An area resident is taking part in a contest that could win him a scholarship for college.
– An area resident is taking part in a contest that could win him a scholarship for college.
Matthew Chapman, 18, of South Canaan, is a contestant for the mikeroweWORKS/UTI Scholarship, sponsored by the mikeroweWORKS Foundation.
He is the son of Kimberly and Douglas Chapman.
The foundation “is committed to help close our country’s skills gap by helping hardworking people train for the technical skills and expertise needed to keep America running.”
Mike Rowe's foundation partnered with the Universal Technical Institute (UTI) to offer $1 million in full-tuition scholarships for currently enrolled UTI & MMI students.
Contestants were required to submit a video stating why they deserved the scholarship. They were also required to submit a 50 word essay.
Chapman is a graduate of Western Wayne High School and will be attending UTI in the fall.
“My recruiter for UTI was telling me what I need to do to get ready for school,” he said. “I needed all the money I can get for school.”
He added he heard about the contest, signed up and is now trying to get votes to win.
“It would mean a lot [if I won],” Chapman stated. “It would be less I'd have to worry about working towards college.
“Being able to go to school for what I like to do and not constantly worrying about having a payment here and there would be great.”
Chapman said he plans on focusing on mechanics.
He currently works at a construction company in Daleville.
“I've done it my whole life,” Chapman stated.
He said his dad owned a construction business for 10 years and he would help.
“As I grew up he had me in the garage all the time,” Chapman said. “I pretty much grew up around it and worked on farms.
“I helped fix tractors and anything else that was broken. It's interesting and what like to do.”
When he was 14, he restored a tractor that he got from his uncle.
“After doing that and working on farms, I figured I might as well do something I enjoy and that I can use,” he said.
For his senior project at Western Wayne, Chapman restored a 1959 Farmall Tractor.
“It took at least a year before it was complete,” he said.
Chapman also paid for all of the costs himself. The project took over 400 hours to complete.
“It was definitely enjoyable,” Chapman said. “Sometimes it got stressful, but it was definitely worth it.”
Chapman has gone through a lot to get where he is. He was diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy when he was six months old.
His mom said it took four different doctors before they found one that actually helped.
“Since I was little I've had multiple surgeries and I had to learn to walk all over again,” he said.
In the second grade, Chapman had hip reconstructive surgery, where his hips were broken and turned in.
He didn't let that stop him though.
“I really wanted to get everything fixed and wanted to learn to walk again,” Chapman stated.
A few years later the pins holding his hips in place were taken out.
There were also several small surgeries to lengthen his hamstrings and quads and work on his Achilles tendon.
“My body doesn't grow them like it's supposed to, so they get tight,” Chapman explained.
During his freshman year of high school he had surgery after doctors realized one leg was longer than the other.
“They took half an inch out of my right femur,” he stated. “I didn't recover fast from that surgery.”
He added it was almost a year later before he finally healed.
“I didn't let that slow me down,” Chapman said. “I hate being cooped inside.
“Every chance I could get out and go hunting or hang out with my friends, I did. I did whatever I could do.”
He added he sometimes pushed his limits, but he wasn't going to let Cerebral Palsy stop him from doing what he wanted to do.
“It sometimes gets tough, but I keep doing what I'm doing and push through it,” Chapman stated.
Chapman had therapy on and off from age one to 16.
“By his sophomore year he was finally able to walk without a walker, wheelchair or any assistance,” said Kim Chapman. “He never Cerebral Palsy stop him.
“He would go out and put bags on his legs to go hunting. He had different ways to get out of the house so he wouldn't ruin anything, but was able to do different activities.”
Originally he wanted to join the military, but after they found out he has slight Cerebral Palsy it was an automatic disqualification.
“I started looking for schools,” Chapman said. “UTI caught my eye and that's what I stuck with.”
He said for anyone with Cerebral Palsy, you should never give up.
“If you put your mind to it, you can do almost anything that everyone without Cerebral Palsy can do,” Chapman stated.
How to help
Chapman said the support of the community for the contest is pretty nice.
“I honestly didn't expect to get as many votes as I have,” he said.
As of Monday he has over 900 votes and is leading.
There are 300 contestants including himself.
The contest voting is being done through Facebook. You must “like” the UTI page before you can vote.
Chapman's video is entitled “Matthew Chapman UTI Mikerowe Scholarship.” He is wearing a gray tank top and is standing in front of a red tractor.
Voting is limited to one vote per video for each individual Facebook account.
The deadline to vote is July 12 at 11:59 p.m. PDT.
For more information on Mike’s Foundation visit mikeroweWORKS.com.