Subiaco senior grew in his Catholic faith with nature

Matthew Mayeux, 18, has always found a deeper connection to his Catholic faith and his late father by being outdoors. (Courtesy of Matthew Mayeux)
Matthew Mayeux, 18, has always found a deeper connection to his Catholic faith and his late father by being outdoors. (Courtesy of Matthew Mayeux)

While Subiaco Academy senior Matthew Mayeux can often be found in student council meetings, in the National Honor Society or on the football field, one of his favorite places to be is in nature. 

Originally from Beaumont, Texas, Mayeux moved to Coleville in northwest Arkansas when he was a toddler. Mayeux and his mother moved to be closer to family when his father passed away just a few days after Mayeux’s second birthday. 

Growing up, Mayeux worked hard to help his mom and has worked different jobs to help his mother where he can. 

“We always knew it was just us. So we had to stick together,” Mayeux said. “We had to act as a team on everything. Because growing up with a single parent … income and environment … it's hard. But we had each other. That is all we needed.”

As he grew up, Mayeux became involved in his parish, St. Mary Church in Altus. 

“I was part of the youth group,” Mayeux said. “I attended a lot of the conferences, like the Steubenville Youth Conference and the one over in Charleston. I always had an awesome time doing that. I always helped altar serve. I’ve served since the day I could — I started serving at St. Mary’s and still haven’t stopped.”

Throughout his childhood, Mayeux gravitated toward nature. Wildlife fascinated him. Last summer, Mayeux worked for the U.S. Forest Service. 

“It was amazing. Everything you could think of that’s outdoorsy, I did it,” Mayeux said. “Bird watching, tree marking, walking around in the woods. It was perfect.”

Now, Mayeux helps a local farmer in order to learn more about the domestic and agricultural side of animal care. 

“I help take care of the cattle, help vaccinate them, feed them,” Mayeux said. “I help tag them whenever they start calving. … I love nothing more than to be outside … any time of year.”

But Mayeux’s favorite outdoor activity is riding dirt bikes. A dirt bike enthusiast since he was 9 years old, Mayeux began exploring the hobby when he discovered his dad rode dirt bikes. 

A true environmentalist, Mayeux plans to pursue a degree in wildlife biology and a minor in criminology at the University of Texas at San Antonio with the intention of becoming a game warden. 

With his mom recently moving back to Texas, Mayeux plans to go there or Florida after college for his career, where the wildlife is incredibly diverse. 

He made the decision to become a game warden two years ago after becoming an Eagle Scout. 

“I got into Scouts because, on my father’s side, almost everybody was in it,” Mayeux said. “I decided I want to one-up my dad by becoming an Eagle Scout because he never did.”

But for Mayeux, no matter what happens, as long as he is close to nature, he is close to his faith. 

“As a Catholic, we're all called to be stewards of the earth,” Mayeux said. “I figure there's no way I can serve the Lord better than doing that.”

Katie Zakrzewski

Katie Zakrzewski joined Arkansas Catholic as associate editor in 2023 after working in local media and the environmental sector. A member of St. Mary Church in North Little Rock, she recently completed her master’s degree in public service from the Clinton School.

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