Vince Wolfram, ECHO Staff Reporter
As an alumnus, a teacher, a director of the House System and activities, and a college counselor, Mr. Matt Manning ’86 has gained a unique perspective on education. Mr. Manning began teaching in 1994 and has for the past 27 years excelled at helping students become well-rounded individuals ready to make their mark in the world. He answered a few questions about what motivates him to teach.
Q: You graduated from Trinity in 1986, and returned in 2002 to teach. What was the driving force behind your return to teach at THS?
A: I think everyone has that desire to return to the familiar, that place that feels like home. I was happy teaching at Holy Cross when I was contacted by Trinity regarding an English faculty opening. I was getting married that June and buying my first house. Trinity represented a kind of stability that I wanted as I started a family.
Q: Why did you choose to teach English?
A: Like many students in college, I was waffling between two majors: psychology and English. I sought advice from a favorite English professor. Here’s the advice he gave me: “As an English major, you’ll never be rich, but you’ll be eternally happy.” I couldn’t turn that down. He’s been right so far.
Q: What was your favorite part of being the House System and Activities Director from 2008-2017?
A: Our students here work so hard in the classroom and on the playing fields that I enjoyed seeing them have the opportunity to just have some fun.
Q: Do you have a single House event or activity that you will never forget from your time as director?
A: I’ll never forget the first House Obstacle Course. It was something new I had come up with. It could have been a terrific flop, but it ended up being a blast. I’ve enjoyed watching all the subsequent obstacle courses. They’re still lots of fun.
Q: After teaching English and directing the House System at Trinity, what influenced you to become a college counselor?
A: Some psychologists claim that you become a “new” person every seven years. I had been House System director for nine years when I began to feel like I had given it all I had and perhaps some new “blood” was needed to keep the House System fresh. I love what Mr. (Adam) Klein is doing. It was just by chance that the College Counselor position opened up about the same time that I was seeking a change. I enjoyed working one on one with students in student government and activities, and college counseling allowed me to continue that.
Q: What does the job of college counselor at Trinity entail?
A: As College Counselor, I assist students in my half of the alphabet through the college search and application process. That includes meeting with each student, writing letters of recommendation, and sending transcripts. I’m also in charge of Senior Awards Day.
Q: How did teaching all grade levels in the Academic, Honors, and Traditional programs aid you as a college counselor?
A: The experience of witnessing all the different ways that students learn is helpful as I guide students through the college search process.
Q: What is your favorite part of college counseling?
A: Seeing the looks on seniors’ faces when they tell me that they’ve been accepted to their number-one college. Also, Senior Awards Day. We love to brag on our seniors.
Q: What perspective on senior classes does being a college counselor provide?
A: Every senior class is unique. They all have their own strengths and weaknesses, quirks and personalities. This unique nature of each class brings a sense of novelty each year.
Q: Why do you love Trinity High School?
A: What’s not to love? The sense of brotherhood, commitment of students to learning at the highest level possible, the commitment of teachers to forming men of faith and character.