Note: Recently I did an article about two basketball players from my area that went on to play professionally over seas but never lost touch to their hometown and wanting to give back to the community. I’ve decided to try to continue a community spotlight theme of home town athletes that went on post playing to give back to the community in some way. If you have an athlete from your area that has moved on and found a way to give back to their community please email me (email@example.com) and I will contact you and them and do a spotlight on them and whatever they are doing.
If you went to Highland High School in the 90-early 2000s you knew the name Groark. Mark and Matt were brothers who both attending Highland and both played basketball at a high level even into college. But since then Matt has gone on to be a teacher at Washington Twp High School and has his own BBQ food truck, called Groark Boys BBQ. During the Covid-19 Matt hit the spotlight winning a grant from Sam’s club and has been featured multiple times giving back in this uncertain time, providing lunch for Washingon Twp Police Department, and his latest a give back. Next week, you will see Matt’s food truck at the Washington Twp senior center, handing out BBQ platters as cars roll through. What you may not know, is that Matt is donating proceeds to Mother’s cupboard in Washington Twp NJ.
If you are interested in good food and a good cause he is still taking orders HERE.
Matt was gracious enough to answer a few questions for me about his sports fandom, playing days, and his use of BBQ to help out those in need.
The last time I did a community spotlight it was on athletes from my area that gave back. Obviously Kyle and Tyler both played professionally. Maybe you didn’t but I’ve heard you are no slouched on the court. I know your brother is pretty good too. How would you describe your “career” in a few short sentences?
My brother was very likely the best player to ever at play at Highland to this point in time. He is still the all-time scoring leader. I like to think I built a bridge to that. I beat the crap out of him as kids playing in our driveway. At least until he got stronger than me. Lol. Then my senior year after decades of losing we made the playoffs under Harold Little. 4 years later Marks team won a SJ state Title! Pretty awesome. I got to play in college for a couple years but I wasn’t as talented as Mark. I just worked hard and played hard to get where I got.
Ok, now that’s out of the way you are also a big Sixers fan right? There was a story about your students gifting your wife and you tickets to a Sixers game right? If you want to elaborate on your fandom please do.
We have always been a basketball family so it just came with the territory!!! However, growing up early Mark was a Bulls/Jordan fan and I was a Detroit Pistons/Thomas fan. Kind of explains our attitudes on the court lol. But then we realized where we come from and it’s been Philly ever since!!! And my students are awesome. My wife and I were going through some tragedy building our family and they wanted to make me feel better. I love them for that!
*writers note: this is a big statement of Matt character in my opinion. People have unfortunate things happen all the time, but for his students to step up and want to do something nice for him and his wife shows that they genuinely like Matt as a person.
It’s cool to see you use skills outside of teaching to help the community. What got you into BBQ’in?
I’ve always loved to cook! We are Eagles season ticket holders and always been the one up at 6am preparing for the tailgate. Kind of came from that. My father in law gifted me a small smoker and the rest is history. I embraced social media and a lot of my opportunity was built and still builds from that.
This isn’t the first time you have gave back using cooking. We saw you give lunch to Washington Twp PD and now this. This event will raise money for Mother’s cupboard, what do they do? And do you know how people can help outside of buying your food?
They provide food, clothing, school supplies for families in need! It’s an awesome organizations and our teacher that lead up the effort are angels to many people!!!! Beyond what I’m doing with this cook you can contact them directly through Washington Twp public schools!
Is this something you can see yourself doing more down the road?
My business has been and always will be about giving back. Plain and simple. I love what I do but this isn’t about me. It’s about spreading the love of food, family and fun and doing our part to make people happy! Food has a crazy way of being an awesome bridge to bringing people together!
A couple quick fun questions
Favorite athlete ever? Isaiah Thomas
Favorite sixer? Iverson. Iggy. Past and present
Best sports memory? Eagles Super Bowl duh!
Who wins in a 1v1 you or mark? Then, Mark. Now, Me You or gene? Then Me, Now, Gene
I met Matt a few months ago when our kids played soccer together (remember those days lol), and since then, I could tell the type of genuine person that Matt is. I should have known, because no matter how much I don’t want to admit it, Mark is the same way. To me, it’s so cool to see people who played sports growing up give back to that same area where they played. Matt is the epitome of giving back, and it’s pretty amazing the stuff he does for the community.
You can find Matt and Groark Boys BBq on social media at
Facebook – Groark Boy’s BBQ
Twitter – @groarkboysbbq
Instagram – @groarkboysBBQ
TikTok – @groarkboysbbq
Tangi – @groarkboysbbq
Email – firstname.lastname@example.org