Hill Top loses a talented alum, John Robert (J.R.) Porter

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On behalf of Headmaster Needham:

It is with great sadness that I share news of the passing of John Robert (J.R.) Porter, a 2005 Hill Top graduate. J.R. was incredibly artistic and talented, and is so fondly remembered by his Hill Top teachers and friends.

A memorial service will be held Saturday, August 9th, at the Donohue Funeral Home located at 3300 W Chester Pike, Newtown Square, PA… 19073. The family will receive guests from 12 to 1 pm, and the service will take place from 1 to 2 pm. Friends and family are then invited to the home of family friends in Berwyn after the service; the address will be shared during the service.

The Porter family has requested donations to Hill Top Prep in J.R.’s name in lieu of flowers. They have set up a fitting tribute, a photography and social skills fund, to honor his memory and support future Hill Top students with interests and talents like J.R. Donations can be sent to Hill Top Preparatory School, Attn: Marion Kassab, 737 S. Ithan Ave, Rosemont, PA, 19010. Please reference the J.R. Porter Fund on the check.

J.R. mom, Jane, shares this beautiful reflection of her son’s love and passion for a gift that came naturally, photography:

John Robert Porter loved photography. He had a special eye for nature–flowers, animals and birds, big and small. He loved to go to Longwood Gardens to photograph the plants. In 2008, he went on a wild life photography trip with his dad Rob to Colorado to and retu…rned with amazing photos of large animals and birds. Photography was the medium that allowed John to form relationships that were so very difficult for him to initiate. It allowed him to approach someone and say, “Would you like to see some of my new pictures?” John had his photos in archival books, so he could sit next to the person and feel comfortable having a conversation about the photo. Over time, this way of relating led to more confidence about interacting with others. At Hilltop Prep, the interaction between Photography with Social Skills classes was paramount in his development as a person. I plan on continuing to work in this vein with his Photography teacher, Marion Kassab at Hilltop Prep, as I believe it is an under explored area of communication for young people struggling to relate to others.