Life beyond Radford

Last updated 26.03.2018

John Fraser

Lives South Coast, Australia
Number of years at Radford 14 years
Year began to teach/work at Radford 1989
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What does life look like for you now?

I have been teaching at St Peter’s Anglican College in Broulee on the NSW south coast since the school opened in 2003. I am proud to be one of the only two foundation staff members still at the college and have been part of an incredible journey establishing a brand new school. I have been married to my beautiful wife, Tracey, for 17 years - we have moved to Malua Bay in the last 12 months having previously lived in Denhams Beach. I am still passionate about my music and am very involved in various guitar related activities and bands both within and outside the college. I ride my bike several times a week and still think that I am a 20 year old athlete - my body, however, tells me otherwise...

What’s your most endearing memory of Radford?

I am incredibly grateful to both Radford and to Jock Mackinnon (Foundation Principal) for kick starting my teaching career. I started teaching at Radford as a very green uni graduate in 1989 and spent a very happy 14 years in the school. There are too many memories perhaps to single out one in particular but the experiences and friendships are ones which have very much shaped who I am today. I reflect on my time at Radford with great fondness.

I thoroughly enjoyed my involvement in a series of Year 9 camps in the early 1990s and realise what a life changing experience these were for so many students. I remember being put in charge of the Second IX cricket team in my very first week of teaching and being called ‘sir’ by Year 12 boys who not only were only a couple of years younger than me but were absolutely bigger, stronger and much better cricketers than I ever was... Over the years I coached soccer, cricket and softball before focussing on the cocurricular music program. I have proud memories of establishing the college’s Rockband in the mid 1990s and our tour to Tasmania in 1996 will remain an enduring memory.

Who or what left the greatest impression on you during time at Radford?

I met Boyd Gibson on my first day at Radford and he said “Fraser, I will give you two pieces of advice. Keep a low profile and get a second job”. It still makes me laugh today. The dedication of the staff and the sense of belonging to a special community are enduring memories. Graeme Wigg was firstly a Deputy Principal, and later Principal, who had a passion for the college and a deep sense of loyalty that perhaps only a foundation staff member can have. My homeroom in the mid 1990s singing along to Tom Petty songs every morning was a special time. And I fondly remember playing ‘shoe cricket’ with the Year 10 boys at lunchtimes - this was a game they invented when they were told they could not play with a bat in the main quadrangle incase they hit the students who were dotted around the place eating their sandwiches... I still remember being impressed with the skill of David Dawson in particular - he went on to play Sheffield Shield cricket.

When you think of your time at Radford, what are you most grateful for?

As I said before, I am most grateful for the opportunities Radford gave me to start my career and to develop into the teacher and person I am today. I was lucky enough to know that I had a great job before I had finished my Dip Ed and I could not have wished for a better school in which to commence teaching. I still feel very close to the college and a number of the staff with whom I was fortunate to work.

What is unique about Radford?

I think ‘unique’ is a much misused word. However, Radford was in its infancy when I started teaching and it was a privilege to be part of the first two decades of its history. To be part of the growth of a young school is not ‘unique’ but it is something that not every teacher gets to experience. I am lucky that I have been able to contribute to the early history of both Radford and St Peter’s. I think schools such as these provide a safe, supportive and caring environment and that is something so important for every young person - let alone the quality of the academic and cocurricular programs on offer.

Where are you now?