Michael McIntosh, who spent four years at Calabar High School in the late 1960s, is giving back to his Jamaican alumni.
With assistance from family and friends, several hundred dollars were raised which he will present to the educational institution this week to help maintain their track and field program.
“Last year, I met the coach (Michael Clarke) while he was here with a team for the Toronto International Track and Field Games,” McIntosh said. “I learned they needed some assistance and decided to reach out to them. This is my way of giving back in some small way to the school that I benefitted a lot from.”
McIntosh, who last week attended the Jesse Owens International Trophy Award ceremony in New York, left Calabar in 1969 to complete his last year of high school at Excelsior.
“I represented the school in the 800-metres Class Two at CHAMPS in 1968 and I was elected Form Captain in my first year,” he said. “The school instilled in me a sense of discipline and camaraderie that has remained with me.”
Calabar has produced a number of outstanding Jamaican athletes, including Dennis Johnson who once held the 100-yard world record; Herb McKenley, who won three medals at the 1952 Helsinki Olympics; Jamaica’s first Olympic gold medallist Arthur Wint; 1952 Helsinki Olympics double gold medallist George Rhoden and 2012 Olympics 200-metre bronze medallist Warren Weir.
“This is a school with a long and storied tradition when it comes to athletics and it’s incumbent on me and others who were part of Calabar to do whatever we can to maintain that custom,” added McIntosh who migrated to the Greater Toronto Area in July 1970.
The alma mater of former Jamaican Prime Minister P.J. Patterson was founded in 1912 by the Jamaica Baptist Union.
While holidaying in the land of his birth in 1976, McIntosh met Jamaican-born Joy Clemetson – the wife of American Harrison “Bones” Dillard who won gold medals in the individual and relay sprints at the 1948 Olympics – and their daughter Terri who was also on vacation.
Once McIntosh found that McKenley – his late coach – and Dillard were friends, he developed a close relationship with the American family.
McIntosh and Dillard collaborated to publish Bones: The Life and Times of Harrison Dillard which was released to coincide with the 2012 London Olympics.
A member of the record-breaking 4 x 400-metre relay team and an 800-metre silver medallist at the 1972 national junior championships, McIntosh was on the Canadian junior team’s coaching staff in 1983 and he assisted several American colleges in recruiting local athletes in the 1970s and 80s.