Erin Matteo, a native of Lyndhurst, began her SEL experience in kindergarten at Ridgebury Elementary School. She graduated from Charles F. Brush High School in 2010, where she served as Student Congress president during her senior year. Since completing her primary and secondary education, Erin has graduated from The Ohio State University and finished graduate school at Case Western Reserve University.
At Brush, Erin played soccer and softball, while also serving as a conflict mediator. “Soccer was definitely a high point of my high school career. I got to play the sport I love with my best friends,” Erin recalls. She was also able to give back to the community as a member of student council and Student Congress. “I’m really fortunate I was able to serve with good people during my time in both.” She fondly remembers Mrs. Quinlan, an art teacher who now works in a different district building, and Mr. Swinerton as some of her favorite instructors. “Even when he wasn’t my teacher, I would go see Swin for help with my math homework,” Erin laughs.
When asked about what she would change about her time at Brush, Erin wishes she would have understood the importance of her foreign language education. “I should have taken Spanish more seriously. It would have been incredibly helpful professionally to have language proficiency.” She wished that there was more of a push to take the languages beyond the district’s required two years.
In the five years since she has been an SEL student, Erin has been continuing her education at two of the state’s top academic institutions. She earned a Bachelor’s of Social Work from The Ohio State University before returning to Cleveland for a 12-month Master’s program focusing in social work administration at Case. While at Ohio State she conducted services projects across the Greater Columbus area with Ohio State’s College of Social Work and also served at the president of the Wine Club. Now that she has obtained both of her degrees, she plans to work toward her licensing requirements and aspires to work in a hospital setting with cancer patients.
Erin believes that her time at Brush prepared her not only academically but socially as well. “I felt like I was a step above other individuals at OSU, in terms of my cultural competence and strong interpersonal skills. The diversity at Brush really prepares you for real life situations.” She believes her transition to college was difficult because it’s difficult for everyone, but she was given the tools to be successful. “The teachers at Brush are very helpful, you just have to be willing to ask.”
The community’s reviews of the public schools in South Euclid-Lyndhurst are mixed, Erin shares, but she believes the views become more positive when residents enroll their children in the district. “I think people, in general, enjoy having negative opinions. It’s a part of human nature.” While there are always going to be problems with large groups, she believes SEL is a great place to grow and learn. “The good outweigh the bad tenfold.”