June 2021 is the 31st anniversary of Nelson and Winnie Mandela’s visit to Central Technical School. The June 19, 1990 visit was attended by dignitaries and 1500 students. CTS alumni Conroy Pottinger was student council president at the time and welcomed the Mandelas on behalf of the students. This is a condensed version of the follow-up interview to the 2015 interview for the CTS 100th anniversary book.
Conroy, tell us about yourself and how the past 5 years since the CTS reunion have been for you:
The proud father of 3 daughters I have been raising my family and building my business as an IT recruiter. I majored in electronics at CTS and attended the University of Toronto majoring in Political Science and Economics. I own a successful business specializing in Microsoft IT recruiting. My education at CTS served as strong background training since it was a balance of academic and technical education. Technical education is a relevant and worthwhile pursuit. Keep it in mind when planning an education and career path.
As a student CTS was my extended family, I stay in touch with my classmates. I was taught by caring teachers and coaches that helped shape the careers of excellent athletes i.e.: Egerton Marcus, Atlee Mahorn. Mr. DaCosta, Dave Ellis, Chuck Wakefield, Mr. Nate Jim Wilson, and Down town Feddy Brown. CTS was a pretty special highschool in the late eighties/early nineties, especially if you took Track and Field, which is why I chose to attend CTS.
Do you reminisce about that day you met Mandela?
I don’t think that I really appreciated that I was part of a very special day until later. As president of the CTS student council I greeted the Mandelas and gave a welcome speech. It was an incredible day that I appreciate more as I get older. It all seems a bit surreal as you go through the actual day. It is upon later reflection that you realize how amazing that day was.I admit that I just recently shared with my children that I was president of the student council and that I met Nelson and Winnie Mandela 30 years ago! I was so impressed with Mandela’s message, that one must stand up for justice and respect one another. Mandela’s message was discussed in class before and after that day in June 1990, a message that I pass on to my children.
I would like to share that it is important to have dreams and to strive to achieve your goals. We all learn in different ways. Never give up on your personal dreams. Try a specialize skill, go beyond the straight path. Understand that everyone’s life path is different. I love to motivate young people and encourage them.
For more on Mandela’s visits to Canada and to Toronto schools visit: