January Student of Distinction Matthew Jackman

January 17, 2019

Family, teachers, and school administrators were on hand at the Mahopac Central School District Board meeting on January 17 to celebrate Matthew Jackman as he was honored with a Student of Distinction award.
Jackman, who is 13-years old, has been in Putnam | Northern Westchester BOCES programs since 2010. He started out in the CLASS Program in the Walden School and progressed to the BOCES Local School Building program. He currently attends Somers Middle School, where he is taught by Maryellen Lopreato.
Lopreato, like the rest of Jackman’s support squad, was beaming with pride as she stepped up to the podium to say a few words about her beloved student. Lopreato noted that coming out to the ceremony was a lot for Jackman, who told her he had stage fright.
“Matthew said, ‘I don’t need an award or a medal to make me happy,’” she added. “I told him, we know that you don’t need a medal to make you happy, but we want to talk about all the good things that have happened to you.”
One of the most notable changes in Jackman this past year, according to Lopreato, is that he has become much more flexible.
“We have seen much growth in Matthew's ability to be more flexible in his thinking which has had a direct impact on his ability to make gains in social and emotional development and in academic areas,” Lopreato noted before the ceremony. “Matthew went from saying, ‘You know I can't do that!’ to ‘Let me think about that,’ or ‘I can deal with that!’ He can identify progress that he has made.”
Lopreato credits some of those improvements to the classroom. “It’s been the structure, the routine that he has,” she said. “He developed a trust, a rapport with all of the staff in the classroom. He’s got a good support system.”
In her speech, Lopreato also noted that Jackman has become much more reflective.
“He thinks about his actions and about his words,” she explained. “And he’s quick to apologize if he’s made a mistake and tries to make things better. He’s a good person.”
Lopreato closed by saying, “While being here tonight, Matthew, might not be the easiest thing to do, it is definitely worth it. When you look around, there are a lot of people that are here to support you: your teachers, your school district, and most importantly, your family. So you should be proud.”