Thomas Jefferson

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Making History at TJ

Posted 12/19/2017 by Madeleine Abram

McHenry is quick to offer help to students like sophomore Maria Chavez-Martinez. photo by Lucy Peterson

New staff member Matthew McHenry concluded his first semester as a social studies teacher here at TJ.

After a number of years at different schools, social studies teacher Matthew McHenry has found a new home at Thomas Jefferson High School. Before he started teaching, McHenry graduated from CU Boulder in 2008 with a BA in History. Shortly after graduating, McHenry taught at Casey Middle School in Boulder, Skinner Middle School, and Bruce Randolph, where he worked alongside fellow social studies teacher Garien Behling. “After almost a decade at Bruce, it was kind of feeling dry. I was looking for a change, and [TJ] seemed like a good place to do that,” McHenry explained.

In only one short semester, McHenry has made quite an impression on the student body due to his fun and engaging US History classes and his involvement in TJ soccer. Senior Avery Hericks commented, “My favorite part of McHenry’s class has been the opportunity to be creative, as we have many art/conceptual projects. He presents new learning material in a fun way and allows us to explore our own opinions in ways that fit our learning styles… I’ve only heard good things about Mr. McHenry. Lots of kids go to his class during lunch to eat. He’s one of the favorite coaches, and is overall a genuine person.”

Additionally, McHenry assisted TJ boys’ soccer coach and Principal Intern Jon Poole with coaching the boys’ soccer team this semester, and will be coaching girls’ soccer with Behling in the spring. “I’ve pretty much been playing for my whole life. I think I first started playing soccer when I was five,” explained McHenry, “I played some soccer for Boston College, but when I got injured I transferred back over to Colorado to be closer to home. That’s where teaching history sort of came about… [History] was always my favorite subject growing up, which is kind of weird for a lot of people. I think a lot of people find social studies pretty dry, so I think it’s cool to be able to add some life into it. History really is just one giant story.”

Despite his affinity for soccer and history, McHenry enjoys participating in various activities such as hunting, fishing, playing hockey, dabbling in art, and spending time with his wife.

Hericks summed it up by saying, “Mr.McHenry is not only a teacher, but a friend. He is one of the most understanding teachers, as he connects with all the kids in his class.” Within merely a semester, it is evident that McHenry has already left a legacy on the school and community, and will continue to promote a positive learning environment for years to come.