A science teacher at The School of Total Education (SOTE) until his passing in 2015, Fox left a lasting impression on those he taught and worked with.
“He was probably one of the kindest and most thoughtful people I’ve ever met,” Shane Power, principal at the school, says.
‘Generous’, ‘dedicated’ and ‘humble’ were other words mourners chose to remember him by at the teacher’s memorial service, to which some 300 of his past and present students attended.
But words alone can sometimes fall short when it comes to celebrating the memory of someone who touched so many lives.
Power says the school wanted to create a permanent tribute to the teacher; and when one student suggested the school build a laboratory in Fox’s honour, it wasn’t hard to find members of the community who were ready to get behind the idea.
The principal says the Roy Fox Science Centre is intended to commemorate the man as well as his vision for the future of the school.
The teacher had been working on his own designs for a school laboratory before his untimely death, with the plans to feature prominently in the final construction.
Fox had been involved with SOTE since its inception in St Kilda, Melbourne, in the 1970s, eventually relocating to Warwick in rural Queensland to establish the school’s primary campus.
A small independent school, SOTE offers a “holistic” approach to education based on the vision of the school’s founder, Vijayadev Yogendra.
The total education model puts equal emphasis on the academic as well as the spiritual development of students – “nurturing each child’s character while instilling a love for learning”.
It’s the philosophy that informed Fox’s teaching right throughout his career, says Power.
“He had a belief that every child had the capacity to learn – particularly in relation to his pet love, which was physics.”
And that’s not to forget his willingness to go above and beyond his duties in the classroom.
“... it was just his way of life. He was just really thoughtful and [always] anticipating what people would need,” Power says.
He says they raised $70,000 dollars in donations alone for the centre, all the more remarkable for the size of the school (SOTE graduates only about 15 students each year).
The school was able to raise the balance of the cost through a combination of government grants and fundraising initatives. Construction of the Roy Fox Science Centre is slated to be finished in the coming month.