The Crown Prince: Mr Toby Collis Handford

Saturday, April 10, 2021 - By: Will P, Whittall ‘22

Being a new teacher at Brentwood can be a difficult and intimidating task. It becomes all the more difficult when you are expected to live up to a name that is royalty at the school. The Collis name is the stuff of legend here at Brentwood, and it takes an extraordinary man with extraordinary talents to not only handle that pressure, but thrive under it.

He goes by not one, not two, but three names. He’s young. He’s tall. He’s got an incredible mustache. He’s Toby. Collis. Handford.

After four years of study at UBCO and then UBC, the alma mater of Collis Sr, and despite a questionable resume (he failed Sculpture 9 at Brentwood), Mr Collis Handford got a job at Brentwood as one of the youngest teachers at the school. He may be the youngest, but apparently, I have to successfully defend him in flag football to find out his true age. Regardless, TCH carries himself with a demeanor that belies his years and is endearing to his students.

It is clear to see that TCH shares many similarities with his old man. While ability (or willingness) to grow facial hair is not one of these similarities, his love of sports, his sense of humor, and his infectious enthusiasm certainly are.

In his first year teaching at Brentwood, Mr Collis Handford has already taken on a multitude of roles. Besides his work as an English teacher, he also does duty on Wednesday nights in Whittall House, coaches as part of the soccer program, and is the supreme leader and self-proclaimed superstar of the Brentwood flag football program in its inaugural year. That’s an impact.

While he has already had an immeasurable impact through his diverse skill set, it’s his positive attitude and friendly demeanor which has won the hearts and minds of his students. Then again, this may just be because they think he’s a student himself. Grade 10 English student Davis P, Whittall ‘23, agrees, saying, “TCH is a great teacher, but he’s also a great guy. Sometimes I even forget he’s my teacher because of how talkative and friendly he is.”

While he did not give back to Brentwood by “offering a donation or pioneering a disc golf academy” as he once planned, he gave us all a gift much more valuable: himself. The future of Brentwood looks bright when Mr Collis Handford is in it.

Will P, Whittall ‘22

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