A day in a life of Ms.Matchett-Evans

Juliana Warta, Staff Writer

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Have you ever wondered what teachers do outside of school?  Have you ever wondered about some of your classmates who you maybe never got a chance to know?  Well, now you can know more about those who walk the hall of LHS! This column is dedicated to the fascinating people of Lindy.

Mrs.Matchett-Evans is a teacher in Lindenhurst high school.  She is a teacher in the Special Education Department, and has taught here for 15 years! She teaches life skills, vocational training, and academic functional math. Mrs. Matchett-Evans was inspired to be a special education teacher because her husband’s brother was severely disabled. She has been with her husband since she was 18 and always enjoyed his brother’s company. Mrs. Matchett-Evans started working in a group home for disabled adults, and she worked for independent group home living. She enjoyed working there so much that when she heard Lindenhurst Schools was looking for a teacher with special education experience, she immediately applied.

Mrs.Matchett-Evans has three children: Ella, Eliza, and Khaliq. Her youngest is Khaliq who is five months old, then Eliza who is four, and Ella who is seven. Ella and Eliza are biological and Khaliq has just recently joined their family. She explained that her reason for wanting to grow her family is, “We have a great family and we do a lot of great things and we have a lot of love to give and we wanted to share that with another kid.”  Khaliq came to her at two months old. However, now that he is five months old, she noticed that he is very stiff and hasn’t been doing what we would consider “normal” for a five month old. She had early intervention evaluate him, and they discovered he was significantly delayed.  Khaliq now takes physical therapy to help him progress.

Her daughter, Ella, was diagnosed with Neurofibromatosis (NF) at the age of two. She told me that poor Ella had tumors throughout her entire body. She said that tumors grow in the nerves of the body and there is no way to remove them. Ella had tumors mostly in her brain. She has some learning delays; therefore, she is in special education herself. She said when Ella was diagnosed, “it was very scary for me.” However, instead of giving into fear, Ms. Matchett-Evans took action.  She called the Children’s Tumor Foundation and decided she had to do something since there was no cure. She became a part of the volunteer leadership council for the Children’s Tumor Foundation and plans the events within the foundation. They do a big walk every year, and she’s in charge of the one held at Belmont State Park. They have successfully raised over a hundred thousand dollars. She stated that it was quite the coincidence that I was interviewing her in May because May is NF awareness month.  In honor of it, she wears blue everyday in May.

Just by talking with Ms. Matchett-Evans, one can sense her values and her parenting techniques. She described the values she tries to instill in her children and it is clear they are being shaped into wonderful human beings. Eliza, at only four years old, already demonstrates how to be a good big helper.  She assists Ella in day to day activities and helps with her baby brother.  Ms. Matchett-Evans describes how her family spends a lot of time talking about being happy and staying true to yourself, no matter what others say.

This is especially important for Ella, as she recently has been showing signs of not identifying as a girl.  Ms. Matchett-Evans advice was plain and simple.  She teaches her to “be true to whoever she is.” In fact, young Ella repeats that advice back to her Mom showing she understands this even as a seven year old stating, “I can be whatever I want to be, Mom.” To her Ella is “the bravest person I know in the world.  Ms. Matchett-Evans said, “She’s my hero, for sure.” Well to the Charles Street Times, we see Ms. Matchett-Evans as a hero. One who is encouraging her daughters to find their own dreams, while making dreams come true for her students as well.

Editor’s Note:  Ms. Matchett-Evans is collecting items for a fundraiser at Savers Thrift Store.  Clothing, books, toys, furniture are all gladly accepted.  If anyone discovers any items while doing spring cleaning let her know!  She is collecting items until June 1st.