Five Questions: Science Hill student talks music, sports, student challenges

Brandon Paykamian • Feb 1, 2020 at 9:00 AM

Jake Matherne, a 17-year-old senior at Science Hill High School, has a love for literature, basketball and playing music and describes himself as a “huge classic rock guy.”

Since he moved to Johnson City at age 12, the Louisiana native said he’s learned a lot about himself and his future academic goals within the Johnson City Schools district. Science Hill Principal Todd Barnett described him as a leader and “role model.”

Matherne recently corresponded with the Press to tell us more about himself, starting with some fast facts.

Matherne Briefly:

Favorite movie of 2019: “My favorite movie of 2019 has to be ​Joker, for sure. I thought it perfectly depicted a different perspective on a lot of stuff that’s going on right now.”

Favorite food: Chicken and sausage gumbo.

Dogs or cats: “I like both. My family has one dog named Gumbeaux and one cat, Candy.”

Hobbies: Playing guitar, reading and basketball.

Favorite musicians: Led Zeppelin, the Beatles, Van Halen, Guns N’ Roses, Smashing Pumpkins, Red Hot Chili Peppers, John Mayer, Stevie Ray Vaughn, Buddy Guy, B.B. King and Jimi Hendrix.

What activities are you involved in at school? 

I’m a four-year member of the varsity basketball team at Science Hill, and I have been a captain for two of those years. The most enjoyable thing about playing basketball is the competition. Nothing matches the intensity or passion of two really good teams going at each other as hard as they can. That’s why you spend hours on the court in the off-season, to play in games like that and come out on the winning side.

What’s your favorite subject?

My favorite subject is English because I’ve always had a love for reading. I grew up reading books that my dad would give to me and that hasn’t ever left me. A few of my all-time favorite books are “Ender’s Game​,” “​Watership Down”​ and “​Catch-22.”

Which teachers have made the biggest impact on you so far?

One teacher that has definitely prepared me for life beyond high school is my AP English and AP Seminar teacher from my junior year, Mrs. Kiki Diamond. An overwhelming majority of the AP Seminar class is one project that is pretty involved and independent. That project taught me that no one is going to hold my hand from now on. I’m responsible for myself, and it’s no one else’s fault if I don’t succeed.

Of course, I was given all the tools and instructions I needed from Mrs. Garman, and I took it upon myself to get done what I needed to get done. Another important teacher of mine is my AP Economics teacher Dr. David Burgin, who recently won the 9-12 Teacher of the Year for Johnson City Schools. He took a subject that I knew little about and turned it into something that is now the frontrunner for what I will pursue in college.

What do you think is the biggest challenge for students today?

I think the biggest challenge for students today is staying focused. With the insane amount of information and distractions that are only a swipe away, it can be hard to prioritize. I know that I have had multiple experiences where I sit down to write a paper, check Instagram or Twitter or YouTube for five minutes, which turns into 15, which turns into an hour and now you’ve wasted a lot of time essentially doing nothing. It’s something that I’ve struggled with and am constantly trying to overcome.

What are your plans after high school?

I have a few options for after high school. I’ll either go play basketball at a D2 or highly academic D3 school, or I’ll go to a larger state school such as the University of Tennessee or Louisiana State University and be a regular student. Playing guitar in a band would be pretty cool, too.

My major is certainly not set in stone as of right now, but I’m leaning toward something in the economics or business area.

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