Matt Weatherington: Environmentalist and Activist


Katerina Paulos

Social Studies teacher, Matt Weatherington candidly walking through the IRC.

By Sam Galanopoulos, Staff Writer

Every morning, social studies teacher Mr. Matt Weatherington rides his bike from his house all the way to the front steps of the school. Through rain, snow, or blazing heat, nothing stops him from doing this small part of his daily routine.

“Well, I used to ride my bike in college because I didn’t have a car. I think it has more to do with my political beliefs–I’m an environmentalist–more so than exercise, which becomes a by-product,” Weatherington said. “It makes me feel good. I miss it when I don’t ride my bike and ultimately, I want to continue being active in order to show my kids what type of world I want them to live in.”

Weatherington has a love for physical activity, but that isn’t the only thing. He strives to be an activist within Niles West community.

“It’s important to me to be an environmentalist because I think we should all see the long-view. That we can live a nice lifestyle but our lifestyle doesn’t have to cost us the planet either. I try not to be snobby or condescending or anything like that. I do try to teach other folks about it and show them what I’ve learned,” Weatherington said.

Many individuals at the school are grateful for Weatherington’s efforts. Colleague and friend Daniel Kosiba praises both his impact on students and the D219 community.

“I don’t think words can fully describe just how incredible Mr. Weatherington is as both a teacher and a person. You really have to spend time with him in order to fully understand what makes him so special. He is one of the most righteous, dedicated, hard-working and compassionate people I’ve ever met,” Kosiba said.

Aside from being a teacher, Kosiba enjoys working with Weatherington on a personal level. Social justice work and other activist motivations are what bring the two together.

“When I was hired at Niles West, Mr. Weatherington was assigned to be my mentor. From the very beginning, it was clear that we shared many of the same beliefs, values, and passions in life. Our shared passion for social justice work caused us to become very close colleagues and friends very quickly,” Kosiba said.

Along with Kosiba, senior Nicole Hedean continues to reminisce about the great memories and lessons she learned being in Weatherington’s classroom.

“I loved having Mr. Weatherington because he was such a unique character to begin with. You saw how much energy he brings to class and how engaging his teaching style was. He made us all feel very comfortable in class and taught us conversational skills that lack in our generation. My favorite part about him was seeing how much he truly cared about all his students, no matter what,” Hedean said.

Junior Zeshan Sukera also notices Weatherington’s continuous drive and positivity that has impacted him today.

“He was always in a good mood and he never became frustrated with struggling students. He never gave us too much work, making sure we focused on what was needed to be understood. He also brought real world things into every single one of our topics, helping us understand the content and remember material for the future,” Sukera said.

From doing the little things to going above and beyond for the success of others, Weatherington’s character and intentions never go unseen. Teaching, activism, and inspiring a community are what Weatherington strives for every day and he leaves big shoes that are yet to be filled.