Saving for Son’s College Education Just in Case
Springfield (May 1) – Area residents, Robert and Jennifer Matthews, parents of six year-old Andrew, have been saving money for Andrew’s college education for nearly three years, just on the very remote chance he does not earn a full athletic scholarship to the college of his choice. By contributing monthly and receiving a 25% match from his employer, PNC Bank, into a 529 Savings Plan, Robert and Jennifer are securing that their son will not be saddled with crippling school loans as he embarks on his post-collegiate life.
Andrew, whose favorite sports include soccer, baseball, basketball and football, has been active in Springfield’s recreation sports scene since the age of 5 as part of the T-Ball program. As a member of the Weichert Realty sponsored Red Team, Andrew, along with each member of the team, batted a perfect 1.000 from the plate as he reached base every time up to bat. He finished the ten-game season with 30 hits in 30 at bats with 30 runs and 3 grand slams despite never hitting the ball past the pitcher’s mound. These gaudy numbers aside, Jennifer Matthews still believes that although he’s “obviously gifted athletically” she still thinks it’s good to have a backup plan for the rare possibility that the Yankees don’t come knocking on his door in twelve years.
As a member of the Springfield Peewee football team, the undersized Andrew made up for his lack of girth with an abundance of grit and determination. Andrew’s father Robert, 35, stands 5’8” and weighs 160 while his maternal Grandfather Al, stands at a towering 5’10” so there is a solid chance that Andrew will end up being a monster physically according to his dad. Robert, who played intramural football in high school, believes that his son has all the tools to make it big as a football player. “Genetically, he’s got the advantage over most of the other kids. If he grows to be my size, there’s a good chance he’ll a linebacker at the pro level. I don’t want to pigeon-hole him into one position though. He’ll probably excel at all of them.” During the twelve game fall season, Andrew was credited with three tackles on plays where his opponent inadvertently tripped over him as he cowered in a fetal position just as the ball was snapped. Additionally, he fumbled both times he touched the ball on offense.
Coach Ron Murphy summed up Andrew’s prospects. “After our two a days during August, I still wasn’t sure who he was but after five practices and a Friday night walk through I finally realized this kid is gonna be a keeper. His parents are supportive not only of him, but of the program in general. See that PNC sign over there, his dad donated that at the end of the season. I have a feeling Andrew will get on the field a lot more next year.”
“A thousand bucks for some signage means more playing time for Andrew. That’s money better spent than investing in a high-yield three-year T-Bond in Andrew’s 529,” explained Robert. “Still have to keep socking away $200 a month just in case.”
Never one to sit still, Andrew plays recreation basketball in the YMCA league since Springfield does not have a competitive league until third grade. Despite averaging only 0.33 points per game which does not include scoring in the wrong basket in week 6 of the season, Jennifer believes he still has a bright future as an NBA prospect. “If the coach would have played him more instead of his kid and his kid’s friends, Andrew would have been the best kid on the team. Sure he’s small, he’s going to grow. I know no one in my or Robert’s immediate family is over six feet tall but who says you have to be tall to play in the NBA?” Andrew’s parents plan on putting him on growth hormones once he is done with his personal athletic trainer at the end of June. Jennifer, a part-time school nurse, has been contributing any extra funds to Andrew’s 529 plan since last year even though she knows in her heart of hearts that her son will probably get a full ride to a Division I school or go straight to the pros if the NBA lifts its age restriction requirements.
The soccer field is where Andrew excels the most out of all of the sports he plays. As a five year-old, he scored six goals in as many games in his Kiddy Biddy Soccer program. Playing against boys and girls ages ranging from 3 to 6, Andrew was able to dominate the end of session scrimmages. “A natural” according to coach Ian Scherer, who has coached Andrew in 15 different two-month sessions at $300 each, Andrew was even able to kick a pressure-packed unopposed penalty kick in order to secure a season-ending dinosaur-themed medal. Scherer is confident Andrew will make it big in the near future. “The kid has unlimited funding, I mean potential. He has unlimited potential. I can see him signing up for at least four or five more seasons.”
Outside of sports, Andrew is very high achiever in the community and academically. Although only in 1st grade, he is one of only seven Americans who have attained the level of Grand Master in chess. In his spare time, he has been an integral part of a research team at NJIT which became the first physicists to have dissected molecular descriptors into atomic contributions in density functional reactivity. On weekends when he’s not tied down by his rigorous athletic schedule, Andrew plays first chair violin with New York Philharmonic and runs the Springfield Area Soup Kitchen out of his parents’ garage on Sunday nights.
“It’s nice that he has all of his non-athletic activities to fall back on just in case the sports thing doesn’t work out…but it I’m really, really praying it will,” a hopeful Robert opined.