Nazareth Teacher Missing

BY ERIKA POKRIVSAK
SC Contributing Writer

Nazareth Area High School teacher, Matthew Greene, has been missing since July 16, 2013, when he disappeared while hiking in Mammoth Lakes, California.

Matthew Greene had been hiking with friends when he began having car trouble

He decided to stay back for a week until his car was fixed while his friends continued the hike.

He had planned to meet up with them when his car was finished, but his friends realized something was wrong when he never arrived. The last time anyone heard from him was the evening of July 16.

Greene is a math teacher at Nazareth Area High School, where he would return from summer and winter breaks, and tell his students about the most recent hike he had been on and all the adventures he encountered along the way.

“He would tell us about going camping or hiking for the weekend or during school breaks,” said Jon Piperato, who had Greene his senior year for AP Statistics. “He enjoyed the wilderness and would come back with stories about his adventures.”

When word of his disappearance became public, Greene’s sister created a Facebook page to get the word out and keep in contact with anyone interested in details of the ongoing search.

On the page are pictures of Greene, many of the belongings and the hiking equipment he had with him, and the location where he was last seen.

According to the Facebook page, search and rescuers had a possible lead a few weeks ago on a trail that he could have been hiking. A pair of glasses was found that could have belonged to him.

Upon further investigation, however, it was discovered that the glasses were not his, leaving the search at a dead end once again.

The students at the high school where Greene taught math found a way to help show their support and raise awareness of his disappearance.

The student cheering section “The Blue Crue” organized a “Greene Out” at the first varsity football game of the season.

Students, faculty, and the community came to the game on Friday, August 30 wearing green in support of the search.

“Green ribbons were passed out, donations were given to his family, and green bracelets were sold to support the search for Mr. Greene,” Nazareth Junior Kylie Rissmiller said during half time at the game.

Proceeds from the bracelets and donations from the crowd at the game were given to Greene’s family to help with the costs of the ongoing search.

Piperato, a Nazareth alumnus who had been a part of The Blue Crue since it was organized, was excited for the game and to support his Alma Mater.

“The stands were a sea of green. I’ve been going to the games for years and I’ve never seen a better turn out. We all came out to support our own, and it makes me proud to say this is the school I graduated from,” Piperato explained.

In addition to donations from the football game, a t-shirt fundraiser has been organized and all profits will be donated to support the ongoing search. T-shirts can be ordered online, and donations are being accepted through the website ts4greene.com as well.

In a letter to parents, High School Principal Alan Davis acknowledged the effects the situation might have on students starting a new school year.

“All we know right now is that he is not physically present with us to start the school year—The Administration and Counseling Department are prepared to support all of our students and staff during this time.”

“It’s a confusing and weird time for a lot of us who were so used to seeing Mr. Greene in his room or the halls at school,” Rissmiller commented in reference to the recent start of the new school year.

Davis also addressed the classes Greene would have been teaching, since his disappearance was recent and unexpected and classes had already been scheduled for the current school year.

“In Mr. Greene’s absence, we have made provisions for all of his scheduled math classes and homeroom to be covered by certified and qualified math teachers,” Mr. Davis explained.

The search for Greene will continue, and donations to assist with funding for the search and rescue teams will continue to be accepted.

Anyone with further information on Greene’s whereabouts is asked to call Mammoth Lakes Police Department at (760) 934-2536 or (760) 934-2011.

Email Erika at:
epokrivsak@live.esu.edu

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