From the Fulton County Schools Communications web page.
May 1–Matthew Rott knows about sheltering in place. Having grown up with an inherited immune deficiency, he has spent much time at home or in the hospital managing illness. Yet he has kept up with schoolwork and maintains a 4.0. School Counselor Chanell Shabbaz said, “He’s very humble, spiritual and not afraid to talk about it.”
Above: FCS STAR Student Video of Matthew Rott, featured on the FCS website with this years’ other FCS STAR Students.
Even when homebound during his sophomore second semester, he stayed current on assignments. “I want to make a difference in the world,” he said. “My amazing teachers inspire me to keep at it.” At school, Matthew is recognized for his math abilities, and AP Calculus teacher Rahim Ghassemian commends his out-of-the-box thinking. “Matthew is a no-nonsense guy,” said Ghassemian. “When Matthew talks, everybody listens.” Due to varied reading material, Matthew possesses “broad knowledge and insight into problem-solving that gives him an edge.” His favorite subjects are math and science, especially physics, and he’s invested in projects involving these interests both locally and globally. At school, he participated in the robotics club, the Spartabots, which advanced to the First Tech Challenge state championship this year.
Volunteering from home has been a safe way for him to give back, and one exciting initiative is the Folding@Home project in which citizen scientists run a software program while their CPUs are idle that performs protein dynamics simulations. The data is collected for researchers to better understand diseases and how to cure them. COVID-19 is currently a high priority study subject. Another fascination is meteorology, and Matthew is a certified Skywarn Weather Spotter. A National Weather Service program, Skywarn trains a network of people to spot severe localized weather systems and file spotter reports that aid forecasters in their storm coverage.
Shabbaz insists he will one day be “Dr. Rott” and sees him as the next big tech guru. Both Ghassemian and Shabbaz acknowledge his resilience in the face of his health limitations. “Sometimes you see students go through struggles and use them as an excuse not to strive,” said Shabbazz. “But Matthew – when he’s in the hospital – he keeps lines of communication open. It’s that maturity piece; no matter what he’s going through, he still keeps his eyes on the goal.” Ghassemian concurs. “I’ve learned a lot from him and his resilience,” he said. “He always came back strong, worked super hard and studied way above average hours to get back to where he needed to be. I think Matthew is going to go places.”
While he misses his friends during the COVID-19 shutdown, Matthew says staying busy helps.
Matthew heads to Oxford College of Emory this fall double majoring in computer science and physics and will study quantum computing, a technical field that uses more powerful computers. “You can do a lot of incredible research with those computers,” Matthew emphasized. He hopes to work meteorology into his major and future work as well.
2020 Star Senior Videos
- Continuing our tradition of recognizing graduating seniors, Fulton County Schools proudly launches its “Star Seniors: Class of 2020” web and video series. These 17 outstanding seniors – one from each high school – embody the spirit and fortitude of the Class of 2020. We are profiling high academic achievers, all-star athletes and award-winners, students with unusual or unique stories to share, and those who have beaten the odds to graduate.The unforeseen arrival of COVID-19 made the stories of this year’s Star Seniors even more important to share. These students and their peers deserve to be recognized for overcoming obstacles and moving their studies online to continue the path towards graduation. Star Seniors and the Class of 2020, we salute you for your grit and can-do attitude. There is no doubt this unexpected experience will equip you for life’s surprises and pave the way for a successful future.Today we are profiling our first five honorees, and over the next two weeks on Friday, May 1 and Friday, May 8, we will spotlight the remaining 12 Star Seniors. Check out their inspiring stories here and tune in to FCS-TV and our social media channels for more in-depth information on each student.
Released Friday, May 1, 2020