"I wasnt exactly a bright
student in high school," Boswell says, "I was more of a slacker and my grades
were low and my SAT scores were low. She would tell me You need to get your SAT
score up. You need to get working in class."
Clinton knew that Boswell had
exceptional talent in athletics and was bright, but he needed to get higher scores and the
right courses to be eligible for an American university. She did more than talk to
Boswell. She organized 15 teachers into a "Lets Make Mark Boswell a
Freshman" team. Clinton says of Boswell, "His SAT scores werent high
enough, not because he wasnt bright enough, but because he hadnt taken the
courses that allowed you to do well on the SAT."
The teachers worked with him after
school, and he also got the courses he needed. Clinton says, "Marks mom always
thinks that we were wonderful to him, but it took an incredible amount of work on his
part, which he did with great dedication."
Boswell was in Grade 10 when Clinton
came to Central Peel after two years as vice-principal at another Peel school. Before
that, she had taught for 17 years at Orangeville High School, becoming vice-principal.
Clinton attended high school in Hamilton, McMaster University and the Faculty of Education
at the University of Toronto.
Besides being principal at Central
Peel, she helped coach track and field. Clinton did the jumping events and so she was the
one who took Boswell to meets.
Boswell remembers one in particular.
Clinton and another coach drove Boswell and another athlete to Philadelphia for the Penn
Relay. "It really helped me to get publicized to the schools in the States,"
says Boswell, "because a lot of universities were there. It turned out the University
of Texas was there and they saw me jumping and thats where I went."
Clinton adds more detail: "It was
a four-day trip and we had a marvellous time. Mark won the high school high jump event.
Its an amazing thing, 65,000 fans in an arena for track and field. Penn State is
Bill Cosbys alma mater and he was there and Mark got to meet him."
In 1996, Boswell competed in Australia.
He says, "When I was going to the World Juniors and it was my first really big
international competition, she had a school holiday and they helped me out by raising
money. And I went there and jumped well."
"Well" means he placed first,
becoming the first Canadian to win the World Junior Championships. He had entered the
competition ranked 12th.
In 1999, Boswell won the National
Collegiate Athletics Association Championships (NCAA). He was also on the deans
honour roll at university.
Clinton says, "All this jumping
hes doing, which is going to be his claim to fame, but he called and said, I
have good news to tell you. He told his coach he had to phone his principal because
she would be more excited about the honour roll than winning the NCAA."
Now principal at Rick Hansen Secondary
School, Clinton pauses, then says, "He was right."
"That is the kind of kid he is, he
phones. Ive coached lots of kids in my time, but I have never had one who was so
really appreciative of what teachers and coaches can mean in a kids life. Usually
kids come back to me in their 30s, but here is this kid still in high school and
appreciative, and before hes gone as far as he is going to go. I think thats
what makes him remarkable."
Boswell says of Clinton, "She is
special because she helped me realize that there is not only sports in school. There is
also education and she helped me realize how important it is."
He continues, "And her setting up
the study program, because if I dont pass the SATs I cant go to school in the
States I think that was the most significant thing she has done. Its
overwhelming to think that she would go out of her way to help me like that. Its
Mark Boswell credits teacher Allison
Clinton with ensuring his academic achievements kept up with his skills as a high jumper.
A mutual admiration society: Clinton is
"special" and "wonderful" says Boswell, for the efforts she made on
his behalf. About Boswell, Clinton says she has never had a student "so really
appreciative of what teachers and coaches can mean in a kids life."