Born in Trois-Rivières, Quebec, on June 10, 1865, Samuel McCallum Genest was originally a land surveyor for the Pacific Pontiac Junction Railway, then a public servant with the Department of the Interior in Ottawa from 1883 to 1930. Elected to the Ottawa Separate School Board in 1909, he served as its chairman from 1913 to 1930. President of the acfeo in 1919 and again in 1932-1933, Samuel Genest organized the resistance to Regulation 17 in Ottawa. Despite a government prohibition, he continued to pay the salaries of teachers who had not signed their acceptance of Regulation 17. This brought him before the courts, where his eloquence launched a sympathy movement for the Franco-Ontarian cause. He died in Ottawa on June 25, 1937. An Ottawa Catholic high school has been named in his honour.