March 5, 2010
School named after Tiger Jeet Singh
By GREG OLIVER - Producer, SLAM! Wrestling
The honours keep rolling in for Tiger Jeet Singh. On Thursday, it was announced that Tiger Jeet Singh Public School will open in Milton, Ontario in September.
"It's very big news, and a big honour for the family," Tiger Jeet Singh told SLAM! Wrestling.
The city of Milton, about 30 minutes west of Toronto, inducted Singh and his son Tiger Ali Singh into its Milton Hall of Fame in 2007.
The new Milton elementary school, which is almost completed at 640 Yates Drive, will host junior kindergarten to Grade 8.
Four names were considered for the school: Tiger Jeet Singh Public School, Coates Crossing Public School, Robert McCaw Public School, and John Deacon Public School.
The school board meeting was tough to sit through, said Tiger Ali Singh. "It was excruciating. We were there at the board, but unbeknownst to us, we didn't know it was going to be a unanimous," he said, adding that the announcement was "very emotional."
Milton author and historian John Challinor II made the presentation to the board, and stressed that the honour should be made based on Tiger Jeet Singh's philanthropy and humanitarian works.
"Naming the new school for Tiger Jeet Singh would afford students and staff at that institution regular access to someone they could relate to and who could mentor them the way he does to thousands of others," Challinor said.
Singh is not the first professional wrestler in Canada to have a school named after him, however. That honour first went to Whipper Billy Watson. In 1993, the York Region District School Board named W.J. Watson Public School in Keswick, Ontario, after him for all his charitable works.
In an interview with the Toronto Star, Area Trustee Donna Danielli addressed the decision, which has been met with some controversy given the violent nature of professional wrestling.
"He definitely makes a difference in the community and I believe that he will be a very positive role model and mentor at that school -- he plans to be very involved," Danielli said.
Tiger Ali Singh said the family was going to take it a step further than just being involved with the school. "Now I've got to get all my kids going to that school!" he laughed.
Greg Oliver has been writing about pro wrestling since 1985. His fifth book, SLAM! Wrestling: Shocking Stories from the Squared Circle has just been released. The four previous books are Benoit: Wrestling with the Horror That Destroyed a Family and Crippled a Sport (with Steven Johnson, Heath McCoy and Irv Muchnick); The Pro Wrestling Hall of Fame: The Heels (with Steven Johnson); The Pro Wrestling Hall of Fame: The Tag Teams (also with Johnson) and The Pro Wrestling Hall of Fame: The Canadians. Order them all from the SLAM! Wrestling Store. He can be emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org.