Posted Oct. 8, 2019
Paul Freire – Soccer Coach Extraordinaire
Hometown - Vancouver (Coquitlam)
Did you attend Immaculata as a student? No, I attended St. Thomas More in Burnaby
Where did you attend university and what did you study?
I first attended Simon Fraser University where I studied a variety of subjects including psychology, history, business, and education. I met my wife who was living in Kelowna and transferred to OUC to finish my degree in education.
Current role: Athletic Director, PHE 9 and 10, and Religion 8
How long have you been at Immaculata? 14 years
Why do you choose to work at Immaculata?
It is a Catholic school. I believe that through an education at Immaculata, students can strengthen their faith and build a base that can help lead them through life. At Immaculata our Catholic faith permeates every part of the school.
What about Immaculata are you most proud of?
That the community that is built at Immaculata extends outside of our current student body. My wife and son are both alumni. My younger son goes to school, and plays soccer with sons of alumni, and I coach my son’s team with another one of our school’s alum’s. It is a tight-knit community that provides a solid base for our students.
What do you enjoy most about your job?
Watching the development of students throughout the school year. Improving their knowledge and skills through hard work and determination. This is nowhere more apparent that on the sports teams. Watching the development of individuals and the team has provided me with some of the greatest moments of joy in my career. I am proud to have started the soccer program at Immaculata in 2006 and the record since is outstanding. Every team has made it to the Provincial Championships. Our girls team has qualified for the Provincial semi-finals in every year since 2006 and has won 8 Provincial Championships (2007, 2008, 2009, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, and 2019). Our boys team has made it to the Provincial final game 4 times; 2010, 2014, 2016, and 2018, winning gold in 2016. Watching those teams play to the very best of their ability, and achieve amazing feats has been immensely important for me as an educator.
What goals do you have for our students?
I would like all of our students to have a solid base in their lives when they walk across the stage. To be positive members of society, and to achieve whatever they set their mind to.
What life lessons do you hope to convey to our students?
That though times may be tough sometimes, with persistence you can overcome anything. As Walt Disney said, “keep moving forward.”
What is the best lesson you’ve learned from a student?
That teachers do not have all the answers. Students are bright and creative individuals that add to the collective intelligence of a school. Many years ago, one of my students came up with the mnemonic, “Super Man Helps Every One,” to remember the West to East order of the Great Lakes. Students are ever creative and can bring great surprises.
What were you like in high school?
I loved my school experience. I was proud to be a student of St. Michael’s and St. Thomas More, and so I would try to take every opportunity provided to me to show that love for my school. I joined various clubs including the dance club, the poster club, and the pep club, and I played a variety of sports throughout high school, including going to two Track & Field Provincial Championships and finishing 2nd place in the 4x400 metres in my grade 12 year, playing on the basketball team in my junior years, and playing on the football team that finished second in BC in grade 12. These experiences taught me a variety of life lessons that would come in handy when I became a teacher and coach.
What do you like to do in your spare time?
I love sports, so most of my free time revolves around watching, coaching, and playing sports. I love every sport out there (my favourite sport is Gaelic football although it is not on TV much). The only sport I don’t understand is cricket, so if someone wants to teach me the rules to a sport that takes 5 days to play, let me know. In every league I have a favourite team (Leafs, Barcelona, Liverpool, Lazio, Lions, Seahawks, Bulldogs, Fighting Irish, Wolverines, Raptors, Whitecaps, Blue Jays) and I love talking sports.
Who are the most important people in your life?
My family. My wife’s name is Patricia; she is a grad of ’98 (with Mrs. Vos). My children are Raiden (grad ‘18), Kiera (grad ’22), Luca (grad ’28), and Dominic (grad ’29).
One little piece of fun personal information:
My family loves to spend time together and we love to go camping and on long road trips. We have driven to Disneyland, Las Vegas, Phoenix, and Toronto. And on the way have stopped along the Oregon Coast, Mount Rushmore, the University of Notre Dame, and Niagara Falls (to name a few). Our favourite vacation is still our annual trips to Silverwood, which we have been taking for almost 20 years as a family, and Patricia has been taking since she was a child.