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June 6, 2002 Rugby stars become valued teachers, friends



Marty Boutin and Mathieu Garston

Marty Boutin and Mathieu Garston combined sports and school.

Photo by Andrew Dobrowolskyj

John Austen

Friends for life. That’s how Concordia grads and Stinger rugby stars Marty Boutin and Mathieu Garston describe themselves.

The pair met four years ago through rugby, which is arguably the most social of all sports. Boutin has been captain of the Quebec champion Stingers for the past three years, while Garston was named Male Athlete of the Year and was his team’s leading scorer last year.

The pair have impressed teammates, classmates, teachers and the teenagers they have taught through their bachelor’s of education TESL (Teaching English as a Second Language) program.

“Both maintained good marks throughout their program and were very popular with the children in the schools where they did their four school-based internships,” said Joanna L. White, associate professor and undergraduate program director of the TESL Centre. “Their supervisors had nothing but praise for their pedalogical skills, and they were a pleasure to teach here.”

Marlise Horst of the TESL Centre agreed. “Marty and Mathieu are such gentlemen,” she said, “and this is a profession that could use a few more men in it. They were also very modest about all their accomplishments. The students adored them.”

Boutin, 27, was asked if he considers himself to be a role model for young people. “I’ve never really thought about it like that,” he said. “It’s important to be friendly and genuine when teaching kids. They’re very bright and they can tell if you’re a phoney.

“I’ve learned so much at Concordia that I feel I want to give something back by volunteering my time,” he continued. “It’s the least I can do, and I know Matt feels the same way.”

Garston even went so far as to have his trademark long golden locks of hair chopped off for a children’s charity. “Yeah, I figured, why not—it was for a great cause,” he said. “They actually auctioned off turns at cutting my hair.”

Boutin devised a way to make learning Shakespeare a treat for high school students at École Jean XXIII in Dorval. “We had fun learning Macbeth and Hamlet,” he said. “It was a little like pulling teeth at first, but once I got them on board it was a real pleasure.”

Boutin may decide to take his TESL certificate and travel overseas to teach some day, but for now he hopes to get a job teaching in a high school near his home in the Eastern Townships. He says his friendship with Garston is very important to him.

“He’s a real stand-up guy, a class act,” Boutin said. “We’ve both had a lot of good times at Concordia. We’ve met so many great people, and we’ll miss it.”