Cadets and faculty of Robert Land Academy were treated with a rare opportunity to meet a Canadian boxing legend. Former Canadian heavyweight boxing champion George Chuvalo visited the Academy in November 2010, sharing his life story of boxing fame and personal tragedy.
Chuvalo was once one of the best heavyweights in the world and traded punches with the likes of George Foreman, Joe Frazier and, most notably, Muhammad Ali. His forte was the knockout punch, and he used it to record 64 of his 73 victories in a 93-bout career that began in 1956 and continued through 1973. He held the Canadian heavyweight title three times during his career.
After his retirement from boxing, Chuvalo became involved in an anti-drug campaign throughout Canada. The cause had personal meaning for him, as he lost two sons and his wife to drug abuse and suicide.
Love is so important," he said. "Make sure you hug your parents every day. Kiss your parents every day. Tell them you love them." Chuvalo told students that this is the key to their future. His sons deaths were the result of them being "ignorant and unafraid" of the consequences of taking drugs.
"Even something as simple as not smoking has a long-term benefit," he said. "I know you can't smoke here (at the Academy), and that is a good thing. We know what smoking can do to you, so any young person who is smoking today is disrespecting themselves. And once you disrespect yourself in one area, it's easy to disrespect yourself in another."
George Chuvalo's heart-felt message left a lasting impression on the cadets and faculty of Robert Land Academy.
Robert Land Academy is Canada's only private, military boarding school for boys in grades six through 12. Located in Wellandport Ontario, approximately 45 minutes from Niagara Falls and the US border and one hour from Toronto, the Academy utilizes a military model to reinforce the importance of structure, discipline, accountability and self-determination. The demanding intellectual and physical challenges are accompanied by support and encouragement to assist each student in developing self-confidence and self-worth through genuine achievement. The highly structured environment at Robert Land Academy is intended to support and encourage boys to reach their potential.