June 10, 2007
Name: Richard Porac
Department: Physical Education
Year started at Blair: 2003
Classes taught: Health, Honors Health
Education: University of Maryland; Health Education major
Previous Jobs: waiter, camp counselor, student teacher
Hobbies: football, baseball, jet skiing, playing guitar
When the bell sounds at 2:10 p.m., students pile noisily out of the P.E. hallway, toward their buses or friends. In the midst of the hysteria, a teacher leans casually against the wall outside his classroom, slapping hands, laughing and joking playfully with students on their way out. The day however, is not nearly over for Richard Porac, a notoriously entertaining health teacher.
At 28, Porac has been teaching at Blair for four years and does not plan on leaving any time soon. As an ESOL and Honors Health teacher, as well as the coach of the JV boys' baseball team, Porac is engulfed in his profession yet manages to have fun.
Though he was always interested in coaching, Porac did not consider teaching health class until his junior year at the University of Maryland. While substitute teaching in his hometown, Hagerstown, Maryland, Porac was inspired to pursue his teaching career. He decided to switch his major from Biology to Health Education and embarked on his new goal of becoming a teacher and high school coach.
In his college senior year, Porac spent eight weeks as a student teacher at Eastern Middle School then at Blair teaching health classes with Susan Soule. A year later, Porac got a job as a health teacher at Blair.
He attributes his appreciation and love of Blair to its unique student body. "My favorite thing about Blair is the diversity of the students. I like how it is a Magnet and CAP school, and has programs such as ESOL and SPARC. The variety…complements the student body well," he says.
In addition to coaching the Magruder boys' basketball team in the winter season, he is greatly involved in the Blair community and athletic department. Whether it is taking kids to games and practices, or teaching sports camps at Takoma Park Middle School, Porac's time is largely spent on sports and his students – something he wouldn't have any other way.
But high school sports are not the extent of his passion for sports. Porac does not hide his obsession for the Pittsburgh Steelers, as his mood of the week often rides on the outcome of the Steelers' last game. Porac enjoys professional baseball in addition for football as well. "I love going to professional games, especially baseball," Porac says. "Going to Nationals and Orioles games are always lots of fun."
Once school is out, he can be found in Ocean City, where he waits tables at Nick's House of Ribs in the summer. Porac states that he has always loved the ocean and enjoys jet skiing while he is in Ocean City. "Ever since I was a little boy, I loved the ocean. Living in Ocean City is a fun time and gives me the opportunity [to] jet ski and do other things I would not have time for otherwise."
As a young teacher, Porac has many plans for his future. He would like to continue his teaching and coaching career, but hopes to eventually become either the principal of an elementary school or an athletic director.
Porac says he is in no rush to accomplish his goals for the future. With a smile he jokes, "When you're 15, you think 28 is ancient, but once you're 28, you're still young!"
For now, Porac is doing what he loves: teaching and coaching. His outlook on his profession is the same that he has on sports. "It's for the love of the game," he says.