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George Laparidis (2012) and Kate Schinckel (2009) were recently nominated as the new Presidents of the Pembroke Old Scholars Soccer Club and the Pembroke Old Scholars Women’s Soccer Club.

31 May 2023

George, you are a dentist with Winwood and Mann Dentists. What inspired you to become a dentist?

I grew up in a family of dentists, which meant I was lucky to know what the profession entailed from a young age. The technical side of the job is extremely interesting and a great mix of surgery, medicine, art and science; however, it was the patient interaction that really inspired me to enter the profession.

I feel extremely privileged to be able to have a positive effect on people’s lives by improving their smile, getting them out of pain or just making them feel comfortable when they’re nervous. I also feel very lucky getting to know so many interesting people from different walks of life while doing so.

Who/what has been the biggest influence on your career and why?

Definitely my Dad, who is also a dentist. I’m lucky enough to work with him and my sister Sophia (2014 Leaver). We have my brother Johnny (2017 Leaver) joining the practice as well! Dad has been a fantastic mentor who has taught me a lot about dentistry that isn’t really covered at Dental School. More importantly he has been an amazing role model who has helped me develop into the person I am today.

My Year 11/12 English teacher and Senior School Home Group Tutor at Pembroke, Ms Felicity Lobban, also had a massive influence on my formative years. She put a lot of emphasis on the importance of being a well-rounded, informed individual who contributes positively to society, which is something that has always stuck with me.

What has been the most significant challenge you've faced in your career as a dentist, and how did you overcome it?

The COVID-19 pandemic was a massive challenge that the profession had to overcome. The majority of our work involves aerosol-generating procedures, meaning SA Health were understandably concerned about dental procedures spreading the virus. As such we were unable to see patients for a period of time, and when we re-opened there were very strict restrictions regarding the procedures we could undertake.

An unfortunate consequence of these restrictions was the significant increase in patients who were presenting to us with serious oral health issues as they hadn’t been to a dentist since before the pandemic. Post COVID-19 we’re making sure our patients are getting back into their regular dental routines, which has had a hugely positive effect on their oral health.

George playing soccer copy

Now, onto your role as President of POSSC. How do you balance your passion for soccer with your professional career, and what have you learned from this balancing act?

I find that with good time-management skills and a lot of support from those around me, especially my amazing partner Jen, the roles complement each other really well. I’ve always placed great value on the importance of community, and I’ve found that POSSC has provided me with something that I can look forward to being involved with once the working day is over.

What goals do you hope to achieve for the club during your Presidency?

My main goal is that everyone at the club embodies our core values of one club, mateship and success both on and off the pitch—these values are what have made our club culture great and will continue to do so moving forward.

I’d also like to build on the club’s relationship with Pembroke and encourage as many leavers as possible to pull on the canary yellow once they finish their studies!

You’ve been a part of POSSC for 11 years now; why do you keep coming back each year to play for the club and why did you decide to nominate as President?

I joined POSSC as a 17-year-old Pembroke Leaver and instantly fell in love with the community and its culture, which is the reason that myself and so many others come back year upon year. The club has also provided me with many positive role models who have helped to better me as a person.

I’ve actually stopped playing soccer to focus on my other love of triathlon, so being on the committee is a great way to stay involved with the club. I’ll forever be in debt to the club for what it has given me, and nominating for President was driven by a desire to give back to its amazing community.

Your committee (including yourself) are all volunteers. What do you think drives your passion to stay involved with POSSC?

POSSC really is a second family to a lot of us. The club and community mean so much to so many people, with a lot of fond memories and close friendships formed at Park 17. Everyone in the committee wants POSSC to be the best it can be, and we’ve got a really young and motivated group who are very excited to build on the amazing work that those before us have carried out.

Can you share with us one of your favourite memories of your time at the POSSC?

I was lucky enough to be a part of the 2021 POSSC A Grade Championship winning team—we hadn’t won the CSL Division 1A title since 2013, so it was great to bring the trophy back to Park 17. A notable detail about that team was that the majority of its players, as well as our Head Coach and Assistant Coach, were Pembroke old scholars. We beat Uni White at Park 17 to clinch the title and a few of my old schoolmates from the 2012 Leaver cohort came to watch, so it was really special to celebrate with them after the game at the ground where we’d played for Pembroke together.

Pembroke Old Scholars Soccer Club

2021 POSSC A Grade Championship winning team

Kate, what inspired you to become a teacher?

I’ve always been interested in a broad range of areas and have been keen to learn as much as I possibly can about the world and just about everything in it from day one! Teaching is so enjoyable because it means I’m surrounded by this pursuit every day.

Who/what has been the biggest influence on your career and why?

My friends who helped me realise after my first year of university that Civil Structural Engineering wasn’t the right choice, and that I should have a crack at teaching French instead!

What do you hope your students will take away from your classes, both academically and personally?

As a language teacher I of course hope that my students will achieve a high level of proficiency, but also empathy for those who experience the challenge of having to communicate every day in a language that is not their first. I hope that they will also get to understand and enjoy the benefits of long-term commitment to improving a skill.

Kate Schinkel

Now, onto your role as the new President of the Pembroke Old Scholars Women’s Soccer Club (POSWSC). How do you balance your passion for soccer with your professional career, and what have you learned from this balancing act?

I am very lucky to have a strong committee that I work with who are very reliable. We are all volunteers who have busy lives outside of soccer, as are the majority of people running amateur sporting clubs across Australia! Figuring out what each of us is good at and sharing the load accordingly works well.

What goals do you hope to achieve for the club during your Presidency?

The club had three teams for the first time in 2022 and my aim for this year is to keep these numbers strong, as well as maintaining our club’s culture, which is so welcoming and positive. This year in particular we are keen to have plenty of social events to make the most of the FIFA Women’s World Cup being held in Australia!

You’ve been a part of POSWSC for a while now; why do you keep coming back each year to play for the club and why did you decide to nominate as President?

This will be my ninth season for the club. The women I play with are brilliant—they’re funny, talented and great to be around. It’s unlikely I’d be getting outside on a rainy Thursday night in the middle of winter to exercise if they weren’t out there with me! I also love a bit of competition and game day is always exciting. I am really grateful that I’ve been able to be part of this club for so long, and I nominated for President to do my bit to make sure that others get to enjoy this same experience now and in the future.

How has your experience as a teacher influenced your approach to leadership within POSWSC?

Being a teacher equips you with a really wide range of skills—IT, organisation, motivating people to do things when they’re not really in the mood ... I think the experience of being a teacher sets you up to be able to take on a diverse variety of tasks and face challenges with a sense of humour.

Can you share with us one of your favourite memories of your time at the POSWSC?

It’s not all about winning … but our club’s first league title in 2019 was unforgettable. It had all come down to the last match of the season and we managed to put away the winning goal in quite literally the last minute of the game!

Candace Cox-Tuck
Manager, Old Scholar Engagement