I am Matthew Kodrowski. I am from Lawrenceville, Georgia. I was born March 23, 2002. I grew up an only child. I enjoy being part of the “Klimbing Klub” and the “Labyrinths and Lions Club” at Piedmont College. I am a Sports Communications major and plan to minor in Religion.
My parents have really shaped me into who I am today. We went to church every Sunday, they would help me when I would struggle with homework, and I developed my love for sports from them. More importantly, they taught me to have a love for God. My Dad raised me to be a big Philadelphia sports fan. We would always watch Philadelphia Eagles, Flyers, and Phillies games. I also have a love for our local Atlanta Falcons, Thrashers, and Braves teams. Collegiately, I am big fan of Michigan State Spartans, Penn State Nittany Lions, Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets, and Georgia Bulldogs. In our home office, my parents would show me their collections of record albums primarily from the seventies and eighties. It really infused the passions I had for “oldies”, as they have been termed. Some of my favorite artists were Journey, K.I.S.S., Prince, Bon Jovi, AC/DC, as well as many others.
I think of myself as a joyful, happy-go-lucky guy. I worked hard in school to get into the position I am in today. I like sarcastic jokes, sports of course, but most of all, being a friend for others. I currently attend 12Stone church, a place where I have found deep community, and creative ways to enjoy learning about God. Last year I had the opportunity to be a leader in my church’s middle school program, where we impact the next generation. Originally, I was raised in the Catholic church. My mom worked for the church doing book-keeping, and so our family became very close to our fellow church members. While I no longer I attend there, I am thankful because I believe that church set the foundation for me on how I was to treat people and also grow spiritually.
From the outside, our lives appear to describe a normal family, but things weren’t always tulips and rainbows. I have faced a lot of adversity, grueling challenges, and plenty of closed doors. I have had what some would call a traumatic experience. I have undergone high pressure scenarios, but I have been able to overcome them all with faith and family.
When I was in Kindergarten, my dad was out getting the newspaper one morning when he was shot in our driveway. I was the one who found him, and while it allowed us the time needed to call help, it was still hard to see my dad in that state of pure terror. I promise not to go into details, and for the record, my dad is still alive and well today. However, that crisis marked me in ways I didn’t even realize. I see it sometimes as a blessing in disguise to have gone through this as a little kid because I was young enough to not fully grasp the severity of the situation while also being old enough to remember it and the good that came from it. I missed a few days of school while my dad was in the hospital, and in the meantime I was being cared for by my Aunt and older cousin, whom I grew even closer with during that time. While my dad was recovering at home, he was unable to go to church, so the church would come to our house; they would pray over us, comfort us, and reassure us that everything was in control. I believe that time helped me to really grow in maturity, in faith, and in love for others. It introduced me to how sinister the world can be sometimes, but it also taught me values of strength, determination, unconditional love, grace, mercy, positivity, and how to keep a smile on my face despite adversity.
Heading into my senior year, the school I had attended since the sixth grade, Covenant Christian Academy in Loganville, Georgia, closed midsummer. Instead of visiting colleges that summer, I was visiting high schools, a place for me to finish high school strong. We discovered a school called George Walton Academy from a former teacher of mine. I attended that school for my senior year determined to come in and out with a bang, a “one-hit wonder” so to speak. I played football, and while I by far was not the best player, I played each game with my heart out. I had the opportunity to work hard on the field, and even harder off of it. Things couldn’t have been better, and then a little thing called Covid-19 debuted. I finished online like many others like me across the nation. I graduated in late July, two weeks before my scheduled move-in for my first semester at Piedmont College. Piedmont had a new set up for schooling with hybridized classes due to Covid-19. I grinded through first semester well, and was surprised to have ended first semester with straight A’s.
If there is anything I want people to learn about me, It’s this: I am a fighter who is willing to overcome the odds. I have learned that you are not defined by your circumstances, but how you respond to them. The great football coach Vince Lombardi said, “It’s not whether you get knocked down, it’s whether you get up.” To get up is a response and a choice you have to make. What I plan to do with my life is to inspire people to become their best self. It’s a choice people make. It’s a choice I’ve made. The question is: How about you?