Meet Mr. Matthew Ward - The Smoothest Man on Campus

Thursday, November 19, 2020 - By: Jack NG, Ellis ‘21

Ellis House felt a great loss after the departure of the legendary two-year RFA Adam “A-Rod” Rodrigues last year. Covid-19 meant that the boys did not get a proper goodbye, and feared that they would not have the chance to ever do so. While we missed Mr R ever so dearly, we choked back our sorrow and pushed ahead into the coming year.

Nobody knew anything about our newbie RFA who had some big shoes to fill.

To be completely honest, on the first day of Orientation, we thought Mr Ward was a new student. It wasn’t until we saw him slip into his RFA master suite that everything started making sense.

Raised in Vancouver, young Mr Ward spent his high school years at Vancouver College - an intense rival to Brentwood in the boathouse and on the basketball court. He then attended UBC where he earned a Bachelor of Commerce degree.

In his adult life, he took his talents back to VC to coach Junior Mens’ Rowing - a crew I had the pleasure of racing against at several regattas - and making the podium with at the National Championships. I clearly recall the rumours about the VC crew, and how their tough coach didn’t let them leave practice until they had each thrown up from their workouts.

Naturally, when I learned this about Mr Ward, I did my very best to keep a safe distance. He doesn’t look like a mean guy, but you never know with those rowers from Van College.

I have got to know Mr Ward much better than his reputational grueling exterior, and can see now what an extraordinary man he is.

Mr Ward has quickly grown on all of us Ellis House boys, and we fall asleep every night looking forward to waking up to see his shiny brown shoes - and his collection of dashing overcoats. Whilst enjoying my ribs at dinner the other night, I had a chat with Nate R, Ellis ‘22 about the Ellis RFA, who had filled in as a sub for Nate’s class earlier that day. “He waltzed into class, looking sharp as ever.” Nate recalled dreamily, “I had trouble focussing on the test I was supposed to be writing. I couldn’t keep my eyes away from his shiny brown shoes and dashing overcoat. The best part was when he let us go to lunch five minutes early. It was awesome.”

The young and handsome RFA’s impact reaches far beyond Ellis House. Alice S and Ceci D, Alex ‘21 informed me of the time they ran all the way across campus to get him an ice cream bar after he had helped them cheat in a water-balloon-throwing contest. “He’s such a nice guy who gives off great vibes!” Ceci exclaimed. “He also has really nice hair and said he wanted ice cream, so we thought we’d get him some!” remarked Alice.

All jokes aside, Mr. Ward has been a fantastic addition to Ellis House and to all of Brentwood. His rowing expertise is much appreciated down in the boathouse and he is a “crucial piece” of the Ellis House staff, according to House Captain Erik L.

I had the opportunity to have a chat with Mr Ward about his post-Brentwood plans. “I am looking at potentially going back to school to get my B.Ed.” he explained. “Not 100% certain yet. Plans are still slightly up in the air.”

There is no better person to wrap up our tribute to Mr Ward than the man who runs the show in Ellis, Erik L: “Mr. Ward has brought positive energy, and his fun-loving personality, into the lives of all the boys. We are very grateful for him picking this peculiar year to be a part of our school and our boarding house.”

Thank you, Mr Ward, for all you do for us! Never stop being you.

Jack NG, Ellis ‘21

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