Phil Stubbs retires after 30 years shaping lives of young people

WHEN Phil Stubbs moved to Cooma with his family in 1984 to take up a teaching position at Monaro High School he thought it would be for just a few years.

Little did the retiring principal of St Patrick's Parish School think he would still be here some 30 years on.

"Our eldest son's asthma specialist said "move somewhere dry and cold"! He rarely had asthma since then," Mr Stubbs said.

"What my wife Sue and I thought would be a couple of years in Cooma has unfolded into 30 years involvement with a very special town."

Mr Stubbs is retiring at the end of the year after almost 40 years in education, including the last five years as principal of St Pat's.

After leaving school, Mr Stubbs followed his passion for the French language and worked at the Banque Nationale de Paris in Sydney for two years before being conscripted into the Australian Army and spent two years as an army officer in various postings in NSW and Victoria.

"I did quite a bit of instructing, as well as people management, in the army and that put the idea of teaching in my mind, something which I had never previously considered," he said.

"Then I went to university in Sydney for four years and began teaching at Engadine High and Caringbah High School in Sydney."

He said he has seen many changes in education over that time, none more so than the use of technology.

"From the bulky, expensive computers of the 1980s when staff and students were transfixed by a little green bar moving across a monitor screen through to the myriad of devices available in education for students to use today, with the associated responsibility of how to use them appropriately both in and out of the classroom," he said.

"But despite all the changes in teaching techniques, technology, political influences and administration of schools the one constant has been the need for caring, competent and committed teachers in the lives of our young people and I have been privileged to share my time with just such a group of people in both government and non-government schools during my teaching career."

Mr Stubbs began teaching at St Pat's in 1990 when Kevin Dunne was school principal. He became a secondary coordinator, then assistant principal for the late Carolyn Jones, prior to becoming principal in 2009.

"The school has undergone a significant physical transformation in the last five years with the relocation of the Infants Campus from Cooma North and the refurbishment of the Primary Campus, allowing the whole school to be centred around the same site. It is now timely that my successor, Mrs Frances Robertson from Marian College at Griffith, will have the opportunity to oversee the redevelopment of the 130-year-old Convent building and surrounding classroom blocks next year," he said.

Mr Stubbs said the highlights had been consistent throughout his career and centred around having an influence on the lives of young people.

"As a teacher we may never really know the impact we have on a child's life until many years later and it has often been when I have enrolled the children of ex-students that their parent has spoken of the value of their formative days at St Pat's," he said.

In retirement, Mr Stubbs said he would be spending more time with his family, have fewer meetings, do some writing and also take the opportunity to enjoy the beauty of the region.

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