METUCHEN, NJ - The second that Matthew DaSilva stepped foot on the campus of Saint Joseph High School five years ago he immediately felt something special. From his first campus tour to his time as “Freshman for a Day,” DaSilva knew the choice was easy. He was going to spend the most formative years of his life at Saint Joe’s.
Sure there were other private schools in consideration, mainly St. John Vianney and Christian Brothers Academy, but Saint Joseph High School was different. It felt like home.
“We went through the process and did open houses at all of the schools,” DaSilva said.
“When I came to Saint Joe’s and participated in the ‘Freshman for a Day’ program, everything felt different.. I came here and I loved the atmosphere a lot. I had such a good day. The teachers were amazing and my ‘Freshman for a Day’ was great. It was Jos Parayil ‘21, the valedictorian from last year. After my initial experience at Saint Joe’s, I just knew this was the perfect school for me.”
DaSilva knew right away that he wanted a four-year course load that would culminate in the most demanding classes, including AP American Literature, BC Calculus and Discrete Math.
Based on his older sister’s experience in an AP class during her freshman year at Saint John Vianney, DaSilva recognized what it would take to be successful in challenging classes.
“One of the great things about Saint Joe’s is the curriculum is a progression,” DaSilva said. “They start you out your freshman year and set you up for a path of success, each year building on a progression as you move up. The courses lead into each other which helps build a strong infrastructure of understanding as the courses become more challenging each year.”
As one can imagine, the course load was no match for DaSilva. In four years, he’s accumulated 11 Academic Excellence awards, a perfect score on the math portion of the SATs and ACTs. He also scored a 4 or better on each of the seven AP tests taken during his first three years on campus. When all is said and done, DaSilva will have taken 10 AP courses in four years, along with two AP self-studied AP exams.
“It has been amazing to watch Matthew grow as a student from the time he was a freshman until now,” Saint Joseph High School Principal Anne Rivera said. “Matthew conquered an extremely difficult course progression and is a role model for what can happen during a student’s journey at Saint Joe’s with the right mindset and motivation to succeed. I hope that our current and future students at Saint Joe’s use Matthew’s experience as a roadmap to their own success.”
Over the last four years, DaSilva has become one of the most well-rounded students that has walked the halls of Saint Joseph High School in recent times. DaSilva has not only thrived inside the classroom, but outside as well. From playing three years of soccer and co-founding the Mock Trial team to a successful run with the Math League, DaSilva has made the most out of his tenure at Saint Joe’s.
When it came time to find his next adventure, DaSilva knew exactly what he was looking for. Walking around the Brown University campus in Providence, Rhode Island, DaSilva found home again. After being accepted via an early decision, DaSilva’s college search quickly came to an end.
“Because Brown has an open curriculum and no course requirements - I can take whatever I want - I really loved that particularly about the school,” DaSilva said. “When I went to campus in April 2021, it was a nice spring day. Everyone was on campus sitting on blankets, doing homework, relaxing, talking to friends on the lawn. Having that atmosphere made me feel like ‘This is where I belonged.’”
As DaSilva’s days at Saint Joe's come to an end, the only thing left to do for the Sayreville native is to sit back and celebrate. The festivities started in late April when DaSilva was named the Class of 2022 Salutatorian and will culminate with Senior Awards, Senior Prom and finally graduation, where he will deliver one of two student speeches. His message to the Saint Joseph High School Class of 2022 is simple:
“Remain true to yourself and your values while allowing yourself room for growth can be done simultaneously. Do not fear the inevitability of change and instead embrace the new experiences you will encounter as we look forward to our indubitably bright futures.”