The Capable Cadet

December 18, 2014 by ·  


Huddleston in his costume on Halloween. photo by Anja Oss

Huddleston is a TJ student who shines with the spirit of TJ.

Sophomore Ian Huddleston perfectly embodies what it means to be a TJ Spartan. He is always aspiring to achieve, in and out of the classroom, despite learning disabilities due to Autism. Teacher Kathryn Nethery said, “I think Ian is a great addition to the TJ family because he’s funny, he’s smart, he’s insightful, and he’s really talented and I just really enjoy getting to know him.”

Huddleston was born in Russia. He came to America as an infant, and has not yet had the opportunity to go back to visit. To this day, he would like to visit Russia and see his older half brother there, but now is not the time for that with all the strife occurring there related to Crimea. “I would be a little nervous going back over there…I would just be worried about just me getting caught in the crossfires,” Huddleston explained.

Huddleston did get to retrace his past several years ago when he went to New York and saw the JFK airport, where he first entered the United States. Along with that, he also got to be a tourist in the city. “I saw these cool plants, I went on the subway, I went to the science museum, I went to the beach and a seagull stole my bagel!” Hopefully one day he can visit his birthplace, but for now, Huddleston is thriving in his TJ environment.

Huddleston is a focused and academically accountable student in all of his classes, but most people know him from his involvement in TJ’s JROTC (Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps). He started participating in JROTC during his time at Morey Middle School and stopped when his mother started homeschooling him. Now at TJ, Huddleston is thriving in the JROTC community. “I am a squad leader, which is in the rank of corporal, so that’s a leadership position. So basically what I do is when they say ‘receive to report’ I salute the platoon sergeant and I say… ‘one missing’ if one person is gone and ‘two missing’ if they’re both gone,” explained Huddleston. This participation in JROTC is the highlight of his day. “I love the instructors and they’re really nice to me, and it just really helps me become a better person.” Huddleston can be seen fulfilling his leadership position at many social events throughout the year. At back to school night this fall, he helped direct parents to various classrooms. Clearly Huddleston excels in his involvement in JROTC; Sergeant Scott Johns, his favorite teacher, said “I believe that Ian is a very motivated student. He’s a good person and he is an outstanding ROTC cadet.”

Huddleston is not a one trick wonder in addition to excelling in JROTC, he also goes above and beyond in bowling and songwriting. He bowls every week with his mother and consistently scores over 200 points, which is well above the average score. Huddleston also has a knack for writing songs, typically based off of nationalistic marches and television shows. His favorite song to sing is one he wrote about himself and friend, freshman Aya Khatib-Rahali. His broad hobbies help him meet new people, which is why so many people in the school know Huddleston. If he continues on his current path of diverse activity, Huddleston will surely have an interesting and fun-filled life.

This Halloween, Huddleston teamed up with art teacher Leonard Fox to create his perfect halloween costume, a tank. Fox and Huddleston met at Morey Middle School, and again met at TJ. Fox described Huddleston as “super energetic and super super intelligent.” Fox said they were always “talking about all the information thats just rolling around in that head of his. He talked to me about weather, he talked to me about all the tanks from World War I all the way up to current.” The tank was made of cardboard and featured a simple camouflage print that Huddleston designed. It was named the Aya Unit after Khatib-Rahali. “She was laughing and laughing and laughing,” said Huddleston of the first time Khatib-Rahali saw the creation. When he wore it on Halloween, he was featured on the Spartan Edition and was also one of three students to win the annual TJ costume contest, which took place at the attendance dance on Halloween. “I knew it was the best. Everyone said it was the best,” said Huddleston.

At TJ, every person contributes to the diversity and atmosphere. Huddleston adds lots of knowledge and kindness to this community.  Sergeant Johns said, “If you want to know anything about World War II aircrafts, just ask Ian.” Huddleston added, “If they have any questions about planes feel free to ask me…or tanks.” Huddleston is one of many TJ students who has big aspirations for after he graduates. “I would like to probably either work as a baggage handler at DIA, a paraprofessional, or a person at Scales and Tails, which is a reptile shop,” said Huddleston of his future. There is no doubt that he will be able to choose the best path and excel in the future. But for now, Huddleston is here and ready to help out his fellow Spartans. “I want them to know I’m always happy to help them out if they need it and I will always be there for them.”


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