Matthew Chase is a middle school student at South Carolina Connections Academy (SCCA). Matthew enjoys SCCA’s welcoming and supportive learning environment. Learn more about his story below.
Matthew was born with a heart condition called Hupoplastic Left Heart Syndrome (HLHS), which means that he was born with only the right side of his heart. As a baby, he endured many open heart surgeries in order for his heart to be able to function. With the persistence of his doctors and funding collected for heart research through the American Heart Association, Matthew is alive and well today. In his free time, he works hard to raise awareness about helping others in need.
Matthew initially attended a bricks-and-mortar school, but because of his compromised immune system, he only attended school three days a week and spent the remaining two days at home with a teacher. Even still, the limited schedule did not prevent him from getting sick. Once he entered the sixth grade, his mom decided to stay home and research other schooling options to keep Matthew from getting sick or bullied at school. After lots of research, his mom was happy to discover that SCCA provides books and teacher-led LiveLesson® sessions each day of the week.
After three years of attending SCCA, Matthew is thriving. His younger sister, Caroline, will also be attending the school. His favorite subject is science. Math continues to be a challenge for Matthew—research has shown that children with HLHS often struggle with math in particular. He had a very hard time a strict teacher at his bricks-and-mortar school, and that experience affected his self-esteem. Luckily, he has fallen in love with all of his teachers at SCCA. He is able to talk to his teachers whenever he needs. There is no bullying or teasing, and all of the students get along and treat each other with respect.
Because of his health, Matthew cannot exert himself physically. His extracurricular activities consist of playing video games and arranging Lego® blocks. He also spends much of his time campaigning and fundraising for the local children’s hospital and the American Heart Association (AHA). Matthew is a guest DJ every year on the local radio station’s Radiothon to raise money for the children’s hospital. During his 2013 guest DJ spot, he was known as having ‘donation persuasion.’ Matthew has been interviewed every year for the AHA and many times on the news for his heart condition and fundraising efforts. Matthew ends every speech with his quote, “You have to have a heart to save a heart.”
I love South Carolina Connections Academy because if I am sick, I can do my schoolwork at my own pace and not have to rush through lessons. I love my teachers who help me understand lesson material and are easy to talk to. SCCA helps me stay healthy, go to school, and have free time to play lots of Minecraft!