Attended KCSS • 1980–1985
My years at KCCS accomplished two things; they provided a solid foundation for future academic pursuits, and they provided clear evidence that individuals hit their stride as learners at very different points in time. I was quite simply an average student, in pretty much every way; just able to squeak by with an 80.0 average, and capable of earning extra credit in ‘gym’, by working the sidelines at football games and sweeping the floor at the Court of Kings basketball tournament. This sterling level of commitment and ability carried over to my undergraduate studies in sciences at the University of Toronto, where for 3 additional years, I managed the same steady, but unspectacular level of achievement.
Then something kind of clicked in my head. I discovered that I really loved biochemistry and physiology and that when I applied myself, I was really good at it. This realization, and the success that came with it, was the motivation I needed to proceed on to graduate school and the eventual completion of a Ph. D. Alongside academic success, came the confidence to try new things in other parts of my life. I started running, bought a bike, learned how to swim and eventually found myself competing in Ironman distance triathlons — a far cry from the days of getting picked last for flag football teams. My combined interest in the medical sciences and sport then lead me into the career I now enjoy – academic medicine, with a focus on teaching and mentorship.
The nomination for the Case of Distinction has given me reason to reflect on my journey from fairly non-descript high school student to physician, university professor, and triathlete. What King provided was a solid foundation on which to build. My science teachers — Mr. Hill, Mr. Carson and Dr. Smereka — never got to see my best work (it came much later!), but they nurtured my love of science and they prepared me exceptionally well for what was to come. Mr. Serjeantson and Mr. Chvalevich probably would have picked me as the last kid to EVER race a triathlon, but that didn’t stop them from encouraging me to try my best and to strive to be better.
If you are a student reading this, please consider using my story as a point of encouragement. Keep plugging away. Know that you are getting a solid education at King, that you will find your passion one day (if you haven’t already), and that it doesn’t all have to happen this very moment.
If you are a teacher reading this, be confident that your superb work will pay dividends, often long after your students have moved on. If you are one of my teachers reading this, you have my deepest admiration and gratitude.