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56 FINAL EXAM Professionally Speaking December 2018 Rebel by Design Tommy Smythe discusses compassion and courage during his formative years, both of which helped lay the foundation for his design and TV career. BY LAURA BICKLE • Born in Toronto on July 11, 1970 • His great-grandfather was hockey icon Conn Smythe, owner of the Toronto Maple Leafs (1927–61); the NHL's most valuable playoffs player award is named after him • Attended Buttonwood Hill PS until Grade 4 & Upper Canada College until Grade 9; went to Jarvis CI in Grade 10 & then Annex Village Campus HS for Grades 11 & 12 [all in Toronto] • Lived in Sacramento, Calif., for a year, where he attended Sacramento City College; returned to Toronto to finish high school at the School of Liberal Arts • Lived in England, working as a production secretary for a TV production company (1991–93) • Apprenticed at interior design store L'Atelier in Toronto (1996–2001), which he credits as his design education • Joined Sarah Richardson Design (2002); co-starred with designer Sarah Richardson in several TV shows • Contributing editor at House & Home magazine • TV host of Tommy Takes Us and Where to I Do? • Volunteers for Toronto Public Library Foundation; participates in fundraising and social media campaigns Describe yourself in grade school. Small. Courageous. Curious. Describe yourself in high school? Rebellious. Lost. Found. Fun. What was your favourite subject? Art. It was the only thing that I received praise for in elementary school. Favourite literary pieces studied? Catcher in the Rye, and Play It as It Lays by Joan Didion — that book changed me. What would you have liked to have been taught in school but weren't? That the things that make me different were the things that would give me entree into everything I wanted in life. Did you have any non-fiction heroes? Eleanor Roosevelt. Greek philosophers. Harvey Milk. Anyone who was and is courageous; it's the most useful and attractive quality. Qualities you appreciated in a teacher? Patience, compassion, humour and generosity. Any favourite fictional teachers? Lydia Grant [played by Debbie Allen] in Fame; Gabe Kotter [Gabe Kaplan] in Welcome Back, Kotter; and Jean Brodie [Maggie Smith] in The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie. Fondest school-related memory? When June Callwood spoke at my high school about recognizing kindness; it changed my view on life. I wanted to serve and it led to me volunteering at Casey House [HIV/AIDS hospice that journalist/activist Callwood co-founded]. As a student, what career path did you dream of following? Architecture. But I was told I couldn't pursue it because of my lack of math skills. It killed my spirit but now I work with some of the best architects in North America. What natural gi did you wish you possessed? And now? Math skills! Now, I wish I could sing. If you could create a new course, which would you choose? How to do your taxes. Best advice given while at school? My best friend's dad [comedic actor Don Harron of Hee Haw] saw that I was struggling in high school and told me that my otherness would become my greatest strength. PS PHOTO: MICHAEL GRAYDON

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