Whiz Kid: Matt Faber
School: La Cañada High School
Accomplishments: A starter on the varsity basketball team who won the CIF championship, Matt was also named Co-Player of Year for CIF Division 3 in basketball. He holds the single-season school record for rebounds (331), and also played three other varsity sports in HS (football, tennis and volleyball). Through this, he also maintained a 4.4 GPA throughout high school career.
"I think that's probably the biggest thing right now, winning CIF," said Matt. "I'm still getting over it right now."
He's also excelled off the courts and fields. This Eagle Scout also performed in two plays with Advanced Theatre class this year, despite having no theater experience. He's also active in the Youth Program at La Canada Presbyterian Church.
But he also realized his lifelong dream this past year when he read a letter stating that he was accepted in the Naval Academy.
"I read it, I was stunned, and I read it again just to make sure it was real. It still said I was in," he said. "I jumped up and down, and I was yelling ... I was by myself in the house, so I felt kind of silly."
The Fabers are no strangers to the Naval Academy. Matt's father and grandfather are both academy graduates, and young Matt showed his desire to follow their path from an early age.
"When he was 10 years old, he told us, 'I want to join the Naval Academy and be an aviator," said Betsy Faber, his mother. "So, we talked about what it would take for him to be seen as a viable candidate ... they look at academics, physical fitness and leadership."
Faber also remembered a time when Matt managed to master takeoffs and landings from an virtual aircraft carrier in a flight simulator computer game that his father had bought for himself.
"He was 4, maybe 5-years-old," she said. "My husband brought it back, and within a day or two, Matt's taking off and landing. He just picked it up ... I think that was kind of an 'aha' moment for us."
Inspirations: Matt points to his basketball coach, Tom Hofman, as his inspiration on the hardwood.
"He knows the game so well," he said. "He can see talent, he knows what works, he knows team chemistry ... You earn something from him every day."
He also points to his father as his biggest inspiration when it comes to his budding military career.
"I want to be a naval officer. I want to be a pilot, and he talked to me on how I could go about accomplishing it," Matt said.
Keys to Awesomeness: Staying calm and cool, while exercising good judgment. His mother calls him "unflappable."
"I’m guess I'm pretty cool-headed," Matt said. "Even during CIF, I wasn't really celebrating until I knew were were going to win. When we'd be turning the ball over or something, Coach would see me as a calming presence and someone who could rally the team."