Return to Headlines

Matthew Burnett returns to where it all began.

matthew reading to students

Matthew Burnett is a busy twenty-year-old. Between attending BISD’s Adult Learning Program and working part-time at a local hotel, he also finds time to volunteer twice a week in the Developmental Preschool Program at Wilkes Elementary. 

Affectionately known as Teacher Matthew, he recently read Chicka Chicka Boom Boom to the pint-sized students and helped lead a corresponding lesson. Standing at over six feet tall, it’s hard to believe that Matthew himself once sat in the preschool-sized chairs when he was part of the BISD preschool program. Now, he’s giving back by helping students learn to count and write —- just like he was once helped more than 15 years ago. 

“Matthew has been a great addition to our class,” said lead teacher Kathy Hines. “Before his first shift, he learned all of our songs and our hand signals to be ready to participate from day one.”

While Matthew doesn’t remember much from his own preschool days, he’s happy to be positively affecting this class of students. From helping zip students’ coats to preparing classroom snacks, Matthew provides a calming presence and is a natural role model. 

As the class ended and students filed out of the door, Matthew stood proud, watching the students leave. “I think it’s pretty cool to be called Teacher Matthew,” he said. “It makes me feel like I’m more than just a volunteer.”