From Canada to Texas, he has seen and spoken it all.
This school year marks 10 years since Matthew Craig began a career at Henderson High School by teaching foreign language classes.
“One of the goals I have for students here in Henderson is that they acquire a certain degree of proficiency,” Craig said. “Even if a student doesn’t attend college, I can think of no better way to understand one’s own culture and language than by holding the ‘mirror up to nature.’”
As a young child, Craig lived in Canada.
“I came here [America] in 1978 because my dad was a doctor and didn’t like the Canadian medical system,” Craig said. “I was in first grade when we moved, and I initially struggled greatly in school. However, I overcame it due to the fine first grade teacher that I had at Montgomery Elementary School in Henderson, Mrs. Weiss.”
While in Henderson, Craig’s passion for music grew.
“The other great non-human passion of my life is music,” Craig said. “I became serious about the piano and French horn here in Henderson, where Cathy Waggoner and Richard Ruhe were my teachers, respectively.”
Craig earned an English degree with a minor in music at Stephen F. Austin State University.
“I initially majored in French horn performance at the University of North Texas because someone had recommended the music program there.” Craig said. “I chose SFA University in Nacogdoches because it was close, and I could drive there every day for classes and return to my growing family at night.”
Because of an open position as a French teacher at Henderson High School, Craig became a teacher.
“This was a natural choice for me,” Craig said. “Although I’m not French Canadian, all Canadians receive some exposure to French because Canada is officially a bilingual country. It’s quite possible that I also became a teacher due to the tremendous fortune I have had to encounter teachers in my life who have made a difference.”
Eventually, Craig became a Spanish teacher.
“My wife is from Guatemala.” Craig said. “So, Spanish is an interesting job for me since it’s the language I speak at home with her.”
Craig continues to teach Spanish I and Spanish II.
“If students should decide to take it [Spanish] in college, they’ll have a foundation for succeeding,” Craig said. “By studying another language and culture, we hold a mirror up to our own language and culture wherein we can see it more clearly and in better focus, hopefully living more successfully and more happily.”