Mark Cohon: Upper Canada College Grad

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Q: How has independent school help shape you into the person you are today? What life skills did you learn at school?

A: The thing I enjoyed the most about my time at UCC was the diversity of experiences at the school. It was always a given that the education you would receive at UCC was one of the best in the country. What was more important to me was the extracurricular activities that help shaped me as a person. I loved my experience with sports at the school having played on the football, basketball and tennis teams. Being involved in sports taught me how to lead but also when to follow. I loved serving on the board of Stewards, which gave me insights into managing a group and being part of a leadership team. And, I loved that I lived right across the street from UCC. I think this is why I could never have a job where I would have a long daily commute!

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Q: What opportunities have opened up for you as a result of going to an independent school?

A: Going to UCC set me up for my international career. I decided early on that I wanted to look outside of Canada to go to University and I was fortunate enough to attend Northwestern University in Chicago. UCC prepared me from an educational perspective-I could handle the demands at a well respected U.S. university. More importantly, by being exposed to so many extracurricular activities during my time at UCC, it opened my eyes to opportunities beyond education. I became curious and more willing to explore beyond my city and my country. The fact that I led an expedition in Siberia, and worked for both Major League Baseball and the National Basketball Association in international marketing can be traced to both my interests in sports at UCC but also an interest in the world cultivated in my early years at UCC.

Q: What is your fondest memory at independent school?

A: It is pretty simple, friends. What I remember the most about UCC is the friendships that I created for life. While I am fortunate to have friends from all stages in life, some of my closest friends are from my five years at UCC. When I returned to Canada seven years ago after living internationally for almost 15 years I was able to reconnect with many of my classmates. The bond and shared experiences are still strong. This is not a Bruce Springsteen, Glory Days song, where you wish for the days of your old high school. Our friendships endure because we all cherish those memories, but more importantly we have been able to grow from a common foundation that UCC helped cement.

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