Where are they now – Jacob Hopper (SPC 2014-15)

September 6, 2023

The College recently had the pleasure of welcoming back Old Collegian Jacob Hopper (SPC 2014-15), who was guest speaker at the College’s John James Football Presentation Dinner at the College’s OCA Pavilion, overlooking the Main Oval, on Tuesday evening.
Jacob kindly took the time to chat with us about where life has taken him since leaving SPC and some of his fondest memories.


Jacob Hopper was guest speaker at the 2023 John James Football Presentation Dinner.


Jacob is now playing with Richmond FC in the AFL.

Where has life taken you since leaving St Pat’s?

Well, I originally went to Sydney playing for the GWS Giants in the AFL. I loved my time there and it was a bit warmer than Ballarat, but very different city as well. It was great. I’ve had my first year in Melbourne this year with Richmond FC. It was good to get back. I always felt like there was a part of me that wanted to get back into Victoria. It’s exciting playing at the Tigers now, we didn’t make finals this year, but I’m sure we’re in for better things in the next couple of years.


Jacob was College Vice-Captain in his final year in 2015, and is pictured with 2015 College Captain Kelsey Gannon.

Do you have family ties with St Pat’s?

Both my brothers went here, my older brother Zac (SPC 2011-12) and younger brother Sammy (SPC 2016-17, PY2018), and now my mum and dad are here working in the boarding house (Deanna and James Hopper joined the College this year as Boarding Head of House and Director of Boarding respectively), so the whole family has had something to do with the SPC community.

We had a family friend from Leeton, NSW, Justin Gordon (SPC 2009-10), who came to the school and that’s how we heard of St Pat’s, so we have Justin to thank. They are a great family.


Jacob, who was First XVIIII captain, raises the 2015 Herald Sun shield and celebrates an historic win with his team mates.

What are your fondest memories of your time here at St Pat’s?

I think obviously the connections with football and to play footy for the school was something that was really cool. I saw my brother play footy for St Pat’s and to see that sense of tradition and connection was something that was a real honour to be a part of, and I loved it.

The boarding house was also great fun. There were definitely moments where you got homesick, but the friendships that you make in the boarding house were life-making, and I’ve still got them now and we still catch up, so that is something that I am forever grateful for.

I had a lot of fun, I pushed the boundaries at times, which is all part of it, but now mum and dad can worry about those kids who want to push the boundaries. Ha!

The school itself is a great school and it has great teachers. The people are great. A place is only as good as its people. And I feel like the people here (at SPC) are fantastic.


Jacob, pictured in the 2015 First VXIII Football team photograph, as published in the 2015 College Annual.

Jacob celebrates the 2015 Herald Sun Shield with SPC football coach, teacher and mentor Howard Clark.

Which teacher from your time at SPC had the greatest impact on you? Why?

There were a few and I’ll feel guilty for just naming a couple. Mr (Barry) Schuurs was great, I think he always respected that I had a lot going on, but I did try my hardest and I hope he would agree with that.

Obviously, Mr (Howard) Clark with footy, he was always helping me out. Also Mr (Shane) Murphy. All good guys, I mean, there’s obviously more, but they’re the ones that come to mind.


If you could pass on a message to the students that are here today, what would that be?

My message would be to lean into the people, lean into the school. It’s such a great community. I think in life that’s something you crave is that connection to people and a place. And that’s something that can be really special, especially here at St Pat’s.

And to just be curious.

Jacob, pictured in his Year 12 class photograph in 2015.