Matthew Gavaghen

MattI was a student at Collier High School from 2007 until I graduated in 2011.  One thing that stands out most to me regarding my academic career at Collier is the feeling of being part of a team.  A team that is working together to help each other reach our full potential through the freedom of complete self-expression, supportiveness, and comfort. My first day at Collier was one of the happiest days of my life and I still remember it very well, even after 8 years.
I am currently an aide in the Music Department at Collier High School. However, my post-graduation journey did not begin in Wickatunk, in Boston at Berklee School of Music. I was accepted to the only college I applied to in my senior year. I don’t recommend applying to one school.  It’s important to explore other possibilities so that you have a basis for comparison.  I was fortunate enough that Berklee was an excellent college but I was overwhelmed by the city of Boston. After a year, I returned home to Freehold, New Jersey and decided to take some time to figure out what I wanted to do. I worked at various jobs for almost 2 years. During that time, Collier High School had invited me back to help out at many of the drama and music productions. In May 2015 I was asked if I wanted to work as an aide in the music department on Fridays and in the JET program over the summer. I accepted both offers of employment. I am currently attending Brookdale Community College full-time and now working 2 days a week as a music aide at Collier High School.
As an employee I can honestly say there is never a dull day at Collier and each day brings its own challenges and rewards. Watching how Collier handles these challenges from the angle of a staff member gives me a whole new respect for the organization. The staff manages to keep things fresh and exciting for all of the students, without fail. During my years as a student I had never put much thought into the difficulties of keeping a place like Collier running like it does. As a staff member, I can not only see the efforts by administration and staff first hand but I can look back at my time here and comprehend exactly how hard each staff member worked to make my classmates and me happy.  At Collier High School and Collier Middle School there are teachers, administration, counselors, social workers, volunteers, aides and so many people who care so much for each student.  Until I started working here, I never realized how hard the staff works and how much of an impact they had on me in making me the person I am today.  I am so grateful to feel the same amount of camaraderie within the staff as I did with my classmates, and I am overjoyed to be able to work alongside people who helped me grow and to do so with the shared goal of making other young adults reach their own fullest potential.