Athletics • Professional Football
Attended KCSS: 1988/89 – 91/92
I was born in South Korea and immigrated to Canada when I was 5 years old. Just beginning to learn more about the world and myself, as any child would, emigrating to Canada added a whole different set of challenges, least of which included learning a new language and culture.
I soon became aware I was different from other kids in school and was treated as such, but I persevered, learning more about myself and my surroundings regardless of biases or taunts. Stereotypical of my parents’ generation, we owned a corner store; this added another layer of distinction from my classmates in Toronto. In the winter of 1988, we moved to Oak Ridges, and I began to attend King City Secondary School. Along with my brother, Hong-Yul, we were the only Asian students in the school.
Though conscious of my difference, I remember fondly that neither the teachers nor my classmates made me feel different. I had a lot of issues at home so going to school was a relief for me and a place of refuge. I played three sports during my high school experience: football, basketball, and baseball.
I remember Mr. Mallory, Mr. Honey, and Mr. Serjeantson for football. Mr. Gould and Mr. Johnston for basketball. And Mr. Gould for baseball. Beyond the enjoyment, playing sports allowed me to get out my frustrations – whether due to my home life or school stress.
I decided to attend the University of Toronto once I graduated from King City in 1992. I was fortunate to be a member of the Vanier Cup championship team in 1993. I was drafted into the Canadian Football League in 1996 by the Calgary Stampeders. In 1998, the football final was hosted in Winnipeg. I remain proud to be among Grey Cup Champions, while playing with the Stampeders.
Beyond the physical demands and concentration required by the game, football allowed me to see the rest of Canada. For an immigrant kid from South Korea, whose family never travelled, football opened a gateway, allowing me to learn more about myself and the country I called home.
My time at King City was full of fun and great experiences, but what stood out was the openness and the lack of judgement from teachers and fellow classmates, at least from my perspective. I know now that there were judgements and biases, but I never truly felt them. I felt accepted and a part of the school, even though I was that awkward kid with thick glasses who looked different, and who loved to deliver some comedy once in a while.
King City Secondary School allowed me to be me, to grow as a person. From my years at KCSS I took a firm feeling of not being judged – something I take with me as I continue this crazy thing, we call LIFE.
After my career in football, I worked in the film and television industry as a performer and stuntman. Presently, I have transitioned to helping the community of Toronto, as a police officer.
The Voice of King City Secondary School Alumni
Recognizing Outstanding KCSS Alumni