- The following tribute was published on Facebook by Bermudian Darren ‘Butch’ Burchall, a well known local sportsman, former sports broadcaster and an international educator, who is currently based in Exeter, England…
We arrived at Warwick Sec the same year but in different roles.
You took a troubled, emotionally disturbed adolescent and, during 40 years of mentoring and guidance, turned him into a global educator who has changed the lives of children on five continents.
When, as president of the school’s Student Council, I led my fellow students to sit out of lessons for a day and a half because of teachers’ wildcat industrial action, you did not expel me like the United Bermuda Party-governed Ministry of Education wanted you to. You put your career on the line and guided me; even allowed me to miss school to go to Parliament and deliver a petition from students. One of the reasons they never gave you a headship.
When several of my classmates were disrupting maths, you took them out of their lessons, gave them to me, with Anthony Webb’s help, and taught us to teach them — they all passed their BSSCs.
Instead of permanently excluding me like all the teachers — and some students — wanted because a fellow student required hospital treatment after a fight, your tough love was to suspend me and make it mandatory that I went to meet George Rock at the national youth team cricket training. You were so proud when I made the team for the 1983 International Youth Tournament in the Netherlands. That is when you told me: “Butch, you can do anything you want if you put your mind to it.”
I broke into Boulevard’s first team in my fifth year of high school. You stopped following your team to come and watch me play, so that you could coach me on Monday at school. During that time, I turned Rasta and started to grow dreads in school. Many scorned me, but not you. You said to me: “Butch, if you want to be a Rasta, be an educated Rasta” which incidentally was the same thing my father told me.
You bought me a book to study for my SATs and, along with Maxine Esdaille, pulled strings to get me into a US college. You even came to visit me at college in Florida a couple times.
When I returned to Bermuda and opened my owned business, you supported me. During my broadcasting career at ZBM, you gave me tips that helped me improve.
I moved to England to do my teacher training and you wrote the references that got me into the programme and my first teaching appointment. When I had issues with my pedagogy, you were always a phone call away.
You have constantly been there for me. From the age of 12, you have taught me and it did not stop when I left Warwick Secondary. Because of your example, I have become the same type of teacher. My heart is heavy but the memories will make your promotion to glory bearable.
Thank you, Earl ‘Gabby’ Hart; you will always be in my heart! VVV 4 Life!
- Feature Photos: Facebook