Alumnus of the Issue: Kevin Fitzpatrick ’92


Ethan Rowley

Former Malvern Prep student and MTS member discusses his life now as a teacher, filmmaker and enthusiast, and as a father.

After a handful of different jobs in video production after college, Mr. Kevin Fitzpatrick advises a video production program at Great Valley High School. He moderates the school’s filmmaking and video production clubs.

“The filmmaking club is dedicated towards analyzing and producing short films,” he said. “The video production club is a whole lot of organizations rolled into one.”

Every morning, the students that Fitzpatrick oversees put on a news-style broadcast for the school community.

“On a typical morning, students involved in the video production club get in earlier than everyone else. The normal homeroom starts at 7:40, mine starts at 7:20, so it’s an extra 20 minutes they have to prepare the show and make sure everything’s working properly,” Fitzpatrick said.

Ths show ranges from three to seven minutes in length depending on how much content the club has to have to cover in a given morning. The show isn’t the only work that the club does though.

“The other things that we film around the school [include] plays, concerts, [and] National Honor Society inductions,” he said. “[It’s] those kinds of things that the video production club is responsible for recording for posterity”

Fitzpatrick says that his passion for video production was initially fostered when the TV studio was started during his junior year.

“They came over to the theater department and said, ‘we’re looking for a few kids who are willing to go on air and help work with stuff,’” he said. “So that’s how I got into video production.”

Fitzpatrick enjoyed the program from the outset despite its limitations as a brand new organization.

“It was a fledgeling program at the time and we were still trying to figure things out as opposed to being able to robustly do anything,” he said.

Fitzpatrick said that production program served as an outlet for multiple facets of his mind.

“It was an outlet for my creativity, but it was also an outlet for my analytical mind,” he said. “Working with technology and working with equipment and scheduling and that kind of thing.”

According to Fitzpatrick, the young program at Malvern is what gave him the idea of studying video production in college, and that study lead him into his current career.

The production studio wasn’t the only place that Fitzpatrick got to express himself creatively while at Malvern, however. He was also an avid member of the Malvern Theater Society.

“That was really what I woke up and went to school for,” he said. “Those times and those moments being on stage opening night, having the energy of the audience and putting on these great plays. I was really glad to be a part of it.”

Fitzpatrick says his favorite MTS show as a performer was Gramercy Ghost.

“It’s an oddball little play set in New York about a ghost that comes to visit and who falls in love with a woman who lives in his apartment. It’s a weird little romantic comedy,” he said. “It was so much fun and really entertaining.”

Fitzpatrick said that as a student at Malvern, English was his favorite subject, and that then-MTS director Mr. Richard Roper’s English class was his favorite.

“I was big into the English program,” he said. “I read a lot and was into the plays … Mr. Roper was one of my teachers who really fostered that and really encouraged me … I really vividly remember being in his class.”

Fitzpatrick says that current students should do their best to try new things, even if it’s beyond their comfort zone, “Try everything you can,” he said.

“Settling into a niche is good because then you have a lot of practice in that subject or topic, but try a little bit of everything because there might be something else that you hadn’t even thought about that you could get into and really love and be good at,” Fitzpatrick said. “Once I found [theater], that’s what I did. That’s why I say try other things because there might’ve been other things that I would’ve enjoyed … trying other things during my time [at Malvern] probably would’ve benefited me.”

He also says that students should understand that finishing work is better than leaving good work incomplete, since students will never learn from leaving many good projects without finishing them.

“So many students are focused on, ‘I want to do the best’ or ‘I want to make the greatest,’ or ‘I want to make the apex of’, not realizing that in order to do the best you need to practice, you need to do it over and over again,” he said. “If you never finish that history paper, you get a zero. If you hand in a bad history paper, you at least get something. It might not be a 100%, it might be 80%, but at least you got 80% and not zero.”

Fitzpatrick says that he used to have students who wanted to complete feature length films in high school without realizing the complexities of the process and inevitably leaving unfinished projects.

“I used to get kids coming into my office all the time saying, ‘I want to make a feature length film by the time I graduate high school!’” he said. “I’d say, ‘why? That’s just not practical,’ … Start with a three minute film, then a six minute film, then a ten minute and you progress from there.”

Fitzpatrick also says that he agrees with the idea that life gets better, but not without personal development, “I believe that it gets better because you as an individual learn to compensate and develop workarounds,” he said.

Fitzpatrick contends that students in high school and college have a lot of responsibilities, and that things get better as people get older because they’ve developed the skills to compensate for shortcomings and developed those workarounds that they didn’t have when they were younger.

“In high school and in college … [there are] a lot of things that you want to do, a lot of things that you need to do, and you haven’t gotten to the point where you understand your own workarounds and what you need in order to achieve your goals,” he said. “You figure out what you need [to do] and that makes your perception of the world better.”

Fitzpatrick says that you may even encounter the same issues in the future that you find in high school in college, but that in the future the difference is that you’ll have prior experience that helps you to better deal with those situations.

“It gets better, but you as an individual get better as well,” he said.

Fitzpatrick keeps busy beyond the workplace and is heavily involved in the film community. He serves as the Vice President of the West Chester Film Festival, which brings in over 14 hours of films to show every year from locations as far away as Europe, Asia, and South America.

“It’s really cool to bring that kind of art to West Chester and to the community,” he said. “They’re coming from all over the world, so it’s interesting to see these different cultures and their perspectives.”

Each year, the festival brings in plenty of films that are both nominated for and go on to win Oscars. “Our acceptance in scheduling is before the Oscars, but the actual festival is after the Oscars,” Fitzpatrick said. “It’s pretty cool because some years we’ll get a selection of films and one of them will win the Oscar but we like one of the other films better.”

He says that his favorite film is Braveheart.

It’s an old one, but it’s historical, which ties me to my love of Shakespeare, and the story that was told along with some of the special effects in the battle scenes and fights were so incredible and impressive,” he said.

In addition to keeping busy with films, he is the father of three adopted children children from Korea ages nine, seven, and four.

“We just adopted my youngest a little over a year ago, so she comes with all of the challenges of being four, and the challenges of being new to everything,” he said. “The language, the culture, the food, the smells, the way that people treat her, it’s all new to her.”

Fitzpatrick’s son is a ballet dancer performing in the Brandywine Ballet’s production of The Nutcracker for the third time.

“I’m really proud of him for doing that. At seven that’s not the easiest thing to do, he doesn’t necessarily talk about it with his friends but I know he’s proud of doing that.”

Fitzpatrick’s oldest child is a state champion in Taekwondo and has competed at the world level as well as the state level.

“I’m a state champion at Taekwondo. I brag about that, but my daughter’s actually a five-time state champion, so she’s better than me,” he laughed. “She’s really involved in that and we’re really proud of that … she’s gained so much confidence and experience in meeting people. Going up to someone and hugging them then trying to beat them up two minutes later, and then they hug afterward. It’s really cool to see that from a group of nine year olds.”

Fitzpatrick’s wife also recently bought a yoga studio in West Chester, which he says has brought a host of challenges associated with running a new small business.

“There’s been a whole lot of interesting things going on in the last year alone,” he said.