Mr. “Phil,” as he is fondly called at Venture School volunteered at Venture for 24 years. At age 60 nearing retirement as editor of Dairyman’s Digest, a publication of Associated Milk Producers Inc., Mr. Phil knew he did not want “to retire from something, but to something.” He enrolled in graduate school with the purpose of gaining skills solely for the purpose of helping others. At age 65 he earned a Master’s Degree in Social Work from the University of Texas at Arlington. He then volunteered as a school social worker at Venture.
Mr. Phil served every student, in one way or another, who attended Venture during the 24 years (and over 23,000 clock hours). One tradition Mr. Phil started that continues today is Tuesday Popcorn. A freshly popped bag of popcorn is given to every student who had perfect attendance the preceding week. Mr. Phil said this effort was born out of the idea that people are quick to acknowledge others for doing things that are wrong but not so quick to acknowledge others when they have done something right. Providing a bag of popcorn to students who attended the five prior days does just that, acknowledges them for doing something right.
Mr. Phil came to Venture with a life full of service experiences and wisdom. He began his service as a young man in World War II. Mr. Phil is a World War II Veteran and survivor of Iwo Jima. He landed on Iwo Jima the first day of battle with the third platoon wave. This Photograph of Mr Phil Porter at the Battle of Iwo Jima hangs in our building as a tribute to all who have served and contine to serve our country.
Mr. Phil has been awarded many awards for his volunteering over the years including being acknowledged in 1995, by then Governor Bush, as the volunteer of the year in education for all of Texas.
He also was an Olympic Torch Bearer twice in 1996 for the Atlanta Summer Games and again in 2002 for the Salt Lake City Winter Games . The two torches he carried are pictured above.
The Faculty, Staff and Students, both present and past, wish "Mr. Phil" Porter a very happy 90th Birthday! May you have many more to come.