Empowered to Dream cover

Hearts & Minds

Empowered to Dream

By Kristen Walsh

Regis Today Spring 2017

When Fred Mathieu ’19 is on the track running the 200-meter sprint, he thinks about what he needs to do, how he needs to do it, and how hard he has worked for this moment. And when he hears cheering from his Regis teammates, he knows that he can keep going—that he can finish the race and finish strong.

The scenario is reflective of life for the 20-year-old, who has relied on both himself and his support networks to get through tough times; the toughest was losing his mother to pancreatic cancer two years ago.

“When my mother passed away it was difficult to maintain school and balance work and athletics,” he says of holding down a job to help support his five stepsiblings while attending Coral Reef High School in Miami, Florida, and participating on the wrestling and track teams. “But my teammates and guidance counselors supported me to make sure my positive, outgoing personality never wavered.”

“My mother always taught me to help others and that's a value I cherish. If you help one person, they could help another and the cycle keeps going.”

Mathieu’s positive Regis experience began even before he met his supportive track teammates. When he was first exploring the school, he recalls a conversation with Admission Representative Joe Amorosino.

“He sounded genuinely sincere. I felt that he cared for me as an individual and wanted to see nothing but the best for me. I knew then that Regis would be a welcoming community and a place I could call home.”

That feeling, along with financial support from Regis, has served as further inspiration for how he spends his days. “I make sure to stand up for people, because others have done that for me. I give back to the school that has given me so much.”

Mathieu has made a difference through various leadership positions at Regis, with encouragement from Matthew Norton ’17, Student Government Association (SGA) president and track teammate. “Matt saw my positivity on the track and asked me to get involved with SGA. He helped me expand my determination and pushed me out of my comfort zone.”

Mathieu served as SGA freshman class representative and was later elected as communications coordinator on the SGA Executive Board. Now, as a resident assistant in Angela Hall, he helps first-year students discover their talents and recognize their ability to take those talents to the next level—similar to what Norton did for him just a year earlier. His philosophy when it comes to connecting with residents is to always enter every situation with an open mind and an open heart.

“I tell all of my residents that if they ever need anything, no matter what the time of day, come to me,” he says. “Knowing that I have people to fall back on is what keeps me positive and motivated. It reminds me that I can be a resource to people in need.”

Mathieu had to find his own voice at an early age as he advocated for his mother while she was in the hospital with cancer. He remembers how long it would take for nurses to answer her calls for medicine to help ease her constant pain, and how lack of movement caused her bed sores to worsen.

“I feel like the nurses eventually gave up on her,” he says. “I want to make sure no one receives that kind of neglect and lack of respect, so I plan to use my Regis degree to work in a role that will enhance the caregiver-patient relationship.

“My mother always taught me to help others and that’s a value I cherish. If you help one person, they could help another and the cycle keeps going.”

The Regis community is giving Mathieu the tools to do just that, and he is making the most of his opportunities here.

“People at Regis have so much determination that it makes me work harder. It is empowering to be in a place where you can work hard and achieve your dreams.”

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