O.E.I. Onsite Education Inc. was started in 2016 by Matthew R. Lawrence and his wife Andrea Hertach Lawrence. Andrea is a retired elementary school teacher with 31 years of classroom experience and she has been helping her husband develop programmes and concepts to bring his passions to the field of education for 16 years.
Matthew has a formal education in marketing and advertising as well as radio & television broadcasting, has been a professional actor, and started his own comedy improv troupe in 1997. The Canadian Improv Showcase has travelled the world representing Canadian talent for 20 years. Andrea brought a new market to the company by helping him create educational programming for all grade levels. Since then the troupe has visited more than 400 schools across Ontario.
In 2010, Andrea urged Matthew to explore his newest passion, historical martial arts, in a similar fashion, and the Knights in the Classroom was born! Here they bring excitement to a whole new area of the curriculum and are thrilled to offer students and groups authentic, hands-on experiences such as fencing, archery, dancing, drumming and so much more! To date, they have visited over 200 schools.
The popularity of the Knights in the Classroom workshops has created a market for historical martial arts on its own and because of this the Sword Study Collective will start offering classes to the public in September of 2017 at the Sharon Temple Historic site. Here they will allow people from all walks of life explore the joys and present day applications of historical martial arts.
Together they also have plans to add more programmes exploring their other areas of interest, while keeping their work on the pulse of education.
P. Michael Lawrence is Matthew's father. He has worked in business for over 40 years in a variety of capacities and for some of the largest companies in the world. When Matthew & Andrea decided to explore the world of charitable incorporation, he decided it would be beneficial to throw his hat into the ring to help on the business side of things. He doesn't often attend the workshops, but he has been integral behind the scenes in all of Matthew's pursuits since the very beginning. If not with business advice, then often in his wood shop literally helping craft things such as shields, pillories, armour stands, podiums, fixing swords and armour and much more!
The decision to combine their passions into one educational charity was not a difficult one. Upon working with the local Chamber of Commerce, Matthew was introduced to the concept of not-for-profit business and realized that he was already essentially running his companies the same way. The formal process took some time, but it affords them some benefits otherwise not available to them. It is their hope that the charitable corporation status will allow them to bring their programmes to a greater audience.
Matthew & Andrea's wedding in 2001.
A Viking shield in the process of being built.