A Portage Life in the Spotlight: James Kirk

A Portage Life in the Spotlight: James Kirk
By: Sergio Valdes Last Updated: December 11, 2019

Editor's note: James Kirk is in the middle in this feature photo

“You always got to keep dreaming bigger!”

This is what James Kirk had to say about reaching goals and elevating his aspirations to new heights. An engineering and technology teacher at Portage High School for the past five years, Kirk has a passion for the craft and a love for people.

“I wanted to be a teacher as far back as high school,” Kirk said. “During my time in Boy Scouts, I was often responsible for teaching the younger scouts, so I quickly discovered I had a knack for it.”

Kirk teaches Introduction to Engineering Design, Introduction to Transportation, and Civil Engineering & Architecture at the high school.

“During my college years, I discovered my love for the field of engineering. So by combining these two passions, now I get to do something that I love every single day.”

When Kirk is not busy teaching, he is the assistant coach for the Portage High School robotics team named The Porta-Botz. This team creates robots to compete against other schools from cities such as Indianapolis and Syracuse, and even against teams from around the world. The students work throughout the week to create a bot that will fit within certain constraints and limitations. The core objective of every competition is to solve some sort of problem.

“This is something I love to do. And sharing this with my students and forging them into the leaders of tomorrow makes me feels great and makes me believe that the sky is the limit.”

Some of the team’s accomplishments include the 2016 U.S. Open Robotics Championships National Champions, 2017 Indiana State Design Award, 2018 VEX Robotics World Community Award, and 2019 VEX Robotics World Innovate Award.

“It’s really cool to see how we have progressed overall and how much the team has achieved success over and over again,” he said.

Even after all of these accomplishments, Kirk believes there is still so much room to grow.

“I’m still pretty young, and I do think that I’ve come a long way, but I’m still looking for ‘what’s next.’ How can I take my skills to the next level, and where do I go from here?”

Kirk mentioned the possibility of teaching college-level courses or even becoming an administrator in the future.

“All of this success has come at me faster than anticipated. If this is what has been accomplished in this short amount of time, I can’t wait to see what is in store for my engineering students, robotics team, and me.”