Trip to Cuba inspires TV production student

Justin Laneuville, Staff Writer

When senior Matthew Leppek visited Cuba, his family’s birthplace, he didn’t know the trip would alter the course of his life.

“At the young age of 15 I was completely oblivious to the outside world. I was expecting something like I would see here in America,” Leppek said. “When I arrived I was stunned, everyone around me was in poverty, uneducated and malnourished. I was ashamed that I could not do anything at the time. That’s why when I grow up, I will become a newscaster so I can report the atrocities and horrors of Cuba.”

With that in mind, he decided to sign up for the school’s TV production class and quickly rose through the ranks.

“I knew I would be a good anchor for our school news because everyone has always complimented me on my public speaking skills,” he said. “When I started anchoring more often, people I didn’t even know from around school called me ‘news guy.’”

During his years at West Shore, Matthew has created a lot of friendships, including one with social studies teacher Bob Sarver.

“Matthew is one of the most amazing young men I have met in my entire life,” Sarver said. “He has an abundance of untapped brilliance waiting to serve the world in the future.”

After graduation, Leppek will attend the University of Central Florida.

“My plans for my college include maximum fun and shenanigans with Bradly Deavers at UCF,” he said. “We might be able to rent a house with a friend of mine, Josh Clevenger.”

Despite wanting to become a professional newscaster, Leppek doesn’t appear to be consumed by that goal.

“I plan to coast by on the bare necessities in life,” he said. “When I grow up I have no intentions of doing anything prestigious, I wanted to either have a radio show or be on TV, neither of which require much college education. I am just going to enjoy my time and make good memories, because that’s what life is really about.”