Read a book or play an instrument? Help herd goats or shoot some hoops? Matt Watwood, fresh off his graduation from Soroco High School, said the best part of the end of high school has been not having anything to do.
It’s definitely a unique sensation for South Routt’s do-everything teenager, who in his senior year landed the prestigious Boettcher Scholarship and will get a full ride to the University of Denver starting this fall.
It takes far less time to name the extracurricular activities Matt wasn’t involved in during his time as a Ram, and maybe one story from his senior year sums it all up rather nicely. A four-sport athlete, he broke his foot during football season but couldn’t have the screw removed as scheduled in February because he didn’t have a week to dedicate to the necessary recovery.
It finally happened in June.
He was president of the Future Business Leaders of America, vice president of the National Honor Society and head boy of the Student Council. He plays two different kinds of saxophone, guitar, harmonica and flute. He sings, played football, baseball and basketball, dabbled in 4-H and dominated in track and field.
Matt’s diverse interests ensure he’s many things to many people, but perhaps his best known skill is his magic tricks, a crowd-pleasing ploy he said he initially adopted to help meet people.
Dozens watched and cheered as he landed the longest shot put during May’s high school state championship track meet. An entire track team from a Class 5A school gathered around oohing and ahhing when he broke out a deck of cards and started performing tricks.
Now Magic Matt is enjoying a little time off, for once. He said he plans to hike more this summer than ever and maybe do a little wakeboarding — at least when he’s not helping his neighbors brand cattle or polishing off a novel. Then, it’s off to Denver and a post-secondary education. He plans to focus on engineering and music.
“I’m looking forward to the brand new world (college) opens,” Matt said. “I’ll be on a floor with more kids than were in my graduating class and in a building with more kids than were in my school. It’s a chance to meet a lot of new people.”