age School. In 1975 she was appointed head teacher of the school. She held this post until 1979. Since then she has officially retired although she still teaches grades one and two.
In 1978 she was honoured by the Primary Principals’ Association. On New Year’s Day 1984, Mrs. Cooper was awarded a British Empire Medal for Long Service in the field of Education.
Nineteen eighty-five (1985) brought for Mrs. Cooper something that had only been a dream. The Palmetto Point All Age School was renamed in her honour. It is now known as the Emma E. Cooper All Age School.
Feb 2011 photo taken at a day of appreciation held in her honour at the school bearing her name.