I began my high school days in 1964 at the Owen Sound Collegiate and Vocational Institute (OSCVI) in a general studies program. This was a five year program that included grades nine to thirteen. After nearly failing in grade nine I switched to a trade-focused program for grade ten. This program combined hands-on experience with academics which allowed me to do much better in school. It also introduced me to trades training and spurred an interest electronics that continues today.
In spite of my moderate success in my electronics studies I continued to struggle academically. This continued until I failed to meet the required academic level in grade twelve. This was the second time I had failed a grade having previously failed grade seven at St Mary's so I felt i had no choice but to drop out of school.
How could this possibly have happened? How could a person who eventually went on to graduate with distinction from one of the most academically rigorous programs in Canada? Well, it was possible and it did happen. At the time I just felt that I wasn't cut out to be an academic and at best should be looking at a manual labour or trades career. As it turned out I wasn't stupid and I was cut out to progress academically. It was just that I learned differently from my classmates. This was discovered early in my naval career and I was given strategies on how to overcome my learning disability. I discuss this on the Learning Disabilities page in the menu at the left.
It wasn't that I
wasn't trying to do well academically. At first I devoted tremendous
energy into my academic studies. However it seemed that it didn't
matter how much time I spent trying to learn I just didn't see any
return on my efforts. As a result I pretty much gave up on academics
and began to focus my energies on sports - mostly individual sports
like gymnastics and weight lifting. These activities complimented
each other and I began to see real results for my efforts. I
perfected strong routines on the Rings, Parallel Bars, Pummel Horse,
Vaulting and High Bar. I won several awards for gymnastics two
years in a row. I attended several out-of-town events as part of
the school's gymnastic team and although I didn't medal I did
perform quite well. I also participated in weight lifting
competitions and also earned couple of weight lifting medals for my