Alumnus recalls how Mount Royal prepared him for life after grad
by Alvin Law
I am pretty sure I am not alone in wondering where spring is and although I haven’t been a student at MRU for a while, I can still remember the feeling at the end of semester.Maybe you are ending first year prepping for a summer of work to pay for the second round. But, if you are finishing that final year, you’re occupied by something completely different: reality.
I graduated from Mount Royal College in 1980 with a diploma in Radio and Television Broadcasting. I cannot stress enough what a big deal that was for me. You see, I could still remember the day the debate began about whether I would even be allowed to go to school. I have a very clear image of my mother and father taking me to the open house and registration day at St. Alphonsus Elementary in Yorkton, Sask., in August 1966. We had an appointment to meet the principal, so into his office we ventured, taking seats across the desk from what seemed to be a nice man. He closed the door, sat down and said, “I’m sorry folks… he can’t come here.” He was pointing at me.
The words were a shock, almost seeming like a joke. My parents exchanged glances and my father said, “we live across the street,” to which the principal replied, “I know… we all know you. The fact is he needs to go across town to the school where kids like him go.”
“Kids like who?” my mother asked.
“Well, crippled kids, like him,” the principal said, pointing again.
“He’s not crippled,” shot back my mom.
With a look of shock, the principal very quickly answered, “Mrs. Law, your son has no arms… what do you call that?”
I was never privy to the conversations, but my parents had to take on the school board to fight for me to attend a regular school and to the majority, my parents’ argument seemed silly. How could you actually believe a kid born without arms could even cope with school, let alone do well enough to graduate or even more ludicrous, go to post-secondary?
I must admit that whenever I think about Mount Royal, I think about how truly fortunate I was to not only be accepted by the broadcasting program, but to graduate and only two weeks later start a full-time job as a disc-jockey at FM Rock Radio Station in Regina. I didn’t stay in the profession long, but I can credit MRU for preparing me for more than academia; MRU prepared me for life. I turned 50 last summer and that inevitably causes reflection. I am now a motivational speaker and my wife, Darlene, and I own a very successful company that has taken me around the world, one that’s a long way from where my life began.
I love this time of year. Soon, the grass will turn green, the flowers will bloom and a whole new crop of Mount Royal graduates will ask the same question, “How far can I grow?”
Now I know the answer: as far as your imagination can take you.
Alvin Law is a recent inductee into the Canadian Speakers Hall of Fame. He was also Mount Royal’s first student to be recognized as a Distinguished Alumnus in 1983.