Where are they now - Kelvin Porter
author: Lorrie Liston
The College reconnects with Kelvin Porter (SPC 1968-73), who has an incredible bond with SPC. Kelvin attended St Patrick's as a student, returned as a popular teacher to the boys in the 1980s and 1990s and has also proudly witnessed his three sons become St Paddy boys.
What were your various roles and responsibilities during your time at SPC?
I began teaching at St Pat’s in 1984 as a teacher of Form 1D and Mr Michael Brady was my Form 1 Co-ordinator and, having only taught primary previously, I relied heavily on Michael's guidance and support. Looking back, I realise just how lucky I was to have such a competent and experienced leader in Michael to "show me the ropes". I remained in Form 1 for about six years and then I moved into Year 8 (Form 2) where Mr Maurie Holloway was my Year 8 Co-ordinator and during these six exciting and happy years, I was fortunate to also work with a legend of the College, Mr Tony Martino. Tony was a very dedicated, successful and respected coach of the First XI cricket team. Once again, this proved to be a steep learning curve for me as a teacher, as I was confronted with young men who were very challenging in their thinking, in their attitude towards school and also in their behaviours. This experience assisted me in my next role, that of Year 8 Coordinator. This position had become vacant due to the retirement of Mr Maurie Holloway. Like Michael, Maurie had been a great mentor for me teaching me so many tricks of the trade, some of which I have been using up until when I retired from teaching.
Next I was to take on the role of Year 9 Coordinator which I enjoyed immensely. Year 9 boys are at an interesting stage in their human development and I learnt so much from working with them as they helped me understand their struggles with maturing but I also hope I was able to assist on their journey to manhood. My next roles were Year 7 Coordinator and then Director of Pastoral Care.
What are your fondest memories of your time at St Patrick’s College?
My favourite event at the College was supervising the Tug of War event on the Hill Oval during the College Athletics Carnival. I regarded this event as the blue ribbon event of the whole carnival. Each year level competed against each other. With the junior levels there was very little "tweeking" of the rope, but as the older years competed, they put so much effort into the event that the rope actually “twanged and talked”. There were clouds of dust, moaning and groaning, slipping and sliding, blood, sweat and tears, body odour, spectators cheering for their House to win and also some cheating, with some of these spectators, whilst the supervisor had his or her back turned, occasionally jumping in to ensure their House won the blue ribbon event of the Athletics Carnival!
With coaching at the College, it was always cricket for me.
Where has life taken you since leaving SPC as a teacher?
Having been at St Patrick's College for so many years and enjoyed and learnt from the variety of experiences that the College had offered me, I knew I needed to move on and look for an opportunity that would rejuvenate my teaching and my working life.
Catholic Regional College, St Albans, in the western suburbs of Melbourne offered me that opportunity. The principal, Ms Christina Utri, appointed me as Connors House Leader. This proved to be an amazing year for me being immersed into such a multi-cultural school which had enrolled students from 43 different ethnic backgrounds. It must be said that I experienced quite a lot of difficulty attempting to pronounce their names let alone spell them. The staff were amazingly dynamic and supportive and so vibrant in their teaching. This year proved to be a highlight of my teaching life. It required me to dig deep into all the teaching skills and techniques that I had learnt so that I could attempt to succeed to be an effective educator in such a vibrant community.
Next I was to return to Ballarat as Deputy Principal of Wellbeing and Special Needs at St Aloysius Primary School, Redan. The immersion into the primary school sector was a huge challenge and learning curve for me. I felt like I was back at the beginning of my teaching with all the learning which was required of me. After three years as deputy, I became a Grade 3/4 classroom teacher which I enjoyed immensely and from which I gained much joy and satisfaction from building relationships with my class of students and assisting them to learn and grow.
During 2016 I ruptured my Achilles tendon playing in my son's indoor cricket team in Melbourne. Needless to say I had an operation and a whole term of sick leave to recover. It was during this rehabilitation time that I decided to retire from teaching and begin a new career as a retiree. So, at the age of 61, (2016), I am now retired.
How has your time at SPC shaped your personal values and your family life?
My connection with St Patrick's College began in 1968 when I began as a Form 1 student. My three sons also attended the College. A little bit about my wonderful family: Nathan is married to Jo, has two children, lives in Ballarat, and has his own architect business; Martin, partnered with Adele, lives in Brunswick, and is a teacher; Julian is married to Samantha with one child, and is an accountant living on the Gold Coast; Felicity, partnered with Clint, is an osteopath and lives on the Gold Coast; Molly-Rose, partnered with Fraser, is studying to be a teacher, and living in Brisbane, and Rosemary, my wife for 38 years, is a Special Needs Coordinator at Lumen Christi Primary School, Delacombe.
If you could pass on one message to the students of today, what would it be?
Here are two sayings which I have used frequently in my life which have given me precious guidance – “Something's lost and something's gained in living every day” and “When you hit a brick wall, walk along that brick wall until you find an opening”.