Mentone Grammar

Paul Watson

Design & Digital Technology Technician

M Teach (Secondary), BPA 

During his formative years, Paul’s parents made a bold decision that would forever change him. They packed up their life in the south-east suburbs of Melbourne and drove three hours north to begin the adventure of a lifetime – setting up their own wildlife park!

“We had crocodiles, ostriches, the lot…” Paul casually confirms, as though these are perfectly regular childhood pets. “We all really loved animals, so it just made sense.” His parents were living a mantra that resonates with Paul to this day, “Find a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.”

Far from being a disgruntled teen, Paul was grateful for the opportunity to move to the country. “It prepares you for life. You become very self-sufficient and learn how to fix all sorts of things.” At school, Paul had a deep interest in Computer Science, Art & Design. Coupled with the manual skills he was acquiring by helping his parents on their property, he became very practised at problem-solving and thinking creatively. This led him to pursue a career merging machines and creative processes. His technical roles spanned screen printing, sign writing and machine operation before he found a niche in managing print rooms.

Paul first arrived at Mentone Grammar in 2013 as the Fuji Xerox Print Room Manager. “In my previous role, I didn’t interact with many people, and all of a sudden, I am surrounded by lots of smiling faces every day. It was wonderful. It made the time go very fast.”

Paul quickly became renowned among students and staff for his willingness to go above and beyond to help anyone with their projects. After a decade of working at the School, a colleague discovered Paul had a portfolio of creative projects of his own and urged him to submit a piece to the 2023 Centenary Art Exhibition. Paul produced a beautifully crafted wooden chess board which demonstrated his sophisticated level of skill. “The Business Manager at the time, Nicole, tapped me on the shoulder and said ‘I had no idea you could do this kind of thing’ and she encouraged me to apply for the role of the Design & Digital Technology Technician.”

These days Paul proudly declares that he is in his ‘dream job’. Still working at the intersection of machines and human creativity, he describes a new layer to his role which is the most rewarding – the students. “I love being able to share something new with them and see that they’re also excited by the possibilities.”

Paul’s greatest achievement? “Becoming a father. Nothing is more rewarding than this.” Paul beams as he speaks about his 8-year-old daughter and he hopes to continue to share his love of manual arts with her as she grows older.

Written by Deborah Callahan