Transitioning from middle school to high school is hard, but spending your freshmen year in three different schools is even harder. This is what graduating senior Nicholas Matte had to face nearly four years ago.
Matte began his high school experience at Pembroke Academy where he studied for approximately two months, but as an Epsom resident, getting to school proved a challenge in itself as he needed to get rides from friends who were willing to drive out of town to get him.
For this reason Matte began schooling through the Virtual Learning Academy (VLACS), where teachers posted assignments online and conferenced with students over the phone. During the second quarter of the school year, Matte decided to transfer to Concord High while still finishing his VLACS courses.
Transferring halfway through the year meant that Matte had quite an adjustment to make. “I was really quiet and shy and I didn’t know anyone at all because I had never been in the Concord school district,” he said.
“I went to the library and I just sat around reading books and I thought, ‘I hate it, I don’t like this place.’ ”
Matte kept an open mind, though. “From there, I just got used to it and I started liking it sophomore year. Since then I’ve been more open, less shy, quiet.”
Matte also found things he loved about Concord High, including its teachers. “I had Mrs. Jared freshmen year and now I have her senior year, which is cool. And Mrs. Voth was just loud and funny.”
Matte also recalls one teacher in particular who proved to be an inspiration. “Mr. Petzold, who I had sophomore year, was the first teacher who respected his students like adults. He would call kids by their last names, so I was Mr. Matte. I just thought that was kind of funny because he’s the only teacher that does that.”
“During his labs that we would do in class, when you asked a question he wouldn’t answer it,” Matte continued. “He would say ‘I don’t know.’ It helped me to learn because I learned not to just ask questions and not try to figure things out.”
Having Petzold during sophomore year proved to be the perfect timing, Matte said. “He was my teacher when I was changing the most, from shy to outgoing. I started caring more that year and I think that’s mainly due to his class.”
Matte said there’s lots he’ll remember about the school. “I have a routine here; it’s comfortable. This is where I transitioned from middle school thinking to high school thinking and getting ready for college thinking. It feels like it’s been longer than four years.”
He’ll also remember Principal Gene Connolly. “Between sophomore and junior year, I think it was, he got diagnosed. Just to see him change was pretty dramatic. I remember him coming into the classroom just to watch and say a few things.”
Though Matte has grown a lot in his four years, he still has some regrets. “I wish I got involved with soccer. I played back in the second grade and I wish I had kept with it in middle school.”
To next year’s freshmen, Matte offers some advice about high school. “It’s not as bad as you think. Don’t think about the movies and the TV shows because it’s nothing like that.” To next year’s seniors, he says, “Senioritis is inevitable. Don’t fight it.”
This fall Matte will be off to the University of New Hampshire where he plans to study for four years. Though he will miss the friends he has made here, he is eager to make new ones. “I think college is the time to meet new people, not to hang on to high school friends.”