When his teacher writes a math problem on the board, Matthew Jue, a senior at Lakeview Academy, doesn’t bother looking up or writing on a piece of paper.
Instead, he listens and solves the equation in his mind. Jue was born blind.
“It’s just an everyday thing,” Jue said. “I was never good at sports because I barely see the ball, but I always tried to do my best.”
During his early childhood, he said his parents never gave up on helping him regain his eyesight. After meeting Dr. Richard Hertle, an ophthalmologist, Jue began to see little by little with each treatment.
Class of 2020
The Times puts together this special senior recognition each year, highlighting a few standout stories from our local seniors, but this year we’ve added graduation lists from our local schools in an effort to honor as many graduates as we can. We hope you’re inspired by these stories and join us in celebrating the class of 2020. You can view these stories online as well as upcoming photo coverage of this year's graduation ceremonies.
Right now Jue said he can see all colors and make out silhouettes. Unless a person is standing close within his line of sight, he can’t decipher faces.
“The further away I am, my vision gets blurry real fast,” he said. “Other than that, I’m lucky enough to get my vision to where it is today.”
In order to keep up in school, Jue said he has pushed himself to work harder and smarter. Despite his lacking eyesight, Jue threw himself into extracurricular activities like playing on the school’s varsity soccer team, running cross country and performing in multiple plays like “The Addams Family,” “The Wedding Singer,” and “Catch Me If You Can.”
But at the end of the day, he finds solace in music.
Jue said music is something his eyesight could never hinder. He enjoys escaping from the challenges of life and losing himself in his guitar.
“It cheers up my day every time I play it,” Jue said. “I just feel like you can make anything you want on the guitar.”
In the fall, Jue will begin studying chemical engineering at the University of Georgia. After earning his bachelor’s, he aims to pursue medical school.
Jue said his teacher Marvin Clarke ignited a passion in him for chemistry.
“On my own, I looked up different things and just enjoyed teaching myself chemistry,” he said.
Jue said he has been blessed to have a group of supporters including his parents, brother, teachers and friends.
Jue encourages teenagers who face day-to-day challenges to “never forget those people around you.”
“Through whatever you’re going through, you’re never alone,” he said. “There’s always people in your life you can turn to for help. As long as you have those people, there’s no reason to doubt yourself or get down.”
Lakeview Academy graduating seniors
John Carter Cooper
Ellie Kate Madonna
Emma Kate Park