Recalling the spirit of Clint

  • True Bermudian: Clinton Smith

    True Bermudian: Clinton Smith

  • True Bermudian: Clinton Smith

    True Bermudian: Clinton Smith

  • Glenn Fubler

    Glenn Fubler

I first met Clinton Smith in the early 1960s as a fellow student at Berkeley Institute, where his mother, Hyacinth Smith, served as school secretary.

His team-mates from that 1966 championship PHC Juniors football squad remember how Clint would be in a jokey mood irrespective of whether they won or lost a game.

Clint appreciated the perceived wisdom of “it’s not whether you win or lose, it’s how you play the game that counts”.

The 1960s were transformational, locally and globally. Bermudians struggled to break into a closed society. Resistance to progress precipitated turmoil.

Notwithstanding circumstances, Clint successfully completed secondary school with a sense of independence, benefiting from various mentors, including Berkeley’s inspirational, Welsh-born PE teacher Mike Antolin. Clint gained a teacher training scholarship to attend a leading teachers college in Britain.

British campuses experienced the turmoil of those times. Clint was expelled for alleged involvement in a fracas. He drew lessons from that loss.

Upon returning to Bermuda, Clint substituted at Harrington Sound Primary until that summer. There he met future wife Marianne Penner, a Canadian teacher. The couple embarked on a Plan B, which included Clint working multiple jobs, purchasing a fishing boat, travelling overseas and having a baby — Zack. Their ultimate goal was further education.

While manifesting independence, Clint was “his brother’s keeper”. He actively supported the Black Beret Cadre and the Pembroke branch of the Progressive Labour Party.

As a fisherman, Clint created a network of clients across Pembroke — “easing up” struggling families, while his openness gained him access into homes from back of town to Fairylands. Their social awareness led the couple to volunteer for a pilot project in which they served as house parents for six boys between the ages of 10 and 16 at the Observatory Cottage.

One initiative involved kayaking around the island. The boys and volunteers joined in learning from that adventure and raising much needed funds.

In September 1975, Clint and his family travelled to Dalhousie University, where he completed his Bachelor Degree in Education and accessed innovative approaches. Clint was elected president of Dalhousie’s student council, which his Bermudian student-friends had forgotten since Clint never was one to blow his own horn.

Upon returning, Clint taught at St George’s Secondary School as PE teacher. Randy Horton recruited him to Warwick Secondary, where Clint volunteered to establish a camp for new boys two weeks before school opened. This innovation proved to be transformative.

Clint joined the campaign to eliminate the expatriate vote in 1979. He actively supported the Bermuda Union of Teachers’ solidarity with the Bermuda Industrial Union’s government employees, precipitating the historic general strike of 1981. He subsequently served on the executive committee of the BUT.

By the late 1980s, Clint served as the Department of Education’s Physical Education and Health Officer. He championed a holistic educational philosophy, which was an experiential approach. A significant success involved him recruiting numerous North American college football coaches to attend the traditional East-West All-Star football games, boosting scholarship opportunities.

Clint provided a policy paper for the Department of Education, which proposed making full use of Bermuda’s marine environment in the educational process, focusing on middle-school years. Out of this came the Waterwise programme. His proposals also found synergy with those developing the Spirit of Bermuda project. In light of this, Clint was invited as one of the special guests sailing on Spirit’s maiden voyage to Bermuda.

Since 2001, Clint waged a long, hard-fought battle regarding his health. Having run his leg, Clint passed away on December 2, 2019, ironically the anniversary of 1977 crisis.

On taking on the baton from Clint, we might consider leveraging those lessons that Clint brought to the surface for the benefit of future generations.

Glenn Fubler represents Imagine Bermuda. The community is invited by his family — his mother, siblings: Ronald, Branwen Smith-King, Sonia Smith, Haley and Trevor — to donate to the Clint Smith Award for M3 Spirit of Bermuda school voyages. Donations can be made on behalf of Spirit of Bermuda, charity No 545, to HSBC account 011169240012 or by cheque made payable to Clint Smith Award Fund, PO Box 879, Hamilton HM DX

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Published Jan 6, 2020 at 8:00 am (Updated Jan 6, 2020 at 7:47 am)

Recalling the spirit of Clint

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