For Redlands High School (RHS) senior Matthew Le, this year has been about adapting to the changes in life everyone has experienced due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Before the pandemic, Le was known around RHS as a straight A-student and a member of Donna St. George’s mock trial team for four-years running. His older siblings Tiffani and Nathan were also part of St. George’s team in their high school years, making Le the third to participate in the program.
Le said while being part of mock trial “feels good now,” four years ago he would have had a different answer.
He said, “I was afraid of being in the shadow of my siblings, but as the years progressed I was able to make a mark.”
He said he is appreciative of his brother and sister preparing him to be part of mock trial in his eighth-grade year. He added RHS graduate and prior mock trial president Lauren Garcia was a “role model,” to him and he calls her on the phone for advice occasionally.
Along with his academic accomplishments, Le played a major part of the Terriers CIF Division 6 boys’ water polo championship against the Encino Celts in November 2019. Le scored five times in that game with a broken hand.
Le said his team “would have been back in the playoffs,” this year if it wasn’t for the cancellation of all high school sports due to state health guidelines. The team only lost two teammates due to graduation last year; the same scenario applied to the mock trial team.
Matthew credits his father Ha and his mother Christina for providing emotional support. Regarding missing major milestones like graduations and last year’s mock trial state finals, Matthew said his father is very big on the concept “what happens, happens.”
“If we get stuck in the past, it reduces the opportunity to move on and to grow from that [experience].”
Matthew is sympathetic to students who don’t feel the same way but said the emphasis should be that, “we have to move on and appreciate what we do have.”
Matthew’s mother Christina has been instrumental in his education and has been St. George’s point person on providing communication to other students’ parents on the mock trial team. Matthew said he has gotten used to his mother peering over his shoulder during his distance learning classes and mock trial meetings over Zoom. Christina took a break from her career in dentistry to help Matthew through his last years in high school.
Distance learning, Matthew said, “has been a process,” and that “it hasn’t taken much of a toll on my mental health.”
When the pandemic started in March, Matthew decided to make a podcast titled “Insight from the Outside,” where he provides advice and encouragement to students across the country that have had issues with stress and adapting to the distance learning environment. Matthew’s podcast will be back for a second season later this year.
He said the podcasting along with taking up piano, playing video games and reading help him relieve stress.
Matthew is still undecided on what he wants to do in life. He wants to go to college in Southern California to stay closer to home. He is applying to multiple colleges and is talking with his siblings and parents about what is the best college.