Bordentown Township honors resident for years of service to community


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In acknowledgment of more than 30 years of service, achievements and significant contributions within the community, the Bordentown Township Committee honored resident, Helen Elizabeth “Bettye” Roberts Campbell as an outstanding citizen and role model.

At a township committee meeting on Feb. 25, local Bordentown officials bestowed a proclamation upon Campbell, who was born in Philadelphia, Pa. on July 1, 1927, and resided in faculty housing of the campus of the Bordentown Manual Training and Industrial School, since both her father and husband were employed as teachers, and then moved to her present location in Bordentown Township in 1963.

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“Bordentown Township is my home, so I’ve noticed the progress that has been made,” Campbell said. “It has been my joy to serve as a volunteer.”

Campbell attended Fieldsboro Public School, William MacFarland High School, Spelman College and Trenton State College where she earned her graduate degree. She was employed as a typist clerk for Fort Dix and a teacher at Pemberton Township for thirty years, eventually retiring in June 1989.

Although she had retired from her teaching position, Campbell admitted that she still had an urge to help out local schools.

“After I retired, I wanted something else to do,” she said. “Since I had been a teacher, it was very easy to go ahead and volunteer in the school systems.”

Wanting to volunteer and help out local schools, Campbell found herself at the Gregory Elementary School in Trenton where she worked in the lower elementary grades, which included grades second, third and fourth as she assisted and helped teachers with individual students.

As Campbell noted that she wanted to work closer to home, she eventually began volunteering at both the Clara Barton School in Bordentown City and the Peter Muschal School in the township where she pointed out that the school staff entrusted her own teaching experience to have more freedom in engaging students.

“I was very impressed by the teachers because since I had been a teacher, they gave me free reign,” she said. “If I was doing a reading group, they’d just give me the book, an outline of what they expected from the teachers and just let me go back and teach.

“The children were very respectful, and I looked forward to working with them, and I think they looked forward to having me come in,” Campbell added.

Alongside her work in the schools, Campbell has received a multitude of awards and honors for her volunteer endeavors which include church recognitions, civic clubs, organizations and social clubs offering scholarships to college bound high school students.

Not only has Campbell been integral figure in multiple social organizations, she is an instrumental figure in organizing the township’s Black History Month programs as well, which they accredited her with finding six years ago.

By lending a hand to help curate events, programs and gatherings in accordance to help celebrate Black History Month in the township, Campbell said the program has not only grown with her oversight, but has been proud to watch local students become more involved with the program each year.

“Once I started [the program], I just kept on going,” she said. “It’s been a wonderful experience these past six years.”

Although the program started off by holding events and meetings in at the township’s senior citizen center, Campbell said she wanted to expand it into the schools, especially Bordentown Regional High School, to educate and encompass students.

“The main idea was to spread out [African American] history and have a special week, then a month, to go over this special history, which has been left out of the regular history books,” she said. “The high school administration was very helpful, and the principal decided it would be helpful if we brought it to the school.”

Once presentation events in accordance with the program were hosted at the high school, Campbell said the annual event at the school itself has developed from having keynote speakers into students becoming more involved and presenting as well.

“Each year, we try to do something a little different,” she said “Besides having a speaker [at events], we decided to have students look up information.”

As Campbell pointed out the she has watched the program grow with the inclusion of students, she said she believes that students can have multiple takeaways from it as well as the program’s role in furthering black history education in the schools.

“It shows that students are interested in learning about [black history],” she said. “As it spreads, their classmates can see what’s going on, and then they can realize how important black history is to our country. It’s just my way of trying to expand, a little bit, the history of our race and what contributions have been made.

“It’s a way of spreading knowledge, and the more knowledge you have, the more interesting life can be. It’s a way for the children to seek out other things and do more research on their own,” she added.

Outside of her volunteer work Campbell’s hobbies include reading, doing crosswords puzzles and watching old movies. In addition, she enjoys attending family graduations and reunions, high school and college reunions, and contacting homebound friends, relatives and especially senior citizens.

She has been an active member of the Shiloh Baptist Church of Trenton for 65 years, is a member of the Trustee Aides and the Scholarship Ministries at her church, and has been honored as a Legend of Shiloh, a Women’s Day Honoree, Scholarship Booklet Dedication and serves as a Sunday Office Volunteer.

Campbell is a former member of the Nutrens Club, National Association of University Women, and she worked to provide scholarships for high school students to attend college.

Campbell was married to Charles Whitfield Campbell Sr. for 43 years and together, they had four children; Linda Marie, Deborah Lynn, Charles Whitfield Campbell Jr., and Elizabeth Ann.

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