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Humans of Delbarton: Teacher and Coach Patrick Savidge

Humans of Delbarton (HOD) is BACK as our series of personal profiles continues to unfold this school year. On the last Friday of each month, a new HOD story will illustrate what makes Delbarton, well, Delbarton. Our community is filled with dedicated individuals, from students, faculty and staff, to parents and alumni, and each person has his or her unique Delbarton Experience story to tell.

The concept for Humans of Delbarton is inspired by a viral series of profiles and stories known as 'Humans of New York'. The series began as a photography project in 2010 where photographer Brandon Stanton began interviewing his subjects and included quotations and anecdotes from their lives.

Meet Delbarton Math Teacher and Coach Mr. Patrick Savidge:

Savidge grew up in South Windsor, Connecticut where he lived with his parents and five siblings. “Having so many siblings definitely shaped me into who I am today. We spent so much time together and were always outside running around, playing sports, and having fun together.” Before landing at Delbarton, he graduated from the University of Delaware where he studied mathematics and competed on the school’s swim team.

Savidge is a member of the Delbarton math department as well as a coach for both Delbarton's swim and tennis teams. Prior to college graduation, Savidge knew he wanted to go into teaching. “At the end of my sophomore year in college, I knew that I wanted to teach. I was tutoring calculus, physics, and computer science for a lot of my teammates in college, and really enjoyed hearing about their success on exams as a result,” he said. As he celebrates his fifth year at Delbarton, Savidge continues to work with his students to encourage them to enjoy math and see the subject not simply as a series of memorization challenges. Instead, he trains them to look at math conceptually and realistically. “When confronted with new problems, they are able to persevere through the problem and apply the concepts that they have learned to them, even if they haven’t seen problems like them before.”

Outside of teaching, Savidge spends time with friends and family or finds new ways to compete. From hitting the slopes on a ski trip to a friendly game of hoops, Savidge likes to live an active lifestyle while also finding balance in the downtimes. “I play a decent amount of chess and also enjoy some videogames, particularly dominating Mr. Chuquimarca in Fifa,” he jokes.

Earlier this month, Savidge fulfilled a bucket list goal: finishing an Ironman Race. “Growing up, I had always described myself as an athlete and loved competing. Once swimming came to an end after graduating college, it definitely felt like a huge hole was left in my life,” explained Savidge. After signing up for an Ironman competition towards the end of 2021, he began training for the Ironman Maryland race earlier this year in March. With six months of intense training, he was ready to tackle this challenge head-on.

An Ironman comprises three parts: swimming, biking and running. The race launches with the swimming portion of 2.4 miles which Savidge felt the most confident in. “The swim was a lot of fun, but there were some small jellyfish in the water. I took probably about 30-40 stings to the face over the course of the swim, so I was happy to finally get out of the water.”

Next up was the bike portion. The Ironman Maryland had a relatively flat biking track of 112 miles. The flat terrain made this part of the race a little less strenuous for participants. “The bike course at this race is known for being the flattest of all the Ironman races, which I welcomed with open arms. Even though it took me five hours and twenty-three minutes to complete, the time definitely flew by, along with many of my competitors.” The last piece of the Ironman was the running portion: 26.2 miles. “The race was tough,” says Savidge. “Definitely some very low moments for me mentally. Around mile sixteen, I started to walk. I was exhausted and found it hard to believe that I still had ten miles to go, having already raced for about nine hours at that point. Luckily, my cheering squad, made up of my parents and girlfriend, gave me some much-needed encouragement to get me running again.” With a finishing time of ten hours and twenty-eight minutes, completing his first Ironman is something Savidge reflects on proudly. “The feeling of crossing the finish line is something I’ll definitely never forget. The sense of relief that the race was over and the sense of pride that I accomplished what I had set out to do.”

As a Green Wave swim and tennis coach, Savidge plans to take what he learned from his Ironman experience and use those lessons to guide his student-athletes. “I think my one piece of advice is really to savor every moment – not just the ones where you feel great after accomplishing something, but even the tough ones through training. Remember what it felt like to push through the challenging moments because those are the memories that you can dig back up and feed off of when things get tough during competition.”

Reflecting on his time on campus, Savidge finds the best part about Delbarton to be the people. “My favorite aspect of teaching at Delbarton, as clichéd as it is, is the community.” From attending various events like the events hosted by our DAP students or sporting events to the musicals and plays held by Abbey Players, there is something for everyone to enjoy. “It’s awesome to get to see the whole community come together outside of the normal 8:00 am-2:45 pm school day.”