Lynn Smith is excited and apprehensive about starting a new phase in his life as a retired educator. Mr. Smith has arrived at Buffalo Island Central High School at 7:30 a.m. for 45 years.
In addition to high school, Mr. Smith taught for 27 years for ANC teaching English Comp I and II and World History.
Mr. Smith came to Monette as a young teacher and had plans to stay one year and then move to the mountains.
He graduated from Vilonia High School and went to college at the University of Central Arkansas. He was doing his practice teaching in Harrison when he received a call from Foy Evans, superintendent of Monette.
"Mr. Evans was superintendent at Vilonia when I was there," Smith said. "It was 1966 and he called me and asked me if I would come to Monette to teach and he would pay me $4,400. I said sure, where is Monette. I packed up my Volkswagen and moved to Monette. I rented a room from a widow lady named Mrs. Yates on Main Street until I bought a house."
He praised his mentor, Principal Edna Freeman.
"She guided me well," he said. "She was a wonderful educator. When anything was going on at school, she expected us to be there. Our lives revolved around the school activities.
Mr. Smith met his future bride, the former Linda Grisham. They married in 1969 and the rest is history. She, too, is a retired school teacher in the BIC District. They have one daughter, Tara, a pharmacist at St. Bernards who spends her spare time doing missionary trips around the world. She serves as camp director at Mt. Zion.
Smith has seen a lot of changes in his 45 year career but nothing compares to the change in technology. Smith wrote a grant for the first computers in the school and they received 10 Commodore 64 computers.
"We couldn't afford the floppy drives so we used the tape drives to store our material," he said. "In conjunction with the first computers we started the first GT group. Those first computers were a lot of fun for all of us."
Smith reached a milestone this year as he has his first third generation student.
"I am the last of the original teachers I started with to retire," he said.
Many of his former students are now BIC teachers in the high school and elementary schools. "I am leaving with no regrets," he said. "The years have passed fast. This will be the first time since I was 12 years old that I have not had a summer job."
He will not be bored as he enjoys golf, fishing, traveling, and reading. He is also a member of the Arkansas Northeastern Community Choir. They do four concerts a year.
He is looking forward to new adventures. If there is a boat leaving, more than likely he and Linda will be on it. They both enjoy cruises.
"I have had a wonderful life here at BIC and I am leaving with good memories," Smith said.