Our best wishes go to Carden Hall alum Matthew Kernan (’09) who will begin his ascent of Mt. Everest this weekend. Matthew kindly took a few minutes away from training and last-minute preparations to answer some questions about his time at Carden Hall.
“Several years ago, I fell in love with climbing during an amazing adventure in the volcanic Andes mountains in Ecuador. Since then I have set my goal of climbing the Seven Summits, the highest mountain on every continent. So far, I have summited Mt. McKinley (North America) and Mt. Elbrus (Europe) and have trained and developed the skills necessary for the highest mountain on earth. I am at a rare moment in my life where I can take the time (1.5-2 months) to attempt such a mountain, and I am pouncing on it.”
How prepared did you feel for high school and college after Carden Hall?
“I felt Carden Hall gave me a distinct advantage when it came to the respect I inherently express when meeting new friends or teachers of any kind. I was truly amazed to see how so many young people are so casual and rude when interacting with mentors or professors, whereas I instinctively would sit in the front of all lectures and introduce myself on day one. I was one of very few to personally thank my teachers for each lecture as it ended as well. Carden gave me a sense of confidence in myself that I do not believe is taught elsewhere. I went into the high school experience with only one other classmate attending the same school and yet felt strong and independent as I went about joining a new community.”
Do you have any particularly favorite memories from your time here?
“I loved the public speaking class, as I found I genuinely enjoyed being in front of a group and having to intelligently express or debate a point. I think this skill is a dying art with people my age, and being put outside your comfort zone in this area is immeasurably productive for both working in a team and for self-confidence.”
If you could tell a current student or a perspective parent one thing about Carden Hall, what would it be?
“I would tell a prospective student that the teachers here and all the faculty really are interested in you and want to help you in so many ways and to give the process a chance. I know plenty of friends who went to other schools, both private and public, and their experiences were far less personal; they felt like just another kid in the room. As for parents, I would tell them that this place shaped me into the man I am today, and I remind my parents all the time of how grateful I am for having been able to attend Carden Hall. Even eight years later, my closest friends are the “knuckleheads” I met in first grade!”
For updates on Matthew’s climb, check out his blog kernanmountaineering.com.