Matt Grohnke/New Directions Scholarship
“If you find you don’t like the path you are on, you can always stop, turn around, and walk in a new direction.” This quote launched the New Directions Scholarship in 2001. Matt Grohnke was a firm believer in new directions. He came to Mountain View to turn his educational life around, graduating in 2001 with honor and joy. His family sat up all night after he graduated, so elated and pleased none of them could sleep. Matt went on to graduate from George Mason University and landed his dream job where he excelled, was respected and challenged, was admired and loved. He had turned over the proverbial leaf and there was a key underneath. The key he found unlocked the door to a better life. His life was too short — Matt died peacefully at home at the age of 31-but his time on earth was so full. He was bigger than life, the class clown, the person who was curious about everything. He was a good listener while not being judgmental. He was a solid friend and a wonderful son. His family is providing this scholarship to help another student pursue a new direction. At the request of the Grohnke Family, the first Matt Grohnke/New Directions Scholarship will be presented by Matt’s best friend, Jon Avila.
In Karsyn’s scholarship essay she explained that a year ago “things started to go downhill pretty quickly. My attendance became atrocious, and my grades were falling rapidly. I eventually stopped coming to school.” With consistent support from the Mountain View staff Karsyn was able to work out some solutions that allowed her to get back to her studies. Karsyn’s English teachers were impressed with her abilities. Mrs. Carr describes Karsyn as, “wicked smart and a voracious reader. She produced beautifully written papers and created thorough, thoughtful book projects.” Miss Reamer wrote, “Karsyn’s natural intelligence and curiosity helped drive class discussions and her generosity (she often brought a giant bag of Worther’s candy to share with everyone) helped establish a sense of community among her peers.”
Early in her high school career, Brenda Rodriguez was uncertain whether she would ever be able to graduate. She contemplated dropping out and going to work because the obstacles to her success seemed too difficult to overcome. But coming to Mountain View was life-changing because Brenda encountered teachers and counselors who believed in her and helped her believe in herself. Ellen Fay, Brenda’s counselor, observed that “Brenda is extremely determined and a very hard worker.“ And Ms. Reamer shared that Brenda “always has a smile on her face and is eager to learn new things.” Mrs. Carr identified her serious approach to her studies, her ability to work without supervision, and her ability to work well with others as some of her greatest strengths. The change in Brenda’s belief about herself has allowed her to change the direction of her life. Instead of dropping out of high school to work as an unskilled laborer, she will be attending Northern Virginia Community College to pursue a career related to photography and communications.
It is appropriate that Peter Shin receive the Matt Grohnke/New Directions scholarship. Few students have matured as much as Peter has during his time here at Mountain View. Few have realized the benefit of the second chance that Mountain View offers as much as Peter. He has been intent on putting the past behind him and moving forward. His change in attitude and his increased motivation have led to his success here today. Peter has learned to turn his back on the past, to work hard, to take responsibility for his actions, and to head in a new direction. Congratulations Peter!