Meet Matt!

Matt joined The Open School’s virtual program right after his 16th birthday in 2021 and is graduating this year! Matt lives on the East Coast so he connects to all of the Pacific Time activities three hours ahead. He says his favorite thing about school is the time difference because he can have more of a balanced sleep schedule. He is lucky enough to be able to start school at a later time than most students! Some of Matt’s favorite virtual activities to do are playing Jackbox Party Packs, Among us, and talking and hanging out with his virtual friends! He says his favorite memory from being at school was the virtual farewell party that was thrown for Eric, a past staff member!  

Throughout his few years at The Open School, Matt has experienced important personal growth. He says: “I have learned a lot from different people. Being at this school has allowed me to center myself after being in public school. I have spent a lot of time really getting to know people in our community. In traditional school you don’t have much time to connect and learn about your classmates because of the giant workload given to you. I’m happy that I was able to have a better experience here!”

Matt is the first fully virtual student that has completed the two year diploma program! The first part of the program was traveling to New York City with his cohort for their adventure. He says: “My trip to New York was really good but very different. I have never been to a city for a long period of time. I got to see an actual Broadway musical on Broadway which was super neat. I am also very much of a zoo guy, so visiting The Bronx Zoo was exciting as well! One of my favorite memories was when my cohort and I were eating dinner at a rooftop restaurant and the DJ had asked us where we were all from. He was ecstatic and so amused that I was here from Ohio. He then began to yell out to the whole restaurant “Shoutout to Ohio!!” and pointed to our table. It was quite memorable and I’ve never been happier to be from Ohio.” Well shoutout to that DJ for making Matt feel so honored! 

Matt and his group had many activities scheduled for each day of their trip and made sure to take in all of New York while they were there. His main takeaways from his adventure was understanding how much time and effort goes into planning and organizing your day to day things. 

Alongside his adventure, Matt spent these past few months designing and working on his capstone project. He had taken a career assessment test and had decided to base his project around the specific results he received. The test had said he would make a very good zoo or museum specialist. Luckily for Matt he is very passionate and knowledgeable about animals and wildlife! He says: “For my project I wrote a 3,000 word essay about ten of my favorite reptiles. Each reptile section had about 300 words. I also did five interviews that were five minutes long explaining and discussing everything about my chosen reptiles. I was able to film four out of my five interviews in one take as well!” Matt’s main reflection from his capstone experience is: “I learned to set reasonable goals and boundaries for myself. It is better to have a project or goal that is manageable and you can reach, rather than shooting for the moon and not being able to get it done.” 

His advice to any students considering joining the diploma program is: “Do not worry about getting a job so fast to raise money for your adventure. You have one year after your trip to make it up and can work towards it either during the summer or that school year.” 

As Matt reflects on his last year of being a student at The Open School, he says this is a very good place! He is super grateful that he was able to be a part of this community for his last few years of high school!