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Matthew Vaughn believes his work in music at Westfield High School may have been the reason he was selected as the Student of the Month.

“I was (just) a (graduating) senior at Westfield High School,” Vaughn says. “I could have been selected for a multitude of different things. I could have been selected for my work in Westfield’s music program through my participation in the Jazz Band, Concert Band, Marching Band, and the winter programs of IPA (Indoor Percussion Association), and Winter Winds.”

Vaughn’s time through the music program also included some performances with the Steel Pan ensembles.

“The performances were in our talent show, TNL (Thursday Night Live), and in (a production of) ‘American Pie,’” Vaughn says. “I have also worked as a leader within the school with my participation in the Chick-Fil-A Leader Academy my junior year and being a drum major for the past two years with the school’s marching band.”

During his years at Westfield High School, Vaughn had several positive mentors.

“Mr. (Jeff) McLaughlin (a music teacher), taught me so much about personal and social etiquette and integrity, as well as fostering a space for me to develop myself and learn many life lessons,” Vaughn says. “Mr. (Sam) Temples, (a social studies teacher), was an amazing teacher who taught me so much about determination and work ethic. I can say that because of him, I can now accomplish anything I can set my mind to.”

Vaughn noted that another teacher really helped him through his high school years.

“Mr. (Andrew) Russell, (a social studies teacher), was the first of many teachers, who not only was a great teacher, but also a great friend,” he says. “He taught me so much about the careful balance between academics, and the other bulk of life. He taught me that it was okay to smile in school.”

Vaughn also praises math teacher, Heidi Mangus.

“Her class had an incredibly different dynamic,” Vaughn says. “She didn’t treat us as equals in the class; however, she taught us that we could always become equals with enough effort, through enough work. Mrs. Mangus fostered a culture where I was wanting to let go of whatever business that was going on outside of class and soak up every ounce of information I could. I will remember her class fondly. But most of all, I developed a deep hunger to understand many things that I wouldn’t have even began to comprehend without her.”

Vaughn will soon attend Purdue University.

“I have two current plans,” Vaughn says. “The first being a major in aerospace design with an additional focus on propulsion technologies. The second being a study in architectural design and civil engineering. I plan on picking which path I will be pursuing, hopefully, within the first semester of university.

“Currently, I am leaning toward studying aerospace (specifically the astronautical division of this study). Previously, I always felt that I would be brought to a public organization. However, recent private company successes (i.e. SpaceX) might be signaling that my skills will be needed within a private company. Either way, I want to bring us to the stars.”

In his free time, Vaughn does volunteer work.

“I am currently working as a swim instructor for the Bridgewater Swim Club,” Vaughn says. “I will also be volunteering as a swim coach with the Bridgewater Club’s Barracuda swim team. I was a member of this team for at least five years, and now I am so incredibly happy to be giving back to an amazing organization that did so much for me.”

He also loves the city that’s shaped him to be who he is today.

“I love how dynamic Westfield is,” Vaughn says. “Westfield seems to constantly be evolving and changing, but most importantly, improving. I loved how much development I got to grow up around because it greatly impacted my growth in character. I am sad to say goodbye to this home that I’ve built, but I know that it will be okay. I will say though — I would love it if Westfield were to host a lantern festival at Grand Park.”

Vaughn also plans to continue pursuing music when he is at Purdue University.

“Music has done so much for me, and I look forward to pursuing all facets of music at Purdue, including concert, jazz, and marching arts. For the next four years, I want to try and learn every ounce of knowledge that I can, and hopefully one day I will be able to educate and guide a youth just as what was done for me. I just want to give back to the world that gave so much to me.”

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