(WTNH) — For our high school seniors, it’s been a challenge adapting to all of the changes that have come with the pandemic.  Matthew Jennings is a senior at Haddam-Killingworth High School and he tells News 8, “It’s been a really, really big shift.”  

For him, he always knew he wanted to get involved in high school, “I’ve always had a passion for service and a drive to get involved and do extracurriculars.”

RELATED: What’s Right with Schools: Haddam-Killingworth intermediate, middle schools navigating in-person learning as pandemic continues

Since freshman year, Jennings dove into opportunities that came his way and didn’t hold back.  

Jennings says, “Everyone always gives you the cliché freshman year, ‘Enjoy it, it’s going to go by so fast,’ but I think the pandemic had a hand in making it go by faster.”  

As he looks back on his last four years, he is proud of what he’s accomplished and looks ahead at the success in his future. The Vice President of Student Council, President of Current Events Club, Member of National Honor Society and a member of the district’s Board of Education, you could say he keeps his schedule busy.  

With such a strenuous schedule, it’s no surprise he’s also the captain of his cross country and track teams. This year he was also a national finalist for the Heisman Scholarship.  

“My parents had a way of shaping the way that I interact with the world and see it as my own way to get involved,” a hunger for life and an eagerness to make a difference in his community and beyond, Jennings will be taking those qualities to Yale University next year.  

He’ll pursue a degree in politics and economics while also running on their cross-country team.  

“I think truly one of the best experiences and the best opportunities I’ve had over the past four years is finding a community who want similar things as I do, who have the same passion for change.”  

Despite the pandemic, Jennings has worked hard to stay involved in his school and community extra-curricular activities and wants to encourage students to do the same. “I would suggest you find something that speaks to you and makes you happy and you have the mental drive and passion to pursue it.”