Matthew Roach, Eagle Hill Class of 1982, earned a Bachelor of Science degree in accounting from the University of Central Florida and later graduated from Brooklyn Law School.
He is in private practice focusing on transactional law, representing home buyers, sellers, and lenders in Westchester County, N.Y. Matthew and his wife, Jenna, are the parents of Lucy and Calvin—who is an eighth grader at Eagle Hill.
DO YOU HAVE A FAVORITE EAGLE HILL MEMORY?
There are so many of them. I think it is just how small the community was and how supportive everyone there was, including both the teachers and the kids. You build some great relationships with the teachers and the students.
HOW DID THE EAGLE HILL FACULTY HELP YOU?
Two of my favorite people were Dave Sylvestro and Tom Cone. They were just so energetic, supportive, and concerned for everyone. I spent a lot of time talking to Dave about trying to figure things out. Tom was one of my teachers, and he made everything so much fun. He was a soccer coach, too. In sports, no matter how poorly you did, Tom never got down on you. He found a way to twist it to make it positive. A negative comment never came out of their mouths. You know, they found a difficult situation they were in and they made it a positive. It’s unbelievable how they had the ability to do that.
TELL ME ABOUT YOUR BOARDING EXPERIENCE AT EAGLE HILL.
It was so much fun. There was a good separation between the older and younger kids. The older boys were on the top floor of the dorm and it was filled. When I went to Eagle Hill, the majority of the students were boarders. It was a controlled college atmosphere.
After school, you could hang out with your buddies and talk about what happened during the day. We would then play soccer or football in the field. They always kept us active. There was a television [in the dorm], and we never really watched it except for the program M*A*S*H. I forget which teacher assigned it, but the idea was to watch the show, and figure out the plot of each episode. I think that was a great idea.
WHAT ARE THE BIGGEST LESSONS YOU LEARNED OVERALL AT EAGLE HILL?
Never take anyone for granted, whoever they are, wherever they come from, whatever happened in their lives. That’s because everybody is different. Everybody goes about things in their own way. With that being said, I do my own thing. I do it the way I was taught and move on.
I know not everyone does things the same exact way. I think that is what I took away from Eagle Hill. Some people might be better at one thing, and not at another. It may take them longer to get through one thing, and they might be quick at something else.
I think that is basically what you walk away realizing. You know, [Eagle Hill] kind of makes you realize that everyone is an individual, and learns and reacts to things in their own way. It may not be how you like it, but you need to respect that of them.
WHAT WERE THE CHALLENGES ON YOUR JOURNEY AFTER EAGLE HILL?
I went on to a boarding school in New Hampshire. It was difficult because [I was] used to being able to go home on the weekends [while living at Eagle Hill]. [At the New Hampshire school], my counselors were always pushing me toward easier classes.
They would say to me, “Hey, that may be more difficult for you. Maybe you shouldn’t try this?” People at Eagle Hill would say, “Okay, if that is what you want to do, this is how we should approach it.”
ANYTHING YOU WOULD LIKE TO SHARE ABOUT YOUR EAGLE HILL EXPERIENCE?
Eagle Hill has been so great to me. I used it as a resource throughout my college and law school years. I met Dave Sylvestro, and he helped me with a couple of matters. Even though you leave, you know you have the ability to come back.
Even though you aren’t a student anymore, you know they will help you with whatever issues you have. To that point, when we noticed some issues in school with [my son] Calvin, I stopped in and talked to Tom Cone. And it was just nice to go back and say, “This isn’t for me. It’s about my son.” Tom stopped everything and talked. Tom got us moving in the right direction with him. It’s a school, but also a resource for the rest of your life. It’s comforting.
WHAT HAS BEEN THE OVERALL IMPACT EAGLE HILL HAS HAD ON YOU?
If you really desire to do something, you can do it. I think that is what I walked away realizing there. If I hadn’t gone to Eagle Hill School, maybe I wouldn’t be where I am today. It just teaches you to rely on yourself.