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The Matthew Bardwell Memorial Scholarship Fund (MBMSF) is a charitable and educational 501(c)(3) non-profit organization with the purpose of providing scholarship funding to graduating high school seniors of Aztec High School (AHS) who plan to attend institutions of higher learning; enabling students to start their path to higher learning without accumulating burdensome debt.



Matthew Scott Bardwell

9/26/81   –   3/10/97

Matthew Bardwell attended the Aztec Municipal Schools from kindergarten until the spring of his freshman year when he lost his battle with cancer.  Matt was diagnosed with acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL) on January 20th. in 1995 while he was in the 7th. grade.  He had a real zest for life, a great sense of humor, loved baseball and excelled in school.  Although he endured a very difficult treatment regimen, until his relapse, Matt attended school with few absences throughout his treatment.  He required a central intravenous access in his chest the entire time that few knew he had because he did not want sympathy from others.  He desperately wanted to live his life as normally as possible and didn’t expect any special favors because of his illness.  His doctors at UNM hospital were amazed at his determined spirit and could hardly believe that he was able to attend school on a regular basis.  Matthew was a natural leader, and in true leader fashion, he knew how to follow others and allow them to shine.  His headstone reads “laughing often and loving much, you touched so many lives.”  This epitaph captures the fun and loving character so many knew as “Matty”.  During Matt’s illness, his continued vibrant approach to life inspired those around him to reach higher, push harder, and go beyond the ordinary.  Matthew’s faith in God not only sustained him through his illness, but allowed him to continue to live an impassioned, meaningful life until his death.

Throughout Matthew’s illness and at the time of his death, the community of Aztec supported our family immensely. There were multiple fundraisers to assist with medical and extra costs incurred during Matt’s treatment.  San Juan County, and particularly Aztec, rallied to assist and comfort our family during our most difficult days.  There will never be words adequate to convey the gratitude our family will always have to the community.  We find comfort in the lasting memory this tribute will provide.