Thad Mathis (‘10) returned to Darlington in 2016 to teach fourth grade. He holds a B.S. in Early Childhood Education from Shorter University where he was a member of the football team. He is also a member of Teach for America. Prior to Darlington, Thad served as a fourth grade master math teacher and International Baccalaureate teacher at the Academy of Science and Foreign Language in Huntsville, Ala. While there, he also worked with the robotics team and coached football. A 2010 graduate of Darlington, Thad was highly involved as a student and won the Vincent Dooley J. Award as a senior.
I asked Thad to share why he gives back to Darlington and the importance and impact the school and teachers have had on his life. We are proud to have Thad on campus as a teacher and young alum!
“I give back to Darlington because Darlington gave so much to me. Darlington exposed me to many diverse individuals and mindsets while I was a student that prepared me for what was to come after High School. Everywhere I went I could find Darlington Alumni who seemed to always be ahead of the curve and achieving to their fullest potential. No other school prepares you like Darlington does to be successful.
Darlington is important to me because Darlington is home. As an employee and alum, I know that this place will always be my home. Darlington gave me a fantastic education and now is giving me the best employment opportunity I could ever ask for.
Darlington has had a huge impact on my career. When I first began teaching I knew (thanks to what I saw as a student at Darlington) that every child can learn. I knew that with the right strategies, most implemented by my teachers at Darlington, I could push my students to excel at anything they put their mind to academically. Using strategies that I learned at Darlington as a student, I was able to push my students to be the top performers in our district. Now I have the opportunity to give back to Darlington students the same way Darlington gave to me.
There were several teachers that positively impacted my life from Darlington. However, three come to mind specifically. Coach Smith (Randy Smith) was such an influential teacher that the same ideas he used when I was a sixth grader in his class, I used my first year teaching sixth grade. They stuck with me and I was able to pass them down to students just as they were to me. Mrs. Mann (Leanne Mann) was another teacher in high school that helped unlock my work ethic. Mrs. Mann pushed me to push through when I really didn't want to. She was able to connect with me and made me feel cared for as a person as well as a student. With that, I am able to show my students the same care and compassion she showed me as a student. The third teacher that had the most influence on me would be Mr. Cox (John Cox). Mr. Cox taught me that it is okay think outside the box. His science fiction literature class was a class I signed up for to take for fun, I never knew that it would be a class in which I truly learned to dig into text and think about the text in alternate ways. That ultimately led me to thinking about my life experiences in alternate ways allowing me to become a critical thinker of the world around me. Without signing up for this class I might have never learned to think critically about anything in life. I hope that one day I will be able to leave such a lasting impression on my students as he, and the others have. This is what truly makes Darlington a special place!”
The Annual Fund is Darlington School’s top fundraising priority because it supports each and every aspect of the Darlington experience. Like Thad's contribution, your gift will be put to immediate use, funding 5% of all student, parent, faculty, staff and alumni programs during the current school year.
To show your appreciation for Darlington, consider making a gift to the 2016-2017 Annual Fund at www.darlingtonschool.org/give.