Get to know Mr. Matt Roy

According to the blurb on Northwood’s web site, Matt Roy…

…has taught Physics, Physical Science, and Biology at Northwood School since 2004.  He has also coached various sports including soccer, crew, and whitewater kayaking.. Before life at Northwood, Matt was the Executive Director of the United States Bobsled and Skeleton Federation and a member of the 1988 Olympic Bobsled team.  He is a 1982 graduate of St. Lawrence University where he majored in Biology and Environmental Studies. Matt is married and has four children – Emily ’08, Kate ’06, Chris ’15 and Robbie.

Staff writer Bernado Simões ’20 sat down with Mr. Roy to get to know him better. Here is his report.

Bernado Simões: Tell me a little about yourself.

Mr. Roy: I was born in New York City, and I lived there until I was six. From there, I moved to Westchester County and then to Saranac Lake when I was around twenty, twenty-five. I’ve been living in Lake Placid since 1985 when I married my wife Caroline. We have four children and currently three dogs, but we hope to give one back.

I was a bobsledding athlete from 1980 to 1990. I ran the USA Bobsled Federation from 1992 to 2004, and I have been teaching at Northwood since the 2004-2005 school year.

 

How did you first learn about Northwood? Why did you decide to come here?

When I was bobsledding, I felt that understanding physics gave me a competitive advantage. Even though I was a biology major, I thought I would like to teach physics one day. But actually realizing that I wanted to be a teacher goes way back….

My mom and I were on our way to California when we found out that my father had collapsed on a golf course because of stomach cancer. He was about to take a new job in Nigeria. Despite my dad’s cancer, I went to the American School in Switzerland, because it was easier than going to school in Nigeria and then coming back to the States. When my dad passed away, I was still at the American School. There, I had people, such as my rugby coach, my kayak coach, and my chemistry teacher who were sort of father figures to me, and I thought that after a career in bobsledding maybe I’d go teach at a private school. So I applied for a job at Northwood, and here I am sixteen years later.

When you first got here, what was your first impression of Northwood? 

Before coming here, I already knew of Northwood. I had a lot of friends here. When growing up, I had a girlfriend who went here, my wife went here, and the guy who got me into bobsledding and I would come down on the weekends and work out on the Edwards Field when I was at St. Lawrence. I remember Northwood as a nice tight community–a smaller school than what I was used to.

 

How has the school changed since you came here sixteen years ago?

I would say that the biggest difference is co-curricular. When I started here, students were pretty much competitive hockey players or skiers. Everybody else that wasn’t on a team went to the mountain and skied during the winter. Now we have dance, drama, music, rockets, mountain biking, yoga, etc.

 

How did you start bobsledding?

I was in a waterski club, and the guy who drove the boat in the club had been in the 1980 Winter Olympics. He had crashed and was hurt, but he was going to start sliding again. He asked me to be his brakeman, so we trained together in the fall. At that time, my mother had a boyfriend who had been a bobsledder, and he told me, “If you wanna control your destiny, you gotta be a driver,” so I started driving and would slide from December to March every year.

 

Do you currently have any connection to bobsledding?

For the last fifteen years, I have taken Northwood kids out to participate in a youth sliding program.

After my career as an athlete, I was Executive Director for the U.S. Bobsled and Skeleton Federation for 12 years. I was very proud to get Skeleton and Womens’ Bobsled added to the Olympic program for the 2002 games. I spent a lot of time traveling, a lot of time away from my family, and after 20 years, I was ready for some time off. Now I look forward to retiring from teaching and having some time to volunteer at track.

 

What was your favorite day at Northwood so far?

Every day is great here! I like being involved with the kids.

I do remember a day when the power was out because of a storm, and the teachers taught without any power, without any lights. That was interesting!

Some of my favorite memories are when kids say “Oh my god, I can’t do that,” when they first go whitewater kayaking, but at the end of the day manage to do it. Those moments make me proud. Or sometimes when I’m teaching and a kid says, “Oh, I get it now!”

Humans of Northwood: Andres Guerreiro Del Paso ‘23

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My name is Andres, and I am from Mexico. I came to Northwood because I wanted to study in a different country, and after speaking with a parent of another student who already went here, I decided Northwood would be a good fit for me.

Since Northwood is a boarding school, my life here has been different from how it was back in Mexico. The only two things that I don’t like about Northwood are some classes that I don’t find so interesting and my room because it’s so small. But I think the location of Northwood makes living here a really good experience! What I miss the most about Mexico is mostly my family and the food. Our meals back home are really different from our meals here.

After Northwood, there is a small chance that I’ll attend a college in the U.S. I’ll probably go back to Mexico at the end of this school year. I’ll never forget some of the activities I have done here such as rock climbing.

As told to Bernardo Simões ’20

Humans of Northwood: Pedro Bacci ‘23

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My name is Pedro Bacci, and I am a soccer player from São Paulo, Brazil. I came to Northwood because when I played in Brazil, a coach from Black Rock FC watched one of my games and invited me to play here.

My experience at Northwood has been very good so far. I feel very comfortable here because all the faculty, students, and staff are very welcoming. The major difference between Northwood and my old school is the relationship between faculty and students. Here, students are much closer to the faculty.

After graduating from Northwood, I want to go to a college in the U.S., so I can study and play soccer [at the same time]. Things that I’ll never forget about Northwood are the friends I have made here and the amazing experiences I have had so far. I like almost everything about Northwood. The only thing I don’t like is that this place is very cold, and I am not used to it. Brazil is much warmer!

As told to Bernardo Simões

Soccer Goes 2-1 in Connecticut

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Luca Rodriguez ’20 in action in Lake Placid in September 2019 (Photo: Mr. Michael Aldridge).

The Northwood soccer team traveled to Connecticut recently to play three games against other prep schools. After going undefeated against prep opponents last year, the Huskies suffered their second loss against prep schools this season.

On Saturday, half the Northwood squad first faced Westminster School and won 6-0 with a hat trick by Ryan Combe ́20, and other three goals by Tonio Chan ́20, Marcelo Suarez ́20 and Alvaro Galan ́20. Following this game, the other half of the Northwood soccer team played Kingswood-Oxford and lost 2-1 in a tight game. Kingswood-Oxford got the advantage early in the first half, and our soccer team wasn’t able to tie the game until ten minutes from the end, with an own goal scored by the Kingswood ́s player. However, a game that was expected to finish tied, ended up with a defeat for the Huskies, who got scored on with three minutes left to play, due to a beautiful set play off a throw-in across the box.

On Sunday, the soccer team played a tough game against Williston-Northampton at Loomis Chaffee School, and they won 3-1 with a brace by Alvaro Pascual ́21 and other goal by Kenji Mboma ́20.

Prep Hockey Team Remains Undefeated

NW Hockey LogoSeptember 20 – 22, 2019) The prep team looked to stay undefeated as they traveled to Boston for their first showcase of the year. After a busy weekend of five games, the Prep Hockey Team kept their undefeated season alive.

The first victory of 5-2 was reached on Friday against Springfield, with a pair scored by Zachary Sedlacek (Forward, 2022) and other three goals by Ryan Panico (Forward, 2022), John Cielo (Forward, 2021) and Erik Hegyi (Forward, 2021). Still, on Friday, the Prep squad had an astonishing triumph against Northern Cyclones, beating them 7-1. The goals were scored by Devon Jolley (Defense,2020), Lars Kroes (Forward, 2021), Sedlacek, John Cielo, Aidan LaValley (Forward,2020), Rintaro Akasaka (Defense,2020) and Panico with an empty net.

On Saturday the Huskies dominated and won both games for 3-1, The first one against Islander HC, with goals by LaValley, Cielo, and Sedlacek. The second game on Saturday was against Palmyra Black Knights, with a pair of tallies by Dante Sena (Forward, 2022) and another goal by Kroes.

There was no better way to finish the weekend than defeating the South Shore Kings on Sunday, getting a final score of 3-1 and an undefeated weekend. Goals in that game were netted by Kroes, Sedlacek and Alex Ceselka (Forward, 2022).

After these great achievements, the expectations on the Prep Hockey Team are high, but the Huskies feel confident and won’t accept anything but the victory.

Soccer Bests Berkshire

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Northwood School’s starting eleven versus Berkshire School on September 11, 2019 (Source: Black Rock FC).

The Northwood boys’ soccer team believed they were the best prep team in the country last season, but they never had the chance to prove it. Berkshire School, which held the top spot in the rankings, cancelled a fall 2018 game with Northwood, preventing the Huskies from ascending to the top of the prep soccer rankings in their first year of the elite soccer program.

The expectations for the game last Wednesday, September 11th, were high, especially for John Sinclair  ‘20, a postgraduate who graduated from Berkshire School last year. “I knew it would be high tensions,” Sinclair said, “and it would be a very physical and intense match.”

Indeed, it was a tough game for Northwood, who got their first goal with an amazing kick by Luke Smith ‘21 from outside the eighteen. Eitan Rosen  ‘20 said, “It was a phenomenal goal–a real piece of class that broke the ice in a tight game.”

Video: Luke Smith ’21 scored the first goal versus Berkshire (Video credit: Berkshire School)

The Huskies were able to maintain the advantage until the second half, when Berkshire scored on a penalty kick to tie the game. But this setback didn’t deflate the Huskies. “I felt we had to keep playing our style of play: don’t force anything and eventually we would get the goal,” said Ryan Combe ‘20.

Northwood had never given up on a victory that seemed reachable. With about five minutes remaining in the game, Mateo Rodriguez  ‘20 headed a corner kick ball into Berkshire’s net, scoring the game-winning goal. Despite Berkshire’s attempts to tie the game, the Huskies controlled the game until the end.

When the final whistle was heard and the game finished, the rivals became friends again. “After the game, a lot of my friends at Berkshire came over to me, and it was a really great feeling to see them stay after the game and greet me!” said Sinclair, who described the Northwood win as “bittersweet” at a school meeting assembly last Friday.

Rankings haven’t been released since the game, but Northwood’s players and coaches expect the Huskies to earn the top spot when national prep rankings are updated on Top Drawer Soccer.

Northwood coach Mr. John Moodey was the soccer coach at Berkshire before starting Northwood’s program two years ago. “It was a good outcome,” said Moodey. “[The team] has only been together for a week, so I am happy with the result. There were really good moments for us, and we showed some of our potential,” he added. “Obviously we made some mistakes and weren’t perfect, but it was a good first step as we begin our season.” He had always believed that the Northwood soccer players had the ability, the chemistry, and the character to win the game.

Now that the boys have overcome this first challenge, the main goal for this year is to build a strong sense of community within the team to get the strongest chemistry possible and to continue getting great results.

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