Our OCA vice-president Ben Martin (SPC 2009-14)
author: Lorrie Liston
The College chats to our new vice-president of the St Patrick’s College Old Collegians Association, Ben Martin (SPC 2009-14).
Where has life taken you since your student days wearing the “green, white and blue”?
After applying to study a Bachelor Degree in primary education, I soon deferred after receiving a job offer to work for an insurance brokers. Damon Edwards, who is also a fellow Old Collegian (SPC 1996-2001) and a good friend of mine, offered me a position at Adroit Insurance Group at the start of 2015. After spending 10 months with Adroit, although it was a good learning experience where I was introduced to the insurance game and a vast number of new faces, the office just wasn't for me. After finishing up with Adroit on Christmas Eve, I worked with my dad for about six months as a gardener whilst I saved every cent that I could before taking off to Europe to enjoy their summer. Upon my return, I was fortunate enough to be offered an apprenticeship with Macneil Group as an apprentice carpenter.
What are your favourite memories of your time at St Patrick’s College?
Of the six years that I spent at St Patrick's, there were a multitude of events, occasions and people that made my time at the College an extremely memorable and joyful experience. I was never a standout sportsman or academic genius when it came to college life, however, I did make the most of every opportunity that was presented to me. The rowing program became a huge part of my life and was also like a second home to me in my senior years. Although I was not able to win Head of the Lake in my final years, it was the program itself, the coaching staff and the rowers that made it all worthwhile. Aside from the rowing program, there was nothing I enjoyed more than simply going to school and appreciating the time spent with my friends in an environment I felt comfortable. When previously asked if I enjoyed school, I have often said that I would go back and do the entire six years again. The whole experience is extremely memorable in itself.
What was your nickname at school or something you might be remembered for by your school mates?
I was never cool enough to have a nickname that stuck, however I did have the privilege of leading St Patrick's as the College Captain in 2014. Nonetheless, I was just your average student. For me it was never a popularity game, I was never there to impress anyone or try and be somebody I wasn't, what you saw was what you got. It is for that reason that I hope the majority of my peers can remember at least one personal conversation that we shared at some point in time over the years.
Do you have any other connections to the school?
I was involved with the rowing program as a coach for two seasons after my time as a rower, where I was able to coach and take a very impressive Year 10 division 1 crew to the Australian National Rowing championships held in Sydney. Although I have since resigned as a coach in the program, I am still close friends with many of the coaches and staff. I was also fortunate enough to be offered a position as a committee member of the Old Collegians Association. This year will be the third consecutive year that I have had the privilege of sitting on the committee alongside a number of highly respected Old Collegians. I have so far thoroughly enjoyed my years on the committee and can only hope for many more to come.
Why is St Patrick’s College still important to you?
The reason I continue to invest my time into the college is because I want the current and future students of St Patrick's to have similar opportunities to those that I was offered in my time. Since finishing my schooling, I have spent a considerable amount of time trying to give back, and especially in the rowing program. Now that I have resigned from my coaching position, this year I hope to devote a larger portion of my time to the College and give back to the boys and the community. On a more personal note, if I ever have a son I would love for him to be able to attend St Patrick's and experience all that I did and much more.
What do you hope to achieve in your incoming role as vice-president of the SPCOCA?
I would definitely like to see a broader range of events and functions that target our younger generations of Old Collegians. Our golf day is extremely popular and we always manage to get a number of familiar faces back, however I would like to look into and explore a few new ventures in terms of fundraising and events in general.
If you could pass on a message (or two) to our Old Collegians, what would they be?
For some of our more recent Old Collegians that may be uncertain as to which path they wish to go down after their time at St Patrick's, I suggest that they simply go with their heart. Working hard is good for your soul and achieving small goals along the way can be so influential for your overall happiness. I urge you to challenge yourself and not be afraid to change direction, always approach life with integrity and most importantly don't be afraid of failure. To all of our Old Collegians, we would love to see some more faces at our functions and events. The relationships you have formed with one another during your time at St Patrick's can only be maintained by keeping in contact with each other, and this is a great way to reconnect.