James T. “Jim” Matthews Scholarship Recipient
“I’ve always grown up around UGA fans. My parents both went there. So, I’m really excited about the football games. My grandparents are gonna come up there a lot. And, I’ll see them more. I just like the school spirit they have.
Getting the Matthews Scholarship helps out a lot. I am the oldest; I have four siblings. And two of them are on the autism spectrum. My parents have to pay for their therapy and all this stuff. So, I was kinda worried. I’m going to University of Georgia and I was kinda worried about the tuition and all that kinda stuff.
My sister was the first one diagnosed. Her name’s Audrey. She was diagnosed when she was three, I think. And we had known she was different because she didn’t really speak. And, we were always kinda concerned. So, when she finally got diagnosed, it was kinda a relief because we’re gonna be able to find out how to help her.
Audrey jokes and calls me her second mom. I have kind of taken up this motherly feel with her, not to toot my own horn. I think I’m a role model in her life.
She’s going to be the sibling I miss the most, not to be mean to the other ones.
And, then my other brother… he is highly autistic. He doesn’t speak at all. My sister is more highly functioning. My brother is more low functioning. We have to find a way to try to communicate. But, he’s a really happy kid. He’s always giggling and rambunctious.
So, I just learned to grow up really fast…’cause my parents need extra help with them.
I like to say I’m more considerate to people. ‘Cause you don’t know what they have in their life; you don’t know what’s going on with them. I just notice myself being nicer to people.
“If I had been able to meet Mr. Matthews, I would have thanked him a lot. Because this is going to help me pursue my dreams and go to where I want to be.”
In ninth grade I joined chorus and my teacher, Mr. Brooks, he’s a cool teacher. I just always looked forward to coming to school because I knew he would be there. He’s really entertaining.
I’ve always loved writing. I am the editor-in-chief of the newspaper. That’s been a little bit stressful, because you have to be in charge of the entire staff, make sure they’re getting done what needs to be done and that we place all the stuff and make sure everything looks good. It’s been fun. There’s different aspects of the school that I may not have known about, and I make sure everyone gets their voice heard in the paper.
My ambition is just…to fight through the hard parts, and just go to where…I have bigger and better things coming soon.”
Story written by Susannah Maddux. Photo by Maryann Bates.