In the summer of 1970 at the age of 9, Matt joined his buddies in welcoming a new boy to their neighborhood. He was an older, street-smart kid from Jersey with a cool presence and a thick accent. To these southern boys Nick was about as exotic as it got and soon began following him around, mimicking his every word and deed. To the distress of their parents they even adopted his nervous twitch because it made them all feel a little tougher. Nick didn’t really speak much, but began each sentence referencing the person he was talking to by their first and last name, “Wilber Guess come over here”, “Louis Qualls shut up”, “Matt Young you’re an idiot”. Each boy adopted the practice and soon were referring to each other by their full names. Due to his thick accent, when Nick pronounced Matt’s name it came out as one word, “machung”. After realizing it was way too much work to repeat each other’s full name, they began referring to each other by their last name only. From that day forward Matt was simply addressed as Chung.
As principal, Matt has been forced to grow up. However his sense of wonder is as alive as it was in the summer of ‘70.