Today was the annual Von Kohorn Address at GFA, given by a faculty member in honor of a great GFA friend and supporter, Henry Von Kohorn. Henry has never wavered from his belief in GFA as a school with strong academics, intellectual rigor and a vibrant faculty and student body. The best way to ensure and maintain these qualities at GFA is through recruiting and retaining the best possible faculty, another of Henry’s deeply held convictions. This annual lecture is an opportunity for students to listen to a respected faculty member speak on a topic that would not ordinarily be covered in his or her classroom; to hear a talk that enhances both faculty voice and student enlightenment at GFA.
Jon Matte, our speaker, is a well respected math teacher and senior class Dean, who loves word play and never misses an opportunity to make a pun, some of which elicit laughter and others groans. As adept in the verbal domain as he is in the numbers realm, Jon has a passion for words, quizzes, contests (he was once on Jeopardy), magic and challenge competitions. We all know about his advising and involvement in the News 12 Challenge Competition, in which GFA was the state champion in 2008-09.
Living in “Yankees territory” presents a different kind of challenge for Jon, an avid Red Sox fan, but he bears this hardship with fortitude and grace. When Jon was a young boy, he visited his Mecca–Fenway Park–with his family, and he saw the great “Yaz” play. Years later he again visited Fenway, this time with his son and was able to boast that he was watching the team that finally reversed the curse to become the World Series Champions for the second time in four years. Clearly Jon’s constant and unwavering support and magic helped his team to victory. Now the question is can he do the same thing for his other great love – the Patriots?
Jon’s students know him for his great love of math, his affinity for the beauty of numbers, his card tricks, his excellent teaching, and the fact that his students consistently earn 4’s and 5’s on the AP Calculus exam.
As he spoke to us today, I was again reminded not just of the high quality and commitment of GFA’s faculty, but of how strong the bonds are between faculty and students here.