Leaving his Abington home and Archbishop Williams behind, Mike Matthews, Class of 2017, is experiencing the first chapter in the journey of a class valedictorian. No more shoveling, no more slippery car rides to get to school. Mike now wakes up to the blue, blue skies and the year round summer weather of sunny California. UCLA is now home to Mike.
Mike continues to set high academic goals for himself. With a double major in Physiological Science and Spanish, this former Bishop credits his alma mater with preparing him for the rigors of his college studies. “Williams helped me to learn how to manage my time and study efficiently. Archie’s gave me a strong academic foundation that I have been able to build on since coming to college. I’ve always been interested in learning another language. That only grew stronger in high school, thanks to my teachers. A second language would allow me to connect with another world that otherwise I would not be able to connect with and that drove me to become fluent in Spanish. My science program is the first step in preparing for a career in medicine.”
Life in southern California has been what Mike envisioned it to be. The best part? No surprise – the weather. The downside. The distance. “The hardest part is not being able to come home whenever I want. However, in a way, it’s also a good thing because it has forced me to be completely independent and helped me establish a life for myself on the West coast.”
Always a student involved in school activities and a competitive national gymnast, Mike has found his niche with the UCLA’s JumpStart program.” Jumpstart’s goal is to promote early literacy in under resourced communities. To do that, JumpStart members are put into teams of four and five people who are assigned to a local preschool where they work for a year to implement a national literacy curriculum. I just completed my first year and looking forward to my second year assignment.” Having been a Peer Minister as a high school senior, where service is integral to that ministry, Mike is already planning some of the chapters that he plans to write in the future and service is a driving force that Mike hopes will enable him to” work for a year in the Peace Corps serving a Spanish speaking country. From there, I hope to go to medical school and work in pediatrics and/or global health”.
Every year, as graduates work across the auditorium stage to receive their diplomas, they are encouraged to be brave, to dream, to change the world. Mike Matthews heard the call. “Oh! The places you’ll go” and the lives, Mike, you will enrich.