|Sir Frederick (fourth from left), along??with Minister of Education and Human Resource Development, Ronald Jones??(fifth from left) unveils the plaque??renaming The St. James Secondary School ??The Frederick Smith Secondary School. (C. Henry/BGIS)|
"An honour to treasure" is how Sir Frederick Smith has described the renaming of the St. James Secondary School after him.
Sir Frederick, in addressing the renaming ceremony at Trents, St. James today, offered students an explanation of why the school was being named in his honour.
He gave an account of his stewardship to Barbados and contribution to national development, and declared: "I am a Barbadian and a proud Barbadian… This is our country and we have got to recognise people who have made a contribution."
He continued: "I think this honour is one [which] I shall always treasure and I shall always be grateful to the Government and people of Barbados."
Telling students that someday they too might become distinguished, he said: "I want all of you not only to take advantage of the education which you have but to try to be the best that you can…God would not put you here on this earth without giving you a talent."????
Sir Frederick also told them that the Common Entrance Examination was not the only means of gauging their intelligence. He stressed: "If you as youngsters in this school work hard, the sky is the limit and there is nothing that you can’t achieve, if you want to."??
After recounting a life of poverty and determination to be educated, Sir Frederick told the students: "It is for you the pupils to say ???I am going to be like him; like Mr. Smith, come from poor, make good of myself, study hard and be something and contribute to my country.’ That is all I want you to do."
Students also heard about the myriad contributions to education made by Sir Frederick to Speech Day and Prize-giving ceremonies across the island, and he proposed a gift of "a scholarship or two" to the school which now bears his name.
Born on July 6, 1924, Sir Frederick was educated at Combermere School from 1934 to 1936, and Harrison College, from 1936 to 1944.?? His legal career began with studies at Grays Inn, London in 1949, that saw him a few years later establishing a private practice here in Barbados in 1952.
First elected to the Barbados House of Assembly in 1956, he was also one of the founding fathers of the Democratic Labour Party. He served as Attorney General of Barbados from 1966 to 1971. He also served as Minister of Communications and Works from 1971 to 1975; and Minister of Education and Sports, from 1975 to 1976.?? He was also Leader of the Opposition from 1976 to 1978.
Sir Frederick received a knighthood from Queen Elizabeth II, in November 1987, and was conferred with the honorary degree, Doctor of Laws in 2006, by Sir George Alleyne, Chancellor of the University of the West Indies.