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Remembering the late Anita Doherty

A legendary educator, sports icon and community activist

By MIA WHYLLY

The Bahamas has lost an iconic educator, sports legend and community leader in Anita Louise Doherty.

The former principal of Freeport Anglican High School (FAHS), now Bishop Michael Eldon School (BMES), and National Sports Hall of Fame Honoree, died at the age of 73 on March 28 at Rand Memorial Hospital, Grand Bahama.

Doherty was born in Nassau, relocating to West End, Grand Bahama at the age of five. She received her primary education at West End All Age School, and began her secondary education, in 1960, at Hampton’s Girls’ School in Jamaica. Doherty attended Ulster College of Physical Education in Northern Ireland in 1967.

Doherty’s 41 years in education started in 1970 at Hawksbill All Age School in Grand Bahama, before she transferred to D.W. Davis High School in New Providence, where she taught for four years.

In 1979, as a physical education teacher, Doherty moved back home to start her tenure at FAHS, until she retired as principal in 2017.

Doherty was inducted into the Grand Bahama Sports Hall of Fame in 2005 and the National Sports Hall of Fame in 2011.

Although best known for competing in the pentathlon at the 1970 Commonwealth Games in Edinburgh, Scotland, Doherty was an all around athlete, who participated in several team sports at the top level — including tennis, field hockey, netball and softball.

As president of the Bahamas Netball Association, secretary of the Grand Bahama Softball Association, treasurer of Inter-Scholastic Sports, an organizer of the 1977 CARIFTA Games, president of Grand Bahama Tennis and Squash Club, president of the Grand Bahama Athletic Association and vice president of the Bahamas Association of Athletic Associations, Doherty contributed to numerous sporting groups.

She not only contributed significantly to the education system and the sporting world, she gave immeasurable contributions to civic and community groups. Doherty was director of the YMCA, secretary of the Coed Pilot International Club, and served as chief councilor for the City of Freeport from 2005 to 2008.

Doherty was also recognized by the government at a 25th Silver Anniversary Banquet in July 1998. In 1998, she was recognized by the Zonta Club of Nassau as one of their Women “Living Legends”, and was subsequently honored by the Kamalamee Organization in 2014.

After Doherty’s death, tributes poured in from government officials, colleagues, former students, sporting associations, fellow athletes, and civic groups from around the world.

“As a proud warrior and Freeport Anglican High School alumna, I have beautiful memories of my former PE teacher and educator,” said Ginger Moxey, minister for Grand Bahama.

“I was fortunate to witness her passion for young people firsthand. Mrs. Doherty left an inedible mark on Grand Bahama, and she will be missed.”

Michael Pintard, Marco City MP and leader of the opposition, also paid tribute, noting in a statement she had a love for education and an affection for sports, whether as a coach, player or enthusiast.

“The sports community loved Mrs. Anita Doherty and benefitted from her dedicated service on a national level,” Pintard said.

David Wallace, who worked closely with Doherty in his position as president of the FAHS/BMES Alumni Association, noted that in addition to her athletic prowess and many civic contributions, she was the first woman in Grand Bahama to become city councilor.

Wallace also confirmed that the alumni association will stage a Memorial Service at BMES on Thursday and assured the public that seating and a screen will be made available for those wishing to pay their respects.

Doherty was predeceased by two sons Sean and Kerry Doherty.

She leaves behind her husband, John Doherty; a son, John Jr.; his wife, Tara; two grandchildren, Sean and Hadyn; and a host of other relatives.

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