By Tony DeGol
As a 2023 graduate of Bishop Guilfoyle Catholic High School in Altoona, Matthew Woolridge is looking forward to the next chapter of his academic career.
He is off to the University Park campus of Penn State University to study kinesiology.
He wants to be a physical therapist.
As much as he cannot wait to help heal people physically, he is already helping people heal in a different way.
While in high school, Woolridge volunteered at a soup kitchen in Altoona, which fulfilled his desire to support folks in need.
“Ever since I was little, I felt a sense of accomplishment helping others,” he admitted. “Just knowing that I was a part of making them better, it’s steeped in my heart.”
His time at the soup kitchen taught him great lessons beyond the classroom.
“I realized that everyone has different struggles and different needs,” he said. “Everyone who came in there looked different and acted different, but everyone was just a nice person.”
Woolridge’s volunteerism at the soup kitchen was not part of his required service hours at Guilfoyle. It was just something he felt was important to do, and he hopes to stay engaged in something similar when he gets to Penn State.
“I’m looking into different things,” he added. “I’m not sure what I want to do, but I definitely want to focus on something.”
With his diploma now proudly earned, Woolridge seems to embody the spirit of his fellow Catholic high school graduates throughout the Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown as they recall and celebrate not only outstanding academic formation they received in the classroom, but the faith and values that defined their entire Catholic education experience.
“What’s been instilled in me is to treat others with respect,” he stated. “That’s focused on a lot at BG.”