By Cady Kuzmich
Clifton Park — Shenendehowa junior Matthew Kern has his sights set on one day becoming an officer in the Air Force.
While the 16 year old from Clifton Park is most focused on the prospect of aerospace engineering, Kern is also an active member of Clifton Park’s Youth Court.
Kern joined the Youth Court program, which revolves around the idea of restorative justice, after posters around the school piqued his interest.
“I learned a lot about how the legal system works and I really enjoyed that,” said Kern. “Being part of something that helps the community was something I really enjoyed,” he added.
Throughout his first year serving in Youth Court, Kern has acted as a clerk, a prosecutor and a defense attorney. He most enjoyed acting as the defense attorney since he enjoys working directly with the defendant.
“It’s interesting working with people and doing what I can for their case. Prosecution is interesting but you don’t really get to meet people. You just work from case information,” he added.
While he said a future in law was definitely an option, he’s most interested in aviation and engineering.
Rochester Polytechnic Institute, Rochester Institute of Technology, SUNY Binghamton and Embry Riddle are a few of his top college choices.
“My dad is an electrical engineer. My brother [Michael] is going to school for engineering. It’s always something I’ve been interested in,” explained Kern. Kern’s mother teaches Elementary school at Tesago.
Kern hopes to follow in his older brother’s footsteps by joining ROTC in college.
Though he still torn between joining the Navy and the Air Force, Kern is leaning toward the air force. One of his grandparents served in the Navy while another served in the Air Force. Kern’s father attended the Naval Academy and enrolled in the Navy as well.
“I’m actually doing a junior military program. Last summer I went down to Texas and stayed on a base with the Marine Corps. It was really interesting. A lot of aspects were really difficult. Standing watch and lack of sleep. It was incredibly hands on. We worked on C130s and F13s — stuff I hadn’t even been near before and I got to stand side by side with marines on them,” said Kern.
Up until this past year, Kern has been a member of Shenendehowa’s crew team since sixth grade. He plans on coming back to the team for his senior year.
Q & A with Kern:
Q: What are your thoughts on the 2016 election?
A: I was pretty split throughout the election. Really hard to make a decision.
Q: What is your favorite book or series of books?
A: Harry Potter.
Q: What is your favorite movie?
A: October Sky.
Q: If you could meet anyone, dead or alive, who would you choose?
A:Elon Musk — he’s an amazing entrepreneur and has led so many companies that have done huge things.