SHS is an independent day school for boys from JK to Grade 8. Our mission is to inspire and empower each boy through his formative years.

Old Boy Profiles

Old Boys have fond memories of Sterling Hall and its impact on their lives. The following profiles include updates on the exciting achievements of former SHS students, along with highlights of their favourite times at the school.

Mark Wires 1996 - Lawyer

After graduating from Sterling Hall, Mark Wires played professional hockey and went on to pursue a law degree in Australia. He now practises law in Toronto.

Mark attended Earl Haig Secondary School and earned a full Athletic NCAA Division I Hockey scholarship to Ohio’s Bowling Green State University, where he completed a Bachelor of Liberal Studies degree.

Mark spent the next four years playing professional hockey across North America and in the U.K. During his hockey career, he was a finalist in Making the Cut: Last Man Standing, a Canadian reality TV show. He also played the part of a Toronto Maple Leaf in The Love Guru, a 2008 comedy about a Maple Leafs player. (The star-studded cast included Jessica Simpson, Mike Myers and Kanye West.)

Mark pursued a law degree and an MBA from Bond University in Australia, then returned to Canada, where he was called to the bar as a member of the Law Society of Upper Canada in 2012. Mark built successful sports tourism and education company, The College Sports Experience, which was acquired in 2014.

Today, Mark lives in Toronto and is the Co-Founder of Peloton Innovations, the world’s first innovation studio focused on the evolving security industry. He is also the VP at Resilience Equity Partners.

“My experiences at SHS contributed to my development as a person,” Mark says. “The SHS environment taught me the value of hard work, while providing the leadership and support necessary to excel academically and athletically.”

Michael Chan 1997 - Product Marketing Manager


"Sterling Hall taught me respect for myself and those around me, as well as self-discipline and perseverance. I learned to set goals and define my individual success."

Setting goals has paid off for Michael. He has a successful career in product marketing, after completing a Bachelor of Commerce in Marketing Management at the University of Guelph. Michael is a Product Marketing Manager and Category Business Manager at Multy Home, a leading supplier of floor coverings in the North American and International marketplace.

In his off hours, Michael is an entertainer, radio host and emcee for corporate events, weddings and charities. Five years ago, he started a music program for patients with Alzheimer’s and dementia. “My biggest success,” Michael says, “is seeing a patient come alive with a smile during music therapy!”

One of his favourite moments at SHS was singing “Hey Jude” with Mr. Ian Robinson at the SHS talent night. “We got the crowd going and everyone waved their hands in the air.”

Eric Crawford 1998 - Surgeon

After graduating from Sterling Hall, Eric attended Upper Canada College and went on to complete an Honours Degree in Health Sciences at the University of Western Ontario. He received his medical degree from the University of Toronto in 2012, and recently received his MSc in Clinical Epidemiology from U of T as well Currently, Eric is an orthopaedic surgical resident at U of T.

Eric credits Sterling Hall with instilling in him a passion for learning. Among his accomplishments, Eric won the University of Western Ontario Gold Medal for highest academic achievement during his undergraduate studies. He has been involved in clinical research at the Hospital for Sick Children since 2006, has authored a book chapter and journal articles, and has presented his research on children’s pain management and intensive care treatments in North America and Europe.

His goal is to practice in Toronto as a Paediatric Orthopaedic Surgeon. Prior to attending Sterling Hall, Eric recalls, “I hated going to school– and my parents will attest to it! I remember feeling at home at SHS, with the overwhelmingly strong sense of community that existed at the school. The teachers motivated us, acted as outstanding role models and volunteered their time to supervise activities and coach teams. I have fond memories of playing on a variety of sports teams with my friends.”

Eric enjoys coming back to Sterling Hall and has returned to present the Crawford Mile Cup several times.

Matty Burns 2000 - Sales Representative & Artistic Director


"My passion for theatre began at SHS with a production of Oliver! My teachers were incredibly supportive and we’ve kept in touch all these years."

From his days on the Sterling Hall stage, Matty went on to RSGC and studied theatre at Queen’s University. When he returned to Toronto, he quickly became ensconced in the city’s entertainment scene, including performing at The Second City. Matty produced the first ever Toronto Musical Improv Festival in 2015.

His boundless energy for all things theatrical is something that Matty’s teachers remember. And, with good reason. In addition to improv, Matty’s band, Wacko Ninja, plays regularly and he has been in several productions with the Queen’s Players Toronto Theatre. He wrote and starred in his original musical, Tagged & It’s Complicated and has been on TV and web series including YTV’s Splatalot and commercials for Rogers, CTV and others.

Matty is currently working in sales Sparkrock, a software company that works with non-profits. He is also the Artistic Director of Players Toronto Theatre Company.

Matty is also looking forward to relaxing at his newly purchased cottage near Haliburton!

Jason Pagnutti 2000 - Engineer


"I really appreciated the mentorship I received from the teachers at SHS. They were great people who were genuinely interested in helping me during my formative years."

Jason describes Sterling Hall as the school where he became fully invested in his education. That investment carried on to his future studies and career. He obtained a BSc in Mechanical Engineering from Queen’s University and, more recently, his Professional Engineering designation. He joined PCL Construction in 2008. By 2010, he was managing a department devoted to mechanical and electrical pursuits and in 2013 he was promoted to Construction Risk Manager.

A running enthusiast, Jason competes in adventure race circuits that consist of 80-150kms of trail running/orienteering, mountain biking and canoeing.

Jason is married to Lisa Telebar, who also graduated from Queen’s University and is a corporate lawyer. His closest friend, Stephen Kaye, was a classmate at SHS and they stood up as best man at each other’s weddings.

At SHS, Jason learned that, “if you have drive and determination, and put your mind to it, nothing is out of reach.”

Rahim Ismail 2001 - Pharmacist

Rahim Ismail graduated from Sterling Hall in 2001 after serving as Prefect in his graduating year. He was involved in an inordinate number of teams and clubs and was the recipient of the David McCallum Award for the most House Points in a school career.Those of us who knew him well remember the constant energy and positivity of “Rahim the Machine.” Rahim attended Crescent School for his high school years and then chose to become a student at the University of Toronto, where he completed a Bachelor of Science degree in Pharmacy.

Like so many other students who have attended Sterling Hall, Rahim learned a lot about himself and the world in the six years he attended the school. “SHS instilled life-long values in me which ultimately set me up for success in all aspects of my life. The school taught me how to persevere through difficulty, how to live with principle and integrity, and how to critically analyze the world around me. I learned to humbly celebrate successes and to objectively learn from my mistakes.”

Rahim is the owner/operator of two Shoppers Drug Mart locations, and is on the Board of Directors at CareFirst Seniors and Community Services Association. Rahim has volunteered his time over the past few years with Prostate Cancer Canada and the Weekend to End Women’s Cancer supporting Princess Margaret Hospital. In his free time, Rahim likes to travel, play squash and scuba dive around the world.

Liam Connor 2003 - Astrophysicist

Liam distinctly remembers Mr. Hay bursting into a class taught by Mr. Macdonald and expressing some sort of revelation he had about the nature of time. “This led a few of us in the class to ask some questions about special relativity,” Liam explains, “a subject I began reading about feverishly the summer after eighth grade.” This was the foundation for Liam’s interest in theoretical physics and piloted him towards McGill University to pursue an undergraduate degree in physics and mathematics. After his undergrad, Liam received his PhD in Astrophysics from the University of Toronto in 2016, and now works in Amsterdam, Netherlands as an Astrophysicist.

“Sterling Hall had a significant role in cultivating my interest in the arts, the sciences and sport,” Liam happily asserts. He also admits that he did his “fair share of trouble making, which also taught me a number of life lessons.” He recounts, “a raucous bus ride to Washington, D.C., a hilarious “Coaches Corner” skit by Mr. Coles during assembly, and awkward dances with Havergal in which the girls were, on average, a foot taller than us boys due to unfortunate differences in biological timing.”

Liam Connor is an exemplar of that Sterling Hall standard of well-balanced excellence: a superb guy pursuing what he loves and making an admirable and enviable life for himself.

Geoff Williams 2007 - Video Editor

Geoff Williams 2007 is a person of strong character who is genuinely fascinated with film theory and holds an earnest passion for witnessing and documenting world events. Geoff graduated from the University of Western Ontario with an Honours Specialization in Film Studies. In 2014, Geoff travelled to Poland to film a documentary related to the Holocaust along with two other students from Western. Currently, Geoff works as a video editor for Narrowcontent Inc., a marketing and advertising company in Richmond Hill.

Geoff looks back on how SHS inspired and empowered him: “I think it’s fair to say that I owe a lot of the man I am (and the man I am becoming) to my time at Sterling Hall,” Geoff reflects, “Be it the close-knit community the school had or the special attention the faculty and staff paid to each individual student, you’re made to feel capable of anything. Amongst the many characteristics I can attribute to my time spent at the school, I owe my comfort with public speaking to Sterling Hall.”

Geoff also remarks on how SHS helped him grow in his later education, saying “My time at the school taught me to be my own person, something that is very important for everyone but especially for kids. Adolescence is an impressionable time for most of us and it is important to remember your beliefs and not be afraid to share them.”

Alex Sigel 2010 - Queen's Commerce Student

"The lessons I learned and the friendships I gained at Sterling Hall will stay with me throughout my life."

Alex Sigel’s fondest memories of Sterling Hall include a vivid recollection of the mile run. “It seemed like we were always running that mile, with Mr. Lum yelling ‘sub six minutes!’ as we rounded each bend.” For Alex, that run was one of the many ways that SHS taught him commitment to a goal, as well as the importance of physical activity.

As SHS’s Head Boy, Alex spoke at Assembly every Friday morning. He became very comfortable speaking to an audience and learned to stay focused without a script. This gave him confidence in his abilities when he was elected Head Boy of The York School in 2013.

Alex is in his fourth year in the Commerce program at Queen’s University. He was an Orientation Leader in his second year, and is a member of the Queen’s Marketing and Advertising Association, and Queen’s Consulting Association.

What’s next? Alex plans to complete his Bachelor of Commerce at Queen’s University and then explore ideas for a career path.

Jonathan Libby 2012 - App Developer, Student


“I learned about the importance of community and relationships at SHS. Education is as much about the atmosphere around the classroom as it is about the learning in the classroom."

Perhaps it was that desire to build community that inspired Jonathan, early in Grade 9, to begin writing the first version of a mobile app for his school. The app, which he eventually co-founded, designed and built, is now called the Crescent School Student Utility and provides students in the Upper School with quick access to their class schedules, lunch menus and other notifications related to school life. Jonathan is proud that the app -- a completely student-led initiative -- is used by the majority of Upper School students.

In 2016, Jonathan founded FlightSquad Media with his peers, which specializes in drone photography and videography. FlightSquad Media has completed projects for FIRST Robotics Canada and the Porsche Club of America.

Jonathan currently attends the University of Toronto, where he studies Computer Science, and is a member of the Formula SAE Racing Team.

Cooper Midroni 2012 - Queen's Engineering Student


"My years at Sterling Hall were fundamental in giving me the confidence and skills to be successful."

Cooper Midroni learned a lot about public speaking at Sterling Hall, including how to deliver a stand-out valedictorian address on graduation day. But perhaps the most important learning, Cooper says, was how to take risks.

A self-described quiet boy, one of the first risks Cooper took when he joined SHS was was trying out for class rep, which he achieved. It was an important developmental year, he recalls. Later, he ran for Head Boy – and did not get it. “I learned so much from that failure,” Cooper says. “I realized that it was okay to fail.” The support and encouragement he received from teachers and classmates helped him to pick back up and try other things.

Cooper was the Head Boy in his Grade 12 year at Crescent School. He is currently a second year Engineering student at Queen’s University, where he was awarded the Queen’s Chancellor’s Entry Scholarship prior to his first year. This year, Cooper will serve as the Class of 2020 President at the Engineering Society of Queen’s University.

Alykhan Jetha 2014 - Student at UTS


"Sterling Hall gave me confidence in myself and my knowledge and skills. The fantastic arts and athletics programs provided a rounded education, which is very important in middle school."

In 2015, Alykhan won the Junior National Debating Championships in Winnipeg. He had many debating successes during his time at SHS and honed his public speaking skills as a prefect during his final year.

Alykhan was an excellent academic student at Sterling Hall, and he also participated avidly in co-curricular programs, trying new experiences whenever opportunities were presented. In addition to the clubs, teams, arts and athletics, he will always remember being taught the proper handshake etiquette. “The first words I heard at Sterling Hall, on day one in Grade 4, were from Mr. Robinson. After shaking my hand he said ‘We’re going to have to work on that.’ And we did.”

Alykhan is enjoying University of Toronto Schools (UTS) and was pleased to make the law team this year. After high school, he hopes to gain a degree in psychology or journalism and then attend law school at the University of Toronto.

Luca Penzo 2004 - Co-Founder, Residential Design-Build Company

What schools did you attend after SHS and when did you graduate?
After being a lifer at SHS, I attended Crescent for Grade 9 and Lawrence Park for Grade 10-12. I then took a gap year to play junior hockey for the St. Michael's Buzzers and then attended the University of Guelph for my undergraduate degree. When I graduated, I wanted to enhance my resume by improving my technical skills so I took the George Brown Construction Project Management Certification and Revit Architecture Certification. Education never ends and learning about things that interest me in my career has been a huge part of my success.

What is your current occupation?
I am the co-founder of the residential design-build company Urban Blueprint. We have a focus on renovations and additions to single family homes in the core of Toronto. We have recently entered into the condo remodeling market as well. We provide architectural planning and design, construction project management and interior design. We also have a partnership with a real estate team to further enhance the level of service for our customers.

What do you consider your greatest accomplishments?
1. Urban Blueprint. I've put a lot of my soul into building the company. We were recognized in 2017 by The Profit 500 in Canada's Start Up 50 as the 23rd fastest growing company in Canada. This year we were recognized at the Contractor of the Year Awards, winning an award in Project Management.

2. Purchasing my first home, in 2016, where I got engaged - which brings me to my next accomplishment.

3. My wife Olivia and I got married November 25, 2017. We are now renovating our second house and plan on starting a family soon.

How did you become interested in your field and what interests you most about it?
My father, John, is a developer and my mother, Debbie, a real estate agent. I started working on my dad's subdivision at a young age, in the summer. I always knew I wanted to start either a construction company or real estate investment firm but was never sure how I was going to do it. Once I graduated from University, a sense of urgency kicked in and I dug deep into educating myself and determining how I could fit into the industry. I became a licensed building renovator and designer. Most of the homes we work with are 1,500-3,000 square feet so they require a certain amount of creativity to make the space functional and meet our customers' needs. This creative spark is what interests me. I also have an interest on the investment side of real estate but feel that will develop more as I continue to grow.

Do you have any side projects? Not just in your field, but in your life?
I am finding your body and mind need to be a bit of a side project in order to be successful in anything that you want to accomplish. Be it working out, education, socializing, eating healthy and so on, I am in a sense the side project. I'm also interested in starting an e-commerce drop shipping business as a side hustle to generate more income.

Do you participate in any sports or hobbies?
My friends and I enjoy tennis and I'm not one to shy away from anything. Fishing, exercising, eating good food, snowboarding and wake surfing are my top five hobbies.

Which characteristics and attributes has SHS helped you develop?
Being a student at SHS made me feel a real sense of community as I grew and developed as a person. I believe SHS shaped a lot of who I am today. I learned a lot about not only the subjects we were studying but also friendship, loyalty, leadership, passion and communication.

What advice would you give to current SHS students or younger Old Boys?
Set no expectations, create your own story, and find a mentor who has accomplished what you are trying to. Focus on what you really want in life whether it's goals for this week, this month, this year or this decade. Don't let negative forces influence what you truly want to achieve. Be open to new things, and let go of failure. Where you are now does not define where you will be; actions moving forward will. I'm sure I have a lot of lessons to learn but you are the best advocate for yourself and will define your own version of success.

Describe a favourite memory at SHS.
I have so many great memories from field trips, science experiments, assemblies, recess, the Terry Fox run and so on. A favourite memory is Battle of the Bands, hosted in the new school gym soon after it was unveiled. George Stroumboulopoulos was a judge and as the winner, I got to record an album with my close friend at Iguana Studios.


 

 

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