Matthew Valentine • Economics/Government • Pinellas Park High School | Teen Ink

Matthew Valentine • Economics/Government • Pinellas Park High School MAG

March 31, 2019
By uberbearsharkm8 PLATINUM, Seminole, Florida
uberbearsharkm8 PLATINUM, Seminole, Florida
27 articles 0 photos 3 comments

Favorite Quote:
"A life is like a garden. Perfect moments can be had, but not preserved, except in memory."
- Leonard Nimoy

When I walked to room G7 for the first time on August 14, 2018, I wasn’t sure what to expect. It would be my fourth and final year at Pinellas Park High School, and I was admittedly anxious about meeting a teacher who I would see for both my Dual Enrollment American Government and International Relations course, and my AP Economics course. I had heard great things about Mr. Matthew Valentine from everyone I spoke to; I learned he was a favorite amongst seniors, as well as every underclassman that had him as a teacher. Nevertheless, I held onto my doubts.

As I approached G7’s doorway, I was greeted by Mr. Valentine who shook my hand and laughed when I introduced myself, asking me why on earth I thought he didn’t know who I was. I was timid at the time, and slightly concerned over what Mr. Valentine had heard about me; little did I know that he would soon become one of the most important people to ever enter my life.

On the first day of the 2018-2019 school year, I immediately came to the conclusion that I would never have another teacher like Mr. Valentine. He exuded excitement and passion as he taught, running across his classroom and engaging his students in academic discussions. His clear love of teaching was enough to make me feel a sort of excitement to learn that I had never experienced before. For the first time in years, I felt at home, and I truly wanted to learn – all because of Mr. Valentine.

It isn’t merely his teaching style, however, that has made Mr. Valentine one of my largest inspirations and personal role models. As I have had the absolute honor and privilege of getting to know him, I have learned of the type of person Mr. Valentine truly is, and I can honestly say that I have never met such a kindhearted man. I have watched him save my economics class from a wasp, harmonize with his students, bring his AP Seminar class bagels to celebrate the completion of their group presentations, and humor a student-created theory about him having a twin. Yet these examples still are not enough to showcase just what type of man Mr. Valentine is. I will never forget the day when I asked him what he would want to do if he were not a teacher. Without skipping a beat, he told me he would wish to continue working for the government, so that he would still be able to help others. That conversation alone convinced me I had met one of the kindest humans in this world, simply because Mr. Valentine is dedicated purely to helping and bettering the lives of others, despite the personal toll it may take on him.

On a personal level, Mr. Valentine has been very influential for me. I now see him for three class periods, and spend one day a week after school with him to assist in grading and organizing. In our time together, he has helped me in ways that no one has done before. He brings me food when I forget to eat. He takes stress into consideration when assigning homework or tests. He sits with me when life is rough and reminds me that I need to be gentler with myself. He provides me with a supportive, caring environment when I lack one. He reminds me that I am able to do great things someday, but even more importantly: he makes me want to do great, fantastic things. 

When I say that Mr. Valentine is my role model, I am by no means exaggerating. I aspire to be half of the kind person he is. I aspire to use my platform to spread acceptance as he does. I aspire to bring pure joy to a roomful of students by simply entering a classroom as he does. As I approach my first year of college, I only hope that Mr. Valentine will remain in my life as my mentor, and that someday when I teach economics, I will be able to reflect on the day I walked into G7 for the first time and my life changed forever.

The author's comments:

Mr. Valentine has been my biggest inspiration and biggest supporter through immense hardships. To me, he is family. I will never be able to repay him for every single thing he has done for me, yet I hope that by telling his story I can show how important he is to me and to so many others.

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This article has 4 comments.

aniwilliams said...
on Apr. 12 2019 at 7:50 am
aniwilliams, Largo, Florida
0 articles 0 photos 1 comment

Favorite Quote:
Will you be the Yee to my Haw?

Valentine is a kind man, and I know he’ll love this, especially coming from you!!!

karisuna GOLD said...
on Apr. 8 2019 at 10:19 pm
karisuna GOLD, Pinellas Park, Florida
19 articles 0 photos 36 comments

Favorite Quote:
"The flower that blooms in adversity is the most rare and beautiful of them all." -The Emperor, Mulan

"Let go of anger, let go of pride, when you are bound by nothing, you go beyond sorrow." -Buddha

This was so thoughtful. I hope your teacher sees this!

on Apr. 8 2019 at 6:35 pm
Coffee-aDdIcT, Miami, Florida
0 articles 0 photos 1 comment
This is incredible!

on Apr. 8 2019 at 6:19 pm
ConnorHasAQuirk, Seminole, Florida
0 articles 0 photos 1 comment
Amazing!! This is so inspiring!!!