Li3Fe of Mr. Norton

Graciella Arrascue

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Have you ever walked past Chemistry teacher Matthew Norton’s room during lunch block and wondered why students are raising their arms above their heads? Students are actually participating in deep breathing exercises. During his lunch blocks, Norton leads the class in three deep breaths; he does this in order to bring the benefits of yoga to his students and create a sense of calmness and presence. Getting into yoga is something Norton appreciates that he did. He said taking a leap and going into this new experience led to positive benefits; yoga resonated with him.

Matthew Norton graduated Barnstable High School in 1999. His siblings also went to Barnstable, they graduated in 2001, 2003 and 2007.

Norton said he has always been interested in science. He enjoys it and credits his ability to working at his knowledge. One Saturday night in seventh grade, Norton memorized the scientific names of every North American mammal using flashcards, this gave him a reputation as a ‘smart kid’. Originally, he wanted to be a vet and ended up going to veterinary school for a time.

When he was young, Norton wanted to “live a purposeful life,” his goal hasn’t changed. He feels that through teaching, he is completing this goal. Norton was drawn into teaching after become a substitute teacher in 2008; he found that he really liked it and felt he could make a positive impact through teaching, and leave his mark-which is extremely important to him.

He has had lots of different work experience; in landscaping, as a vet technician, a farm manager and a golf course maintenance worker.

Norton reflects on his time in Australia as one of his coolest experiences and one of the most memorable times in his life. He was studying abroad at the University of Queensland his junior year at Cornell University. He went skydiving, white water rafting and scuba diving. In the future, traveling is something Norton wants to do. He wants to be able to travel with his family, it is something both him and his wife are interested in.

John Brown Jr., author of “The Tracker” is one of Norton’s inspirations, “as a young person he made me aware of how most people in modern society are becoming disconnected from the Earth.” He said it opened his eyes to “the levels of awareness that we are capable if we are willing to go on that path.” Norton is also inspired by Paramahansa Yogananda, author of “Autobiography of A Yogi”. Yogananda died in 1952, Norton would have loved to meet him but believes he is still present in spirit.

One of the experiences that greatly shaped his life was drinking. In high school, Norton restrained from trying drugs or alcohol. However, in college, it became a problem, he enjoyed the way it felt but it negatively affected him. Norton said that it brought him to dark places in his life. It also made him realize what he needed to change. Norton said he learned a lot about himself and came to acceptance of his problem. He quit drinking in 2007.

Norton wants people to know, “that I love them, that the most important thing to me is living in truth. I want people to know that I see them as a commonality, I see myself in them. That I am there for them as someone they can count on, that I will give them time and listen.”