My name is Mateo Rollins, and I am currently a junior at the Massachusetts Academy of Math and Science at WPI. I have lived in Boylston, MA for nearly all my life, and I grew up in the town’s public school system. My sending school is Tahanto Regional Middle/High School, and I was there from 6th to 10th grade. My family is made up of my mom, dad, brother, and sister. My brother is in 8th grade, and my sister is a junior at Temple University in Philadelphia. My dad is a mechanical design engineer, and he has had a large influence on my interest in the STEM field as a whole.
Soccer is my favorite sport by far, and it has really shaped who I am today. I’ve been playing soccer at a club level for 10 years, and this will be the third year I’ve played Varsity soccer at Tahanto. I’ve learned so many life skills from the sport. Playing club soccer from a young age has taught me discipline, teamwork, and cooperation, and along the way I’ve made many close friends. This past year, during the pandemic, soccer was really my way of dealing with all the stress and difficulties. After sophomore soccer season at school, I would go to many different public fields with my friends after school, and we'd just play around and work on our skills. I have so many great memories from my experience playing soccer with various teams, including shoveling snow off many a field to get some training in during the winter. This past season of fall 2021, I was fortunate enough to be able to play with the Varsity soccer team at my sending school. Even though I am at a different school now, it was great to keep my relationships with my teammates and coaches. I also play club soccer through the winter and spring. I played with Best F.C. for nearly 10 years, and this past spring I switched to the Boston Bolts. I'm looking forward to the upcoming season with a new team!
Track + field is a fairly new sport for me. I have always enjoyed running, but spring 2021 was the first year I participated in track, and I really enjoyed it. I run the 400 meter and 4x400 meter relay, and for field events I do the long jump. I know that many people don’t like running, but I think it is so exhilarating to run one race as fast as you can. I definitely had my fair share of pre-race nervousness, but it all disappears when the starting gun sounds and you launch out of the blocks. Unfortunately, last year was a shortened season because of the pandemic, but it was a blast nonetheless. I did pretty well overall last year, my best time for the 400m was 55.53 seconds, and I am looking forward to next season!
Another passion I have is playing music. I have always loved music and instruments, especially the French horn ever since I was very young. In 4th grade band, I started playing the French horn, so it’s been 7 years. I played in the band at my school in 4th and 5th grade, and started taking private lessons with a teacher in Shrewsbury. I learned a lot and continued playing, and then I joined the Worcester Youth Symphony Orchestra in 6th grade. I’ve been a member of the Philharmonic and Symphony orchestras for 5 years, and I have learned a lot of valuable skills from the experience. I've grown a lot as a player by being a part of a larger ensemble, and learning to listen to the other sections in an orchestra has helped me listen and consider different perspectives in other parts of my life.
At Mass Academy, we have a 50-hour community service requirement for both junior and senior year.
This is a great opportunity for us to take time to give back to the community and gain experience doing many different activities.
During the summer of junior year, one of the main places that I volunteered at was the Community Harvest Project in Grafton. At the farm, I met some other students from Mass Academy,
and performed a variety of interesting tasks all the way from harvesting vegetables like cabbage (seen in the photo to the left) and
zucchinis, to cleaning the vegetables, to packaging and loading them. I also really enjoy volunteering here because I can see
firsthand how our actions at the farm are affecting and helping people in the community.
In addition to volunteering at the Community Harvest Project, I have done some service hours at my town's public library as well. This was a good experience as well, as I got to see and carry out many simple but necessary tasks to keep the organization running smoothly. In the future, I may volunteer at Tower Hill Botanical Garden, which is a large multi-area garden with a variety of plants and seasonal exhibits throughout the year.