Matthews works to provide real-world experience for students

Published 9:30 am Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Real world experience is the most important thing Christin Matthews can give her students at St. Aloysius High School.

Matthews has taught web design for the past three years at her alma mater. This past year the class of five students worked to create and upgrade websites for different organizations.

“Wherever we can help, non-profits especially, it all goes back into service based learning, project based learning, any type of real world experience,” she said.

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The class was contacted to create a website to encompass the modern rebranding of Rowdy’s Family Restaurant and the family’s tradition of 100 years of service to Vicksburg. The class met with Rowdy to get a feel for what he wanted in the website.

“We kind of just listened to how he restructured and redecorated the restaurant, and we wanted to be consistent with that design and let it flow over into the website,” she said.

The class spent two months on the project. On the last day of class, students took a field trip to attend the ribbon cutting ceremony held by the Vicksburg-Warren County Chamber of Commerce at the revamped restaurant.

Most recently the class was contacted by the Warren County Master Gardeners to update a website the club had already established. Four of the five students in the class were wrapping up their senior year so the lone underclassman Ethan Naron took the helm in the website renovation.

“The entire class evaluated the website, but Ethan ended up making specific revisions and edits to the site,” Matthews said. “He added the Warren County Master Gardeners’ logo and decreased the number of fonts used on the site. He also changed the colors of heading and body copy for consistency in design.”

The upgrade project took Naron about a week to complete. Master gardener Joelyn James gave a rave review to Matthews on the site’s new look.

“The site looks great. I love where he placed the logo,” she said. Matthews isn’t sure if the class will be offered this fall, but she is already making plans in case her class gets to continue the work they started last year.

“I’m hoping it will make because it’s been such a great opportunity for the students to have some real world learning experience,” she said.

In addition to web design, Matthews has also taught computer applications and desktop publishing in her three years at the school.

“I’m fairly new and I’ve loved every minute of it so far,” she said. “It’s been a great learning experience for me too.”

Matthews did not originally go to school to be a teacher but instead received her bachelor’s degree in mass communication and advertising at Louisiana State University and a MBA at Mississippi State University. Eventually she received her teaching license at the Teach Mississippi Institute through the University of Mississippi.

The teaching opportunity at St. Al became available when her former computer teacher retired.

“It’s just that project based, real world experience, that’s what I’m all about, and community service,” she said.