Dawson College teacher to retire after 10 years of scaling buildings to change lights, flags

WATCH ABOVE: Dawson College physical education teacher Mark Abbott is retiring from teaching -- and scaling the school's buildings. Global's Rachel Lau meets the man who changes the college's lights.

Dawson College physical education teacher Mark Abbott doesn’t remember how long he’s been scaling buildings, but he does remember the first time he was asked to climb to the top of the school’s Mother House a little over 10 years ago.

The college needed someone to show an architect-engineer around to check on the state of the heritage building.

“I guided him around, we took pictures of the building,” he recalled.

“I’ve been teaching climbing for a long time, so I know what I’m doing.”

A little while later, he got another call from the college.

“They said, ‘Oh, the lights are out on top of Dawson, could you go up and change them?'” he told Global News.

“So, I said, ‘OK,’ and that’s what I did every time the lights went out.”

P.E. teacher Mark Abbott sits on top of the dome at Dawson College.

P.E. teacher Mark Abbott sits on top of the dome at Dawson College.

Dawson College

He’s been doing it ever since — with a little help from a couple across the street.

“ would look at the statue of Mother Mary and when the lights would go out, they would call the maintenance department at Dawson and say, ‘Hey, the lights went out,'” Abbott told Global News.

“And then they would call me, and I would go up.”

Now, much to the dismay of his students, the certified rock climbing guide is getting ready to retire — in 15 days.

“I don’t know if they will call me ,” he said, thinking of his retirement.

“But I’ll be open to it.”

P.E. teacher Mark Abbott getting ready to scale the dome at Dawson College.

P.E. teacher Mark Abbott getting ready to scale the dome at Dawson College.

Dawson College

rachel.lau@globalnews.ca

© 2018 The Canadian Press

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