Student Spotlight: Matt Colombo

Student Spotlight: Matt Colombo

By mentoring in a Physical Education class designed specifically for children with specials, senior Matt Colombo is involved in the Parkway Special Education Department— a volunteering program in which he has participated since sixth grade.

“Seven years ago, I came in contact with Debbie DiRisio, the Special Education teacher at West High, and began to do volunteer work with the school,” Colombo said.

With students such as senior Shawn McDonald and freshman Jarod Redel, Colombo spends the PE Mentor class engaging the students in physical activities and building relationships with them.

“I’ve worked with Shawn for all of the time I’ve been volunteering; he’s one of my best friends. Jarod is new this year, and I’ve spent a lot of time with him in PE mentoring. My job in there is to help them, play with them, make them laugh and smile and just try to be their best friend,” Colombo said.

One of Colombo’s favorite memories is from time he has spent volunteering with McDonald.

“There was a period of time over the summer that I spent with Shawn while he was obsessed with Star Wars. I’d walk in and see him and he’d immediately start hitting me with a lightsaber he was given.  It made him laugh a lot and I enjoyed the time time with him,” Colombo said.

According to Colombo, volunteering has become a major commitment in his life — of which he has seen personal benefits come from.

“Doing volunteer work brings the best out of me, and seeing them happy makes me feel like I’m helping them out in my own way,” Colombo said.

If you have an open spot in your schedule and would like to get involved with special needs education/mentoring, talk to Debbie DiRisio in room 2109.

“I think anyone with spare time should try out special needs mentoring,” Colombo said.