St. George's College
Good & True ...issue# 46...June, 2006
The Annual Family Dinner was held Saturday April 1, 2006 at St. Jerome's Roman Catholic Church in Brampton. It began with a liturgical celebration at 5:00 p.m. which was attended by members of the St. George's Old Boys Association (Ontario Chapter) and their families and friends.
At the mass, in welcoming the StGC Old Boys and introducing the school to the congregation, Fr. Dan gave an extensive history of the school and made mention of the significant contributions worldwide that its alumni are making in various communities, and the fact that it has produced three Deacons in Toronto, one of whom was their own Deacon Peter Rickards.
After mass, patrons made their way towards the banquet hall adjacent to the church for the start of the function. The hall, which was beautifully decorated with a blue and white theme, provided an air of the excitement of things to come. The room was filled to capacity in a couple of minutes. It was so gratifying to see such a good turn out of the very young, young and not so young- the kids had a ball.
Newly-elected president, Daniel (Danny) Ho Lung welcomed our guest speaker, friends, members of the association and their families to the function and thanked them for their support. Dinner was then served buffet style. Many persons were grateful and gave high praises for the presentation and taste of the food. Excellent work to our own chef John Flynn and his team.
Danny spoke about our Jamaica roots and that we were all privileged to be a part of the Canadian community. He completed his message by inviting all present to raise a toast to Jamaica and Canada.
Chris Chin, 1st Vice president/secretary introduced our guest speaker, Mr. Bruce deSousa, Immediate Past President of the StGC Old Boys Association (Jamaica Chapter). Bruce apologized for the unavoidable absence of the school's principal Dr. Fred Kennedy; however a report on his stewardship was provided. It was noted that there were significant improvement in school discipline, greater respect for school property, improved academic performance and increased ranking of the school by the Ministry of Education. The school's five-year plan was also outlined.
Bruce also brought greetings from the association in Jamaica and thanked the Ontario Chapter for their continued support to the school throughout the years.
A report on the membership was provided by Dominique Nash. He noted the importance of paying their dues and invited new members to the organization.
A highlight of the evening was the scholarship presentation to Aaron Haddad (see Part 4) also of significance was the presence of “Miss Yee” (Mrs. Yee Quee, shopkeeper across North Street) and her son Michael.
A special award was presented to Mr. Robbie Vernon, Immediate Past President and his wife Heather for their outstanding support throughout the years.
The evening proceeding ended with a vote of thanks by the president to all who contributed in making the occasion a fruitful event.
Our special thanks to Fr. Dan Kolodynski, Pastor and Rev. Peter Rickards, Permanent Deacon for the special welcome to our Alumni and guests at Mass and as well the use of the church hall.
Having been denied his dream by the bigotry that was so prevalent during his time, Herbert Carnegie responded by creating a legacy that has touched so many, a legacy that his parents George and Adina Carnegie probably never envisioned when they emigrated to Canada from Jamaica in 1912. George toiled as a janitor, his wife a homemaker, and both were determined to see that their children had a richer, better life here in Canada. Growing up Herb shared the dream of so many other young Canadians, wanting more then ever to play for the Toronto Maple Leafs. He once wrote about closing his eyes and seeing himself on the Leafs bench and being showered with ovations from the fans at Maple Leaf Gardens. Instead he was showered with name-calling and insults. His high school hockey coach encouraged him and told him that the best way to respond to the ignorance was to score goals, and that he did earning his fair share of praise from several Toronto area newspapers.
His skills eventually carried him to the Quebec Senior league, where he was the league MVP three years in a row and played alongside future hockey hall of famer Jean Beliveau. Carnegie predated the widespread media coverage now devoted to hockey, but his talents did not go unnoticed. One sportswriter of the time said "he could have been a star in the six-team NHL were it not for the colour of his skin." Jean Beliveau himself said "Herbie was a super hockey player, a beautiful style, a beautiful skater, a great playmaker… I learned from Herbie." Despite all of these talents there was still an invisible barrier keeping Herb away from his ultimate dream. One day while practicing at Maple Leaf Garden's he spotted Conn Smythe, the owner of the Leafs in the crowd. Smythe, although impressed by Carnegie's talents, was not willing to take the risk of signing a black player, even being quoted as saying he would "give $10,000 to anyone who could turn Herbert Carnegie white."
Despite the bitter disappointment Mr. Carnegie rebounded, founding the Future Aces Hockey School, believed to be one of the first hockey schools in Canada. The hockey school has since evolved into a global, charitable organization that has given out more then $370,000 in scholarships to students; organized leadership conferences for youth, and above all promoted a philosophy that stresses attitude, cooperation, example, and sportsmanship. He was no slouch in the corporate world either, becoming a successful financial planner with the Investors Group and a member of the Millionaires club for 24 consecutive years. He also developed quite the golf game, becoming the Canadian seniors champion in the 1970's. His hard work has earned him many accolades, including an Ontario Medal for Good Citizenship, a Harry Jerome President's Award, a spot in Canada's Sports Hall of Fame and an Order of Canada. One of the meccas of minor hockey was even renamed the Herbert H. Carnegie Centennial Centre in 2001. Put simply, his legacy will never be forgotten.
On March 30, 2006, Mr. Carnegie was honoured at a Gala at the Toronto Centre for the Arts. CTV's Marci Ien and Michael Pinball Clemons were the keynote speakers in an event that was attended by Natalie Glebova (Ms. Universe-Canada), Hon. Gerard Kennedy (Minister of Education), John Tory, and numerous professional athletes, entertainers, and other dignitaries. Aaron Sani and I attended and were both deeply moved by the profound presence and grace exhibited by Mr. Carnegie, now well into his 80's and blinded by glaucoma. Herb Carnegie even has a George's connection as his nephew is none other than Tony Sani; Aaron's dad.
The entire evening was a moving tribute to the power of the human spirit. Perhaps the greatest lesson Carnegie taught was of perseverance, perspective, and the importance of responding to adversity. As Pinball Clemons pointed out in his keynote speech, "he could have been angry, but he knew that what angers you controls you." Pinball likened Carnegie to a young boy he once met who was 15 years old and paralyzed from the neck down. The boy was unable to communicate with his voice, and instead "spoke" to his family and friends using letter charts and a portable computer. The boy lived a childhood that most could not begin to understand, and then one day his father came home with some hockey equipment and told him that he'd signed him up for a league. With some straps and tape, his father attached the goalie equipment to the boy's wheelchair and put him out on the ice. I'll let Pinball take the story from here:
If I was that boy, I would have been brought to tears with anger. I would have been furious! I would have screamed at my dad and said "What are you thinking?! Who do you think you are?! Can't you see me?! Look at me!" …But he didn't. You know what he did? He simply wrote on his board "Drop the puck."
Drop the puck. What a great lesson. It's the way Herbert Carnegie responded to adversity and perhaps these are two stories to consider the next time adversity comes our way. Just bear down and tell them... “Drop the puck.”
Editor's note: Joe Vernon is the son of Immediate Past President Robbie Vernon & his wife Heather. Joe graduated from the Wilfred Laurier University with a BBA Honours Degree;The University of Windsor with a Bachelor of Laws Degree and also holds a Juris Doctor Degree (American law) from the University of Detroit Mercy in Detroit. Aaron Sani is the son of old Boy Tony Sani and his wife Katy. Aaron holds a Bachelor of Science & Computer Science Degree from Ryerson University and is pursuing a Masters in Computer & Information Sciences from the University of Guelph. Both are previous StGC Ontario scholarship winners.
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