Coed, independent, PK3-12th grade school in St. Petersburg, Florida.

Meet Kobi Mathews

Kobi Mathews came to Shorecrest after moving to Florida from St. Louis, MO, just before eighth grade. He thinks the small school environment made it easy for him to fit in. His teachers might argue that his quiet enthusiasm or positive attitude had a great deal to do with his ability to make friends. But his friends... they blame it on the ball.

Kobi is known on the Shorecrest fields for his soccer prowess. He played soccer up in Missouri starting at the age of 8, and joined the Chargers Middle School team in eighth grade. That team became his “core group of friends throughout high school,” Kobi admits. “I really enjoy being part of a team because all the pressure’s not on you. You can always rely on your teammates and they can rely on you. It helps build a bond with them. It’s really fun - something i just love doing.”

This year, for the first time, Chargers Varsity Boys Soccer advanced to a Region Final. “It was sad to have it end, but I can’t be too disappointed because it’s the farthest we’ve gone as a school. Everyone gave it their all and everyone wanted to go as far as we could. I think it was just unlucky that we didn’t go further.”

Just because the Chargers’ season is over doesn’t mean Kobi’s hung up his cleats. “Now I play for Strictly Soccer Club in St. Petersburg, Florida. We get a one month break in the summer.”

Kobi has also found skills in other places. When he had to fit an elective class in his high school schedule, he chose graphic arts and found a new pursuit in the classroom. “I liked Mr. Runge’s class and he was able to teach me a lot, not just in graphic design but in life as well. I stayed in his class for the two years we were in Upper School at the same time.”

Sophomore year, Kobi won an art award for his digital design. “I didn’t even realize I was entered into the contest, and then I ended up winning second place in one of our school art shows, which was a big surprise to me.” This year, Kobi’s art was recognized by the County when he won a Scholastic Silver Key Award.
“Kobi is a modern day Renaissance man.” Upper School Art Teacher Aaron Sober described. “He is gifted academically, a star athlete, and a talented artist. In my Graphic Design class he consistently produced personal and nuanced work that revolved around his relationship with his younger brother.”

Can you guess what Kobi is usually doing with his younger brother? Babysitting. It’s not easy to be a senior in high school and a big brother to a kindergartener and a baby at home. “The large age gap makes it interesting. My siblings have definitely taught me a lot through babysitting - how to not just be a big brother but also kind of a parental figure and not just someone to play with. Most of the time it’s fun. It teaches me patience and how to deal with certain situations when they don’t want to do what you need them to do.”

Working with children helped to give Kobi focus for his Service hours. For the last two years, he was in elementary school classrooms teaching disaster preparedness through the American Red Cross. “I got to teach little kids, which is in my comfort zone. I also worked at Strictly Soccer and helped to teach little kids soccer in the Youth Academy program there. I would help train them, which was always really fun... and sometimes really frustrating.”

A practice in patience and in problem solving, working with children put his quick-thinking skills to the test, “One little boy just kept falling over. Every time he was running he just fell and everyone was laughing at him and he thought it was funny. So I told him it was a race between me and him, so he would run and ended up winning the ‘race’ I created for him.”

Balancing his soccer commitments, artistic endeavors, service projects and big brother responsibilities led Kobi to develop effective time management skills. “Learning when I can and can’t hang out with my friends was a big thing for me. Sometimes it was easy, sometimes it wasn’t. Sometimes I missed out on stuff, but there were always others times I could join in.”
One of Kobi’s Shorecrest Upper School English teachers was helpful with time management. “Junior year was more difficult for me, and Mal [Ellenburg] was really helpful in class with writing essays, and also how to get recruited for soccer because [his daughter, Shorecrest Class of 2014] Skyler had been recruited for soccer. I was spending so much time playing soccer, that I was writing essays at 1am.”

When the essays written while half asleep weren’t bringing in the grades he wanted, Kobi met with Mal. “I learned I needed to spend more free periods at school on homework since I didn’t have the time after school.” This may have actually helped his teammates focus as well. “If I said I needed to work on something, other classmates would say they needed to work on it too, and they would say, ‘let’s go to the library or the College Center and let’s work on this.’”

Kobi’s next step is to attend school and play soccer at the University of North Florida, one of the schools that recruited him. “I’m excited for college level soccer but a little nervous I won’t be at the level I need to be, so I’ve been playing a lot of soccer.” When asked if he should take a soccer break before college starts and physically rest for a while, Kobi shakes his head of curls. He wants to remain on the field. “The coaches think I should be the best I can be.”
    • A crowd came to cheer for Kobi on athletic signing day

Shorecrest Preparatory School

5101 First Street Northeast
St Petersburg, FL 33703
Phone: (727) 522-2111  |  Fax: (727) 527-4191

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Shorecrest Preparatory School is a private, non-sectarian, coeducational, college preparatory day school for students preschool through high school, located in St. Petersburg, Florida.