Matt Mobley, a student who learns differently due to his autism, graduated from Pathway in 2020 in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic. About that, Matt says, “It wasn’t ideal, and it was even a little disappointing to have a virtual graduation ceremony, but it was still fun anyway.”

Matt was a very engaged Pathway student for the nearly 8 years that he attended school here. However, when Matt first arrived at Pathway, he said it was a bit of a shaky start. He settled in quickly, though, made friends with many other kids he felt were like him, and he also felt more socially accepted without feeling judged for being different. He also quickly came to appreciate how caring and supportive the teachers and staff were for all the students. He said that they were like “guiding lights and role models” for him. His favorite classes were in the sciences – such as biology and physics, with Mr. Stratz. He also really enjoyed history and social studies with Mrs. Harper including all the really interesting field trips. Last, but not least, he loved participating in the Pathway Players Theatre Arts program with program coordinator, Mr. Pryor. Matt had starring roles in The Lion King and Shrek, the Musical.

When Matt graduated, he went straight to work at his first job for Harbor Freight in Norristown. His job was Floor Associate, which means working the cash register, setting products out on the shelves, helping customers get their purchases to their cars, and more. He worked there for over a year and a half and says that Pathway’s Career Education Program helped him tremendously in understanding how to operate in a workplace environment and how to focus on always doing your best on the job.

In March of 2022, Matt’s dream job materialized, and he now works as a Pre-K Teacher’s Assistant at the Montgomery County Intermediate Unit. Matt always wanted to work with children because, in his words, “They are the future.” He wants to be a positive influence in their lives and a role model for them like the staff role models he was fortunate to have at The Pathway School. Matt says about the kids he works with now, “They are the funniest and most adorable kids on the planet!”

Matt does not view his autism in a negative light. In fact, he views that aspect of him as a gift because it allows him to have his own unique perspective on the world. He also thinks that his autism makes him uniquely qualified to work with kids who may also learn differently. He said, “I know how important it is to treat others as you want to be treated.”