Where are they now – Tom Clark (SPC 2013-18)

September 8, 2023

The College was delighted to welcome back Old Collegian and former Vice Captain Tom Clark (SPC 2013-18) who recently passed on his knowledge to our Year 12 students, presenting his latest venture “Ctrl Your Scroll”. Tom tells us more about this initiative and shares some of his fondest memories of his time at SPC!

Tom Clark.

Where has life taken you since leaving SPC?

After completing Year 12, I did a gap year working at St Pat’s as the HaPE trainee. After this gap year, I went on to attend St Mary’s (a Melbourne University residential college) for two years whilst studying a Bachelor of Laws/Global studies at Australian Catholic University. Within my studies, I was lucky enough to study a semester abroad in Rome. It was on this trip I came up with the idea for my latest venture – Ctrl Your Scroll.

You recently shared your new “Ctrl Your Scroll” program with our Year 12 students to help them in the lead-up to their end-of-year exams, please tell us more about this initiative?

Tom chatting to the Year 12 students recently about his Ctrl Your Scroll initiative.

Ctrl Your Scroll is a program and presentation which provides research-based information to students about practical ways to reduce their phone use and form healthier relationships with their phones. It addresses phone addiction and ways to maximise productivity by helping young people use their phones more productively and become consciously aware of their screen habits.

The initiative started with my own phone use when I was traveling and studying in Italy on a year abroad. I was finding myself spending around six hours a day in the most beautiful and engaging parts of the world. I couldn’t believe that in such places I felt the urge to continually use my phone. It was at this moment I knew I had an issue!

From that moment, I have spent most days researching data, reading peer-reviewed studies, talking to experts and listening to conversations about the dangers of over stimulation from phone usage. Ctrl Your Scroll uses all these learnings to present an engaging, practical and real life technique based strategies to taking back control of our phone usage!

Tom, pictured with his family at SPC’s 125th Anniversary Dinner in Melbourne, including brothers Will (SPC 2010-15) and James (SPC 2017-22) and parents Howard (current staff) and Jane.

Do you have family ties with SPC?

I have extensive family ties with SPC. Both my brothers, most my cousins, all uncles and Grandpa all attended SPC for the entire duration of their secondary schooling. My Dad, Howard has worked at St Pats for many years.

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

I have many fond memories of my time at St Patrick’s College. One which sticks out is getting to play on the MCG in Year 12 in the Herald Sun Shield final. Although we lost on the day, the memory of getting to live out a childhood dream on the MCG with my best mates is something I will forever remember.

Other memories I hold dear are those times spent in the Student Council and being a College Vice-Captain. Experiences on leadership camps, congress meetings and making a real difference in the College community is something I look back on fondly and with great pride.

Above all else, spending lunchtimes with all your mates is something I look back on with the greatest fondness. You don’t realise it at the time, but spending that quality time with your friends on a daily basis is something which occurs less and less and times go on.

Tom, who was Vice-Captain in 2018, pictured alongside student leaders, College Captain Sam Williams, centre, and fellow Vice-Captain Dean O’Brien.

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

Mrs (Narelle) Dixon was my business management teacher in Year 12 and really taught me a lot about study and work ethic. Mrs Dixon would always be so generous with her time and really cared about us boys and how we went. I found that the more she invested in us, the more I would want to give back to her by achieving good results. Mrs Dixon will always stand out as a teacher who had a huge impact on me, teaching me valuable lessons which I still use in my study, work and life in general.

How has your education shaped your professional life?

An education at St Pat’s undoubtedly shaped my professional life in a quantifiable manner. From the education to the social side of SPC, I truly believe that successes in my professional life are attributed to my experiences at SPC.

Perhaps most importantly, the strong network of Old Boys and the supportive structure of the Old Collegians’ Association is one which definitely comes in handy in your professional life. I have found that in most professional dealings, there will either by an Old Boy or a SPC link everywhere you go!

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

I think using every opportunity at your disposal is something I wish I had known when I was at school. The people, contacts, experiences and education you receive at St Pat’s is truly one-of-a-kind. Utilise all that it has to offer and that way you won’t have any regrets. You never know when those experiences, contacts or knowledge will come in handy in the future!

Tom, pictured in his Year 12 class photograph, in 2018.

Tom, pictured in the SPC First XVIII Football team photograph, as pictured in the 2018 College Annual. Tom says playing in the Herald Sun Shield final on the MCG will be a memory he will remember forever.