Luck of the Draw


Mr. Charles C. Snaith hit pay dirt when he saw an advert in the Jamaica “Gleaner” for a position in Bermuda that would be of interest to him as a teacher. His original plans were to go to Africa to teach. He was trained at the Mico Teacher’s College which was founded in 1835 through the Lady Mico Charity. It is now the Mico University College. At age 24 he was selected as Principle of Guy’s Hill Methodist School, there he remained for five years. He was described as a brilliant teacher. He had a student enrollment of 400 students. He was a highly qualified teacher who had all the credentials to be able to get any teaching position. He was able to obtain the position in Bermuda, after an offer that was made to him was rectified. He sailed from Jamaica in 1929.

In March of 1929 the ship Oropisa arrived in Bermuda and he was met in Hamilton City by Henry Dowling who transported him to his new home on Queen Street, in St. George’s. He attended St. Peter’s church but taught Sunday School at the Ebenezer Methodist Church.

Mr. Snaith’s first observation of Bermuda was it’s racial segregation an Island where teachers struggled under difficult conditions. Never-the-less he set to the task at hand and taught every subject, reading, geography, history, religious knowledge. He even offer knowledge of sports to his students. In St. George’s he obtained permission from the British to use their dilapidated Tennis Court. He himself being an avid tennis player he wanted the children to learn the game. The game became a popular sport with the children. Mr. Snaith enjoyed it so much that he would take some Saturdays to ride to the Unity Patio Tennis Court in Happy Valley, Pembroke. He believed every student should be encouraged to attain higher education, so he gave extra lessons at the end of the regular school day in higher Mathematics and English.

He believe firmly in discipline and in 1930, he was taken to court by the parents of a student to whom he had administered Corporal punishment because their son had rubbed pepper into the eye of another student. He became increasingly concerned about parental relationships, and the lack of parental involvement and understanding of their children’s education.

Mr. Snaith was an avid reader and in so doing remembered reading of a new concept being implemented in America called the “Parent Teachers Association”. It had been founded in 1897 and was becoming a powerful voice in working towards bettering the lives of every child in education, health, and safety. After discussing this with the group who petitioned for him to come to Bermuda, they agreed to give the experiment a try and this led to the formation of Bermuda’s first P.T.A.

He was a visionary and very often organized exhibitions of the children’s work in an effort to get their parents to participate in their children’s education. He organized plays and operettas to which he invited parents and discussed the idea of a P.T.A. There was a positive reaction to the concept and the idea spread throughout the Island. The East End School has the oldest P.T.A and the West End School has the oldest continuous P.T.A this came into fruition when Mr. Snaith was transfered to the West End School in Somerset in 1934. The East End School’s Association did not resume immediately after his departure.

In 1945, he was sent to Toronto, Canada on a six week course to focus on the particular concerns he voiced to the Department of Education. He retired in 1962 after teaching in the Bermuda School System for 33 years. The enrollment then in the West End School was 557 students. He continued to serve on the Board of Education and also taught inmates at Casemate Prison shortly after his retirement.

Service to organizations: He was President of the Guild of St. James Church, a member of the Church Vestry and Superintendent of the Sunday School before it’s amalgamation. He was Church Warden, and overseer of the poor. He worked in the stores Department of Public Works. In 1975 the Bermuda Union of Teachers honoured him as the oldest living Past President. Mr. Charles C Snaith died in 1977 after a visit to Jamaica, the Island of his birth.

Note by Web-Master:

This was noted as additional important information like most of what I have taken the opportunity to record, that all teachers, students and researchers of history should be made aware. Lest the contributions of our ancestors goes to the great beyond with them. web-master researcher/historian Joy Wilson Tucker.

CR. to Mrs. Cecille Snaith Simmons.