As a drama club performer at Wellington C. Mepham High School, a former EMT volunteer and Merrick’s local CVS store associate, the Covid-19 outbreak has not slowed senior Matthew Singh down. Now, he’s been deemed one of the country’s 100 high schoolers that you need to know about for the 2019-20 school year.
The “100 High School Students America Needs to Know About” list is compiled annually by Workforce Career Readiness, and recognizes students across the United States who are “forward-thinking entrepreneurs, student leaders and activists” making a difference in their schools and communities, according to the website.
“As an EMT, CVS store associate and high achieving student,” said Mepham Principal Eric Gomez, “Matthew works hard to ensure that everyone around him is well before taking a moment to himself.”
Singh is an “essential worker” at CVS, he said, and has been working nearly 40 hours per week since the start of the outbreak. Although he’s been largely disconnected from the Pirate community since classes moved online, “It’s great to see all of the regulars and people from the community come in” to the store, he said. “They rely on our staff, and it’s an uncertain time for them. I think showing them a smiling face gives them some reassurance.”
Singh also spent the beginning of the school year volunteering with Bellmore-Merrick’s Emergency Medical Services through Mepham’s senior experience program. In the fall he spent roughly three days a week with members of the department, including trainings on Sundays.
Singh only stopped volunteering because of an autoimmune disease that prevented him from continuing his service, he said. The internship was a kick-start to his future career, however, as Singh plans to major in nursing at East Stroudsburg University in Pennsylvania this fall.
Like many of his fellow seniors, Singh was upset when the usual end-of-the-year celebrations were cancelled or postponed, including graduation and prom. As a stage performer in Mepham’s drama club, Skull and Bones, the cancellation of scheduled plays only adds to that list. He had been rehearsing as the lead for Skull and Bones’ rendition of “Footloose,” which was set to premiere this month.
The change of plans is “disappointing,” Singh said, but the performances have now moved to a virtual venue. Skull and Bones’ Instagram (@mephamskullandbones) and YouTube page is host to videos of various rehearsals and shows, including clips from “Footloose,” directed by English teacher and drama club adviser Edward Grosskreuz.
“They’ve turned into ‘virtual performances,’” Singh said. “I think the musical aspect is a great way to comfort people during this time.”
Singh said it was “an honor” to be included on the “100 High School Students America Needs to Know About” list, but also a surprise — whoever nominated him is a mystery, he said. In any case, “I’m grateful,” he added, “and it’s great seeing what all of the other high schoolers across the country are doing.”