Written by Alex Hill
Alex Hill is from the class of 2008. Noted as one of the top athletes in the province, Alex Hill’s time at Eastern was well spent as he was a four-time Toronto District School Board South and City Champion in basketball and then making it to the OFSAA 4A Championships winning two silver medals. Alex was also was a member of the 2006 U17 Men’s Provincial team, winning a National gold. Alex excelled in track & field as well, making it to OFSAA every year. He finished 4th place in the triple jump. He also received the junior and senior athlete of the year awards. He signed his letter of intent to play at Cornell University in Ithaca, NY in the prestigious Ivy League Conference in ‘08. He transferred to the University of Toronto where he played three seasons for the Varsity Blues . Alex holds the record for most points scored in school history. Presently Alex plays for Bakery Basket-pallacanestro piacentina in the Serie A2 Silver League in Italy. Here is his story on his memories at Eastern Commerce.
Prior to grade 8, I played and excelled at a variety of sports. Entering the eighth grade, I made the decision to play basketball. Having to search for a high school that had a rich tradition in basketball was easy for me. Eastern Commerce was the best school in the city at this time and lucky for me it was down the street from my house. My other choice was Jarvis C.I which my Dad also attended. In his day he was an amazing basketball player and did a lot of great things for that high school. After debating of which high school to go to, I made the choice to go to Eastern where I started creating my own footprints in the sand. I have many great memories to share about my experience at Eastern. From going on team trips to the U.S. to compete against their nation’s best and brightest to hanging out and joking around outside the locker room after practice with the guys. I also remember going up to Sault Saint Marie with my longtime friend and teammate at Eastern Tyler “Chuck” Murray for an adventure challenge where we got to see plenty of old friends. Perseverance and hard work are the two main values I have learned while at Eastern. One of the main reasons that I enjoyed Eastern was because it was so multicultural. Everyone was very welcoming and friendly.
My freshmen class at Eastern Commerce consisted of top players such as Junior Cadougan, Tyler “Chuck” Murray, Wayne Bridge, Alwayne Bigby, Marvin Binney, Fitzroy Thompson and Shakeem Carvery. We were loaded with talent, especially at such a young age. We all had such a strong bond on and off the court. These guys were easily considered my best friends and our bond was unbreakable. It was easy to say that this group of players could contend for an OFSAA Championship every year in basketball.
All of the teachers at Eastern influenced me but the one that stuck out to me the most is Madame Rivaud, who taught me French in grade nine. At the beginning of the year we all hated her strict rules. By the end of the year I got used to her quirkiness and tough exterior. She was one teacher that didn’t play favorites with the athletic students. She treated everyone equally. I felt that it was the kind of tough love I needed so I ended up taking French in grade ten. Mr. Erdman was a great math teacher. I was in his office as soon as he flickered on his lights every morning. He truly wanted all of his students to succeed. Ms. Powell was another teacher which I remember. Not everyone was a fan of hers, but because she had a spiffy edge to her, I really liked her. She had a passion for math and truly believed in her students. My grade ten history teacher Miss Davidson made me fall in love with history, which is what I am currently majoring in. Ms. Richards was also someone who was memorable to me because she was very creative and wanted us to expand our knowledge in the Arts. Lastly, Coach Bullen, Coach Rana and Coach Jeffers were an integral part of my high school career and without their confidence and determination I wouldn’t be where I am today.
Without the experience at Eastern Commerce I would not be a professional basketball player. During my most formative years of basketball I was pushed day in and day out by better players than myself. My success was greater than I could have ever imagined. If there was one word to describe my success it would perseverance. No one thought I would be where I am today. There were certain people who didn’t believe in me, but with the Eastern mentality I had, I was able to prove them wrong. One of the factors that played a key role in our success as a whole was our confidence we brought out on the court consistently. Through this process, having belief in myself has assisted me positively because I have become a better and wiser individual who seeks greatness at all times. It takes self confidence, and self assurance to be where you want to be, and I can confidently say that I was able to conquer that.
Submitted by Kareem Griffin of In Charge Sports & Entertainment Club
Photo Courtesy of Basket Opportunity
Edited by Drew Ebanks