Recent St. Michael’s College School (SMCS) graduate Elijah Bethune ’21 is getting ready to continue chasing his academic and athletic goals this fall at McMaster University.
“I've chosen Automation Engineering Technology (B. Tech) at McMaster because I've always wanted to pursue engineering,” says Bethune. “When I was researching programmes and saw Mac had an engineering programme with a technological aspect, I realized that's what I wanted to pursue especially since tech will have a big impact on the future of the world. McMaster was the best decision academically and athletically for my future.”
Bethune graduated from SMCS in June 2021 not only as an Ontario Scholar, but also as a member of the St. Thomas More Society for having consistently maintained an overall average of 80% or higher at year’s end for his entire high school career.
Growing up in mid-town Toronto, Bethune started at SMCS in Grade 9 and has excelled at combining academics and co-curriculars. In addition to his elite basketball prowess, Bethune also participated in the African-Canadian Youth Group, the Grade 9 band, the Blackboards to Backboards volunteer after-school programme, and the school’s Stock Market Club.
His basketball journey at SMCS began in Grade 9 as a guard with the Junior Blue Raiders CISAA Championship team. In Grades 10 and 11, Bethune played on the senior team where he transitioned to point guard. Although his final year of basketball at SMCS did not materialize due to the pandemic, Bethune capped off his Grade 11 year with a tournament all-star nomination at the Marsha March Roundball Classic, a tournament MVP at the All-Ontario Catholic Championships, and was named Blue Raiders MVP.
“Elijah was a first-class student-athlete at SMCS,” says Kirt Charter '82, SMCS teacher and Senior Basketball Coach. “Not only did he lead the Senior Basketball team in assists, but was also one of the squad’s best rebounders. As the team's floor general, he led by example with his actions and was counted on to set the tone of the game, both offensively and defensively.”
Outside of SMCS, Bethune’s basketball career was also developed through club basketball, suiting up for the Toronto Triple Threat for the last seven years. In the summer of 2019, he was named an alternate for Team Ontario.
“Through rep basketball, I was able to learn more about systems and team offence and defence, but my experiences at St. Mike's aided me in finding out what kind of player I wanted to be,” explains Bethune. “The experiences taking on different roles for the team will help me to better adapt when playing at McMaster. St. Mike’s helped me develop new skills on and off the court, practice being a better leader, and learn to try and control the flow of games.
“The preparation I received at St. Mike's will not go unnoticed. Academically, I believe St. Mike's does a great job of preparing kids for university. The work, course load, and the whole vibe are beyond a normal high school experience which will aid you further down the road in life.”
“I have made lifelong friendships and connections - my friends, the teachers and staff, and the alumni are a special community. It's almost like a safety net that you can call an old friend, or teacher, or alumnus for advice, or even an opportunity. The brotherhood is something that will never be dismissed.”