Behind the Tassel – Matthew

Matthew Howard: An Alumni Who Gives Back Every Day

As most anyone on campus knows, Matthew Howard is a well-respected and hard-working member of the Board of Child Care staff. After only two years as head of the on-campus mechanic shop, he has found ways to save thousands in unnecessary charges and updated operations in numerous ways.  What’s less well-known is that he’s also an alumnus of Strawbridge School. That’s not surprising since, as he says, he did not fit the profile of a “typical” student.

“Not everyone who attends Strawbridge School comes from adverse homes,” says Matthew. “My family life is actually pretty solid. I was lucky for that, compared to a lot of the other kids here. I have a lot of support from both of my parents.”

Yet the school proved to be the right fit for him, in so many ways. More important, the transformation that he experienced during the three years he attended was textbook. Matthew admits he never felt comfortable in any school, and the middle school years were particularly difficult for him. “I had a lot of challenges [in 7th and 8th grade], a lot of anxiety and social problems,” he says. “I was super-antisocial and had a really hard time in large groups of kids. So I just wound up leaving school to go hang out in the woods for 6 hours. I just needed to be by myself.”

The public school system tends to be intolerant of such behavior, and eventually, after receiving some counseling and being transferred to several different schools, Matthew wound up as a day student at Strawbridge. As it turned out, it was what he needed most. “In public school, it was like you were up to something if you didn’t want to go to class or anything like that,” he says. “Their answer is always ‘no.’ here [at Strawbridge], it was more like, ‘how can we help you get back into class at some point?’ There is just a strong level of support here for any problems I had, which was really helpful.”

Matthew says Strawbridge’s focus on the individual student’s need, along with small classrooms guided by education specialists, were key to his ability to grow and eventually thrive. “Coming here felt more comforting, it just seemed different. Here, they were accepting of the type of person I was,” says Matthew, who graduated in 2001. “They don’t try to ‘fix’ you, they just try to help you understand that it’s OK if you’re different. A lot of it is just helping you accept and understand who you are.”

One of the things that helped him cope and find a pathway forward, he says, was the school’s flexible curriculum. “I had a lot of electives and I was given more ways to express myself,” he says, adding that he spent a lot of time in the wood shop during senior year, which allowed him to find inspiration and discover something he liked to do. In fact, he originally intended to pursue a career in carpentry after graduation.

Eventually, his desire to work with his hands — and to work indoors on solid ground, rather than up on a roof in bad weather — led him to join his father’s auto mechanic shop. He worked there for a decade and gained experience, know-how and increased responsibility.

In 2015, when offered the opportunity to come back to BCC to run the on-campus mechanic operations, Matthew couldn’t resist. “It felt like it would be cool to come back and work here and give something back,” he says. “I am happy to be back here. It feels like home.” Giving back includes mentoring and teaching: “I have kids who work with me from time to time, and if any are willing to learn, I am more than happy to teach them.”

And not just about maintaining and repairing vehicles, either.

“I tell them to embrace this place,” he says. “This place has a lot of support and a lot to offer, and I think it’s important that they acknowledge that.”

Learn more about our graduates at Behind the Tassel.

 

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Behind The Tassel – William

 

LIFE IS A GREAT BIG CANVAS, THROW ALL THE PAINT YOU CAN ON IT! – Danny Kaye

William R. is a graduate of a local high school. His favorite class in high school was Gifted and Talented (GT) Art.  He plans to begin at a community college and then hopes to transfer to Stevenson University in order to enroll in a Visual Arts program.

William earned 105 hours of community service. He wrote about the impact of his experience volunteering at the senior citizen center and Boys and Girls Club of Harford County.  He reflected on learning about his own feelings and attitudes as he worked with people who were different than himself.  As a result of his self-reflection, he immediately changed his way of interacting with others.  During the event, one of the staff observed how well he was doing and complimented him.

Our Committee was extremely impressed with not only Will’s community service but his ability to articulate the impact it had on him.

Please join us in congratulating William on receiving the Mathis Award for Community Service! Go to Behind the Tassel for more pics and moments!

 

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Behind the Tassel – Cambria

PICTURED FOR SUCCESS!

Cambria W. is a graduate of a local high school. Her favorite class in high school was Economic and Public Issues.  In March of this year, Cambria was awarded student of the month at her school because of her focus, strong determination, leadership skills and participation in classes.

Cambria plans to begin her studies at a local community college and then transfer in order to complete her Bachelor’s degree in the arts. Her dream is to go to the Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA).  She states that she has found great pleasure in photography and hopes to move into videography as well.  Her goal is to become a professional photographer with a concentration on photo shoots for animals.

In recognition of her plans for continuing her education, Cambria receives a scholarship from Chase United Methodist Church. We congratulate Cambria and wish her well!  Go Behind the Tassel for more pics and moments!

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Behind the Tassel – Franki

Franki is an Anne Arundel County high school graduate where she achieved stellar academic success. She earned a weighted grade point average of 4.11 and non-weighted of 3.66.  As of May 12, 2017, she ranked 23 out of 341 in her class.  Her favorite class was AP World History.  Her student transcript is filled with many Advanced Placement and Honors classes.

Franki has been accepted to a four-year college and will begin study there this fall. She plans to obtain a degree in Sports Medicine.  Her choice of career was influenced by her work at an Orthopedic Sports Medicine Center as a receptionist.

Her college – 2,685 miles from her hometown in Maryland – represents an exciting next chapter in her life.

We congratulate Franki on winning the Alice G. Seymour Award for Academic Achievement and wish her well in her future success!

Go Behind Tassel for more pics and moments!

 

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Behind the Tassle – Aaron

Charlie Parker, the pioneering jazz saxophonist, once mentioned to one of his bandmates that he really liked country music. Puzzled, the band mate asked why. Parker responded “The stories, man. The stories.” The stories are the best part of graduation. The weeks leading up to graduation are full of events celebrating the successes of students. Today, we invite you to follow Charlie Parker’s example and listen to the stories of BCC graduates. Enjoy!

 

FUTURE VET TECH

Aaron J. is a graduate of the Strawbridge School. His favorite class in high school was English 12.  At his graduation, Aaron received awards from the Vocational and Science departments.

Many of us and the BCC staff have benefited from Aaron’s involvement with Maxine’s Café and the Breezeway Market. He has given many hours in service to the School – and provided enjoyment to his customers!

Aaron wrote about the impact of his life in terms of his accomplishment in graduating from high school. He is the second person in his family to do so.  His younger siblings look up to him as a role model.  He has worked hard and wants to leave a positive impact on his classmates as well as the teachers and staff he has had at Strawbridge.  Aaron is someone who tries to help out whenever he can.

Aaron has been accepted to CCBC (Community College of Baltimore County) and will begin study this fall. He would like to become a Vet Technician.  Over the summer he will be in the work program at BCC working in the auto shop.

In recognition of his plans to continue his education, Aaron receives a scholarship from Chase United Methodist Church. We congratulate Aaron and wish him well!

 

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Many Thanks to David Daughaday

David has concluded his term on BCC’s Board of Directors effective June 30, 2017. During his tenure he served as both chair of the finance and asset management committees as well as Treasurer.  His leadership and thoughtful questions and suggestions will be sincerely missed, and we wish him well as he begins his next grand adventure – retirement!

From left to right: Laurie Anne Spagnola, David Daughaday, Guy Everhart
David receives a piggy bank as a small token of appreciation for his years of service as the Board treasurer.

 

David receives a piece of art made by one of the youth on campus.
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