2015: Matt Medalia
Matt is the son of Steve and Janet Medalia and the grandson of Steve and Mary Jane (Belanich) Medalia. He traces his family roots to the islands of Dugi Otok and Ilovik At the age of 4 he joined the Seattle Junior Tamburitzans, and continued with the group for 11 years. He was fortunate to take two performing tours with the Seattle Jr. Tamburitizans to Croatia, visiting the islands of his great grandparents along the way. He participated in many sports while he was younger, such as soccer, basketball, football, and swimming. At the age of 15, he began rowing at Green Lake, and his love of the sport began. In the fall of 2012, he was elected team captain of Green Lake Crew.
He was a member of the 2013 United States Junior National High Performance team, which traveled to Berlin, Germany, to compete. While rowing and working hard at Bishop Blanchet High School, he also earned his Eagle Scout rank in the Boy Scouts. He was accepted to the University of Washington and was recruited by their rowing team. While rowing and working hard at Bishop Blanchet High School, he also earned his Eagle Scout rank in the Boy Scouts. He was accepted to the University of Washington and was recruited by their rowing team. He has now won the PAC-12 Championship, two IRA National Championships, and gone undefeated in his first two years at the UW. He participated in the UW men’s clean sweep, taking 1st in every event, and participating in the Varsity 4+ at the 2015 IRA regatta this past spring. Matt is a Biology major, and hopes to attend medical school after he graduates in the spring of 2017.
“As a member of the Croatian community in Seattle, I am honored to receive this recognition from the CroatiaFest members. While I was younger, I loved being a member of the Seattle Jr. Tamburitzans and learning about my Croatian heritage. Participating in the Croatian community has given me a sense of cultural identity and strong sense of belonging while I was growing up. This past year I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to learn even more about my heritage, while taking Croatian classes at the University of Washington. Growing up in this community, especially the SJT’s, has given me many gifts. It has helped me learn how to work hard, work together towards a common goal, and celebrate my heritage, all of which have helped me in my other pursuits as well. To me, being Croatian means recognizing where my family came from, seeing the progress we have made, and forging a path towards your dreams.”