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Senior goes against odds, looks toward graduation

As a fifth grader, Matt Adams, ’13, was crushed when the director of special education’s words sank in. “With Matt’s learning disability, I doubt he will even be able to graduate from high school.”

For all of his life he had struggled with school. He just did not know it was so bad that he might not be able to graduate.

In sixth grade, Adams and his family moved from Washington to Fresno, CA, where he began attending FC. Now, six years later, he is in his senior year of high school.

How did Adams come from a fifth grade year of lost hopes to his senior year and graduating in May?

“My faith is the one thing that has kept me in high school, besides music,” Adams said. “It’s everything to me. I would have no reason for living without Christ and my faith in Him.”

Many of the campus teachers have helped and pushed him when he needed it. Adams says they have been instrumental in his success in high school.

“I haven’t come this far because of my own efforts,” Adams said. “The programs that FC has made available to me and the support the teachers have given me have gotten me where I am today in school.”

One teacher in particular, Dan Harris, has made a great effort to encourage Adams in his academics by spurring him toward a positive mentality.

“I was used to calling myself stupid and other degrading names, but he didn’t accept that,” Adams said. “He told me, ‘I’m going to prove you wrong. You are a smart kid.'”

Harris respects the confidence Adams has gained in the year that he has known him. Looking back to when he first met him, he notices how much Adams’ leadership qualities have grown.

“He has risen from someone who thought he was less than academically capable to a student who is at the top of my class,” Harris said. “I am so proud of him for pursuing his musical interests, applying them to learning and going all the way to playing in a professional band.”

Music has also been instrumental in his high school career. According to Adam’s mom, Valerie, it has always been a great passion of his.

“His dad is a worship pastor at Clovis EV Free, so he’s had to sit through musical stuff since he was little,” Valerie said. “We had no idea he would choose drums, but it’s been fun to watch that happen.”

Adams remembers being unable to even read music in seventh grade. He is excited about how much he has grown in his abilities as a musician, but he knows that there is always room for improvement.

IT Director and worship team leader David Martens says he has seen tremendous growth musically in Adams over the last three years.

“Matt has improved so much in his ability to play and in his skills as a drummer, but now he is also thinking more musically,” Martens said. “I tribute that to the experience he’s gotten over the last few years. He’s played a lot, and this has been an opportunity to stretch himself.”

Because of his love for music, Adams plans to go into the field of audio engineering with hopes of becoming a producer. Eventually, he wants to run sound in a recording studio, and maybe even open his own. However, playing at a professional level depends on the education he pursues after he finishes high school.

“I’m not sure if I want to do college, trade school or classes online,” Adams said. “It’s based on who accepts me, where I want to go, and where God tells me to go.”

Although they have affected some of his options, he is not nervous about his G.P.A. and SAT scores. He is confident that God will open the doors that need to be opened and shut all the doors that need to be shut.

“I’m anxious and excited to know what God has for me,” Adams said, “Yes, I have to do my part in working hard to get good grades but even if I don’t, God is in control.”

This year, he hopes to see the senior class step up to be leaders and show the junior class how to do the same. He also wants his class to be an example of what God can do through young people when He is the forefront.

“I want to see people encouraging each other and fighting together,” Adams said. “When Christians do that, they’ll do radical things and Satan can’t stop it.”

Adams knows he will have regrets of knowing he could have done high school differently and of not being able to fix what has happened. But through that, he has learned some valuable lessons.

“I have learned to be diligent and to work as hard as I can every time,” Adams said. “I’ve learned not to sell myself short, but at the same time to be humble and encouraging. I know I can do this; I can succeed. It’s not going to be easy, but I can.”

As he starts his senior year, Adams anxiously awaits graduation and being able to say, “I did it. People told me I couldn’t, but I did.”

“I’ve done what people thought was impossible,” Adams said. “I’m really proud of the fact that I’m still in school. And in a few short months, I’m going to be graduating.”

For background information on this story, read Raine Hayes’ Oct. 30, 2009, article, Freshman percussionist pursues musical mastery.

For more information on the music department at FC, contact Martens and/or Michael Ogdon.

For more features, read the Aug. 30 article, Bimat juggles multiple jobs, energizes leadership class.

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