Matthew Gainsboro: Student Vice Head of School

Anna Sander ’20, Co-Editor in Chief

     Matthew Gainsboro ’20 plans to bring his history of inclusion and community building to his new role as Concord Academy’s student vice head of school. Elected in May 2019 by the student body, he was initially attracted to the position because he wanted to use the platform to advocate for all members of the CA community.

      “I really liked the idea of representing people who have different interests than I do and listening to those whose priorities are different than mine in order to make CA the best place possible for everyone, not just myself.”

     A lifelong Concord resident, Matthew attended the Fenn School before arriving at CA. He initially came to CA because he knew it was a great school near his house, but he remarked that he has “fallen in love with the community,” specifically “seeing how many different kinds of people are here and how they are all friends with each other and supported.”

     Matthew’s favorite class has been U.S. Intervention in Modern Latin America, taught by Emma Storbeck. He explained, “That was the first class at CA that felt like it truly covered an ongoing problem that I could do something about. I was angrier than I’d ever been sitting in an academic setting. Emma presented it incredibly and also knew how to connect with us on an emotional level beyond just being a teacher.”

     In addition to being a dedicated student, Matthew has engaged with a wide range of extra-curricular activities including cross country, Queer and Questioning, theatre classes and productions, and chorus while at CA. He believes that these experiences have not only been fun but have also shaped his journey at CA.

     “I wouldn’t say this coming in, but one of the most important parts of my CA experience has been cross country. In some ways, I have learned more about myself in cross country than in school. Specifically, I’ve learned about how to work hard and get results, while also making friends with the people I do that with. I’ve been able to apply that at CA and throughout life.”

     Matthew’s favorite CA tradition is the Chandler Bowl, an annual fall tournament between CA and Pingree School. He explained that, although “CA is all about individuality and finding your own voice and path,” the Chandler Bowl is an opportunity for CA students to “all really come together in support of the same thing.”

     While Matthew has appreciated his time at CA, he believes that mental health is not always given the priority treatment that it deserves, especially at a college preparatory school. He intends to make it a priority as Student Vice Head of school and hopes that he can combat this problem by establishing a mental health representative on Council, reducing the social stigma around receiving counseling, and improving the fit between students and counselors in the Health Center. 

     Matthew thinks he has a great partner and teammate in Vedika Sharma ’20, the student head of school.  He emphasized that there is “no one I’d rather represent CA with.”

     Matthew hopes to make being on Council an inclusive experience and said, “I want everyone to feel like they’re contributing in some way and to look back and be proud of what we achieve, both in the context of their position and council as a whole.”

     If he could share one thing with new students, he would stress that he wants everyone to be comfortable reaching out to him. “I love people, and I hope everyone knows they can talk to me at any point. For me, freshman year was scary at points, but it was also one of the best years ever. I hope I can help that ring true for all freshmen.”