Where are they now – Nathaniel Winfield (SPC 2004-09)

December 9, 2020

The College recently reconnected with Nathaniel Winfield (SPC SPC 2004-09) who is always a friendly face among the students and staff as a current teacher at SPC and Head of the Religious Education Facility. Nathaniel was recognized for these attributes with his nomination this year in the College’s governing body, EREA’s staff awards program, for gospel spirituality. Nathaniel shares his story with us and some of his fondest memories of school life.


Nathaniel Winfield is always a friendly face at SPC.


Where has life taken you since leaving SPC?

After leaving SPC, I went straight into university and studied a Bachelor of Arts with a double major in English Literature and Philosophy. Beyond this, I’ve studied at ACU and the University of Melbourne. I’ve worked as a learning support officer in the Ballarat and Melton Specialists schools and was a middle-school teacher at the Melton Specialist School. I’ve been to Burrundi in Eastern Africa, China, and recently to the USA. Most importantly, I’ve had three wonderful daughters and been married to my wife for since 2016.


How is the coronavirus presently affecting your work and industry?

Coronavirus has been a challenge, but humanity has been through more significant events. Working remotely had its joys and pitfalls – namely missing the contact with the students. Yet, it also gifted the insight of being able to see what is important in life. Moreover, that slowing down and finding grace in the smallest of moments has been a genuine blessing.


Do you have family ties with SPC?

No, not that I am aware of.


What are your fondest memories of your time at St Patrick’s College?

My fondest memories are the moments spent in real learning – whether that is with friends in the yard or in the class. In the classroom there were many genuine moments, especially in the later years, where there was silence in the classroom as an awareness of the sacredness of what was being taught came into being. We all know these moments in our heart – the times where there is silence in the classroom not out of discipline, but out of recognition that something special was being encountered.

Nathaniel Winfield, pictured in his Year 12 class photo in the 2009 College Annual.

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

This is a challenging question, there were many teachers that taught me more than the curriculum. These were the teachers that had a profound impact. Three such teachers I can think of are:

Ian Fernee – For sharing the gift of his time, enthusiasm, and warmth in all encounters.

Sara Taylor – For raising the expectations of what was capable and always sticking to it.

Geoff Brodie – For his recognition of the deepest desires of the heart. He pointed me towards philosophy and is the reason I still study it to this day.


How has your education shaped your professional life?

St Patrick’s taught me the value of friendship, hospitality, and critical thinking. Each of these has shaped every encounter I have had through my life professionally. I often think that if I didn’t receive the invitation to join the College that I wouldn’t be where I am now. There is something unique about the College’s emphasis on the person both inside the classroom and outside of it that draws out the best in you if you let it. There are many caring staff that taught me how to care for the other.

Nathaniel Winfield with his Year 8 class at SPC in 2018.

How has your time at SPC shaped your personal values and your family life?

Family life was always held as the most important facet of a person’s life and still is at the College to this day. I have found that the College’s embracing of the family and the emphasis on developing relationships with those around us has been essential in the way I try to be a father.


If you could pass on one message to the students of today, what would it be?

Excellence is a matter of habit, not a singular moment. Aspiring to excellence in all facets of life – the Aristotelian virtues are best defined as ‘excellence’ – will be a fitting way to accept the gift of the life we’ve been given. Remember, we’ve already won the lottery by being born into a world where we aren’t starving or hungry each day. That is a special gift.