Brownwood High School’s latest student to be recognized by the National Merit Scholar program is considering two career fields. One would take him to the University of Texas at Arlington to study to become an aeronautical engineer. The other would take him to Howard Payne University to earn a degree in youth ministry.
“I’ll just have to see what door God opens for me,” BHS senior Matt Roddam said Monday morning, just minutes after Principal Bill Faircloth notified him of the honor.
“We’ll have an official certificate and a presentation soon,” Faircloth told Roddam, showing him a note card on which he had written the details of the honor.
As an aside, Faircloth added, “I think there will be a lot of ceremonies for Matt before this year is over. That’s just about as good as it gets. You’re not being compared just with students from Brownwood or Texas, this is people in the entire United States.”
Roddam said his favorite subjects are physics and math, and BHS counselor Rob Martin said he found out firsthand that Roddam knows his science.
“My favorite Matt Roddam story is the day I was walking to the office and Matt calls to me from Mr. (Larry) Mathis’ class up on the second floor, and wondered if I would take the attendance roster with me,” Martin said. “He asked where I thought it was going to land if he dropped it, and I told him he should tell me — he’s the physics guy. So I held up my hand… and Matt drops this sheet of paper. It flips and flutters and I wasn’t sure where it was going to go. But I didn’t have to move a muscle. It dropped right between my outstretched fingers.”
“That kinda surprised me, too,” Roddam said.
Martin said he had been aware of Roddam’s interest in engineering, but didn’t know he was also considering youth ministry.
“Matt is the type of person who will do well in whatever he decides to do,” Martin said.
Roddam, the son of Sheryl Roddam of Brownwood, is president of the Student Council and National Honor Society chapter. He is a member of the varsity tennis team and operates the giant JumboTron screen at Gordon Wood Stadium. He is also a praise and worship team leader at New Beginnings Church in Brownwood.
Last spring, Roddam won second place at the state UIL tournament in accounting, and fifth place at state in computer applications.
“Being around students like Matt are the reason we enjoy this business,” Faircloth said.
Faircloth said last year, Roddam had a question about a dual-credit class he wanted to take, and Roddam sent him a two-page letter explaining why it needed to be offered.
“He went into great detail making his case,” Faircloth said. “It was something you might expect from a 25- or 30-year-old. I told him there was no way I could refuse that. He made it easy to say ‘yes.’ Other teenagers might have just come to the office and argued about it.”
Faircloth praised the overall quality of Brownwood High School students this year, and noted that at least one BHS student has received some recognition from the National Merit Scholar Program in every one of the four years since he’s been principal here.
More than two-thirds or about 34,000 of the approximately 50,000 high scorers on the PSAT/NMSQT receive Letters of Commendation in recognition of their outstanding academic promise. Commended Students are named on the basis of a nationally applied Selection Index score that may vary from year to year and is below the level required for participants to be named Semifinalists in their respective states. Although Commended Students do not continue in the competition for Merit Scholarship awards, some of these students do become candidates for special scholarships sponsored by corporations and businesses.