May 5, 2021
Senior Spotlight: Matthew Buchan
Mount Paran Christian School provides the best that education has to offer, aspiring to do better tomorrow than we did today. Whether examining curriculum, competing on the athletic field, or performing on stage, we understand that we must glorify God in all that we do. The result of our relentless effort is evidenced by our graduates each year - seniors who are Christ-centered, learning-focused, community-oriented, and pursuers of excellence. This year’s top five achievers of the class of 2021 have earned impressive accolades, illustrating what it means to develop servant-leaders who honor God, love others, and walk in Truth. This is the third in a five-part series.
MATTHEW BUCHAN - COMMUNITY ORIENTED
MPCS nurtures community through relationships, service to others, and family connections.
For anyone who has set foot on the MPCS campus, there is little doubt that ours is a school Family. We are COMMUNITY-ORIENTED. Developing servant-leadership is a pillar of our mission and a priority as we nurture the hearts and minds of our students to be others-focused and make an impact for Christ.
MPCS “lifer” Matthew Buchan says that his school experience, from PreK to his senior year, has been instrumental in formulating his outlook on life. “Mount Paran has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember,” he says. “I am forever thankful for the friendships I’ve made and the experiences the school has given me. Mount Paran provides so many opportunities to pursue your interests in an encouraging and supportive environment. Being a part of such a close-knit community builds life-long friendships. Teachers truly care, and there will always be a group for you.”
When he heads off to the Georgia Tech Honors Program this fall, where he has been nominated for a Stamps Presidential Scholarship, Matthew says it’s the MPCS community he will miss most - “hanging out” after school in the senior parking lot, playing ultimate frisbee with the cross country team, or seeing his friends as he runs on the track or walks through the halls. “My favorite memory has been the eighth-grade Washington, DC trip,” Matthew says. “I was able to further bond with the friends I had and make some new ones.”
Though he once dreamed of being a roller coaster Imagineer at Disney, Matthew plans to pursue a career in cybersecurity, majoring in computer science with a minor in Spanish, finance, or management information systems. He has even already worked an IT internship at Windham Brannon, a CPA and consulting firm. Such ambitious career aspirations seem second nature for a student who has earned recognition as an AP Scholar with Distinction, Head of School Honor Roll, STAR Student, Georgia Certificate of Merit, and Project Lead the Way® STEM Certification in math and science.
It’s a balancing act to meet the rigorous college-preparatory curriculum at MPCS, while also engaging in a plethora of extracurricular activities. During his time at MPCS, Matthew has been involved in Beta Club (Treasurer), Chick-fil-A Leader Academy, Key Club (Vice President), Mu Alpha Theta, National Honor Society, Spanish National Honor Society, Yearbook (Co-Editor and Copy Editor), Cross Country (three-time State qualifier and Coach’s Award), Track and Field, and volunteering in a variety of ways, including MUST Ministries Toy Shop, Save it Forward, St. Philothei Food Pantry, Gaines Park Assisted Living, Holbrook Living Communities, and Horizon League Baseball and Kickball. He is also a two-time State and District winner for the national St. John Chrysostom’s Oratorical Festival and is the Altar Team Captain at his church, Holy Transfiguration Altar.
Matthew’s busy weekly calendar is representative of the many opportunities to engage with the MPCS community. He encourages students to try different things – both in the class choices and extracurricular involvement. “Mount Paran really supports and encourages students to follow their passions and works with them to make it all work,” he says.
A large part of that sense of community stems from the support of the faculty and staff, who Matthew says “truly care about me.” He says Mrs. Robyn Settlemyer was a big influence during his lower school years. “She really encouraged me and supported a different way of thinking. She helped me embrace the lesson that God created each one of us to be unique, and that is a great thing.” High school biology teacher Dr. Bonnie Stephens has been a sort of kindred spirit for Matthew. “I really identify with her, as we both share a high level of intellectual curiosity and approach things in a thoughtful, creative, and quiet way,” he says. “She has been a true blessing to me, as she is a terrific teacher and has really helped me through the college application process and other challenging times.”
It is exactly this sort of one-on-one attention and caring community that have made Matthew’s parents so thrilled to have been a part of the school Family for the past thirteen-plus years. “We are forever thankful for the Mount Paran community of staff, students, and parents that have made this a home for our family for so many years,” they share. “Knowing that our children spend their days learning in a Christ-centered environment has been a blessing."
Indeed, Matthew feels prepared for a bright future ahead, resting easy in the assurance of one of his favorite Bible verses, 1 Philippians 4:13:
I can do all this through him who gives me strength.