Will McClellan is enjoying an unforgettable experience at Huntington High School. The senior is cultivating his interests while surrounded by friends. Even in the midst of a worldwide virus pandemic, the teenager is finding a way to get the most out of each day.
Mr. McClellan is especially enjoying the Virtual Enterprise high school business course and working with teacher Paige Tyree Furman and the Poseidon company team.
“It’s interesting to see how a business works and learn about all the different components needed to run a successful business,” Mr. McClellan said. “I really like working with Mrs. Tyree, who has lots of energy, enthusiasm and knowledge. I am also excited about my psychology class and learning about the human mind and the way people behave and why they do it.”
Like all of his classmates, Mr. McClellan hopes the COVID-19 pandemic relents soon. “I am going to participate in track and field and throw shot put and discus again this year if we are able to have a season,” he said.
The teenager is a member of the leadership mentor group at Camp Dudley, the oldest continually operating boys camp in the country. Founded in 1885, it is located on the shores of Lake Champlain in upstate New York. “Fellow counselors and I discuss leadership qualities and try to incorporate those qualities into our time at camp with the kids,” Mr. McClellan said.
The senior considers Aidan Bonn, George Morris, Gio McCain, CJ Kiviat and Hallie Armengau to be his closest friends. The friendships are rewarding and have enhanced Mr. McClellan’s experience in Huntington.
“Another teacher that has stood out to me is Ms. [Camille] Tedeschi,” Mr. McClellan said. “She has told us a lot of her stories of traveling the world, which is a dream and goal of mine one day and hearing her stories and about all of her trips inspired me to want to definitely travel more. Part of that inspiration led to my decision on the course I am going to be taking next year with the National Outdoor Leadership School. I will be going to Patagonia, Chile for a year and living and learning about their culture, hiking, spending time with the locals and learning many valuable life skills.”
The National Outdoor Leadership School was founded in 1965 by famed mountaineer Paul Petzoldt. It has facilities throughout the world. The not-for-profit “takes people of all ages on remote wilderness expeditions, teaching technical outdoor skills, leadership and environmental ethics in some of the world’s wildest and most awe-inspiring classrooms,” according to an online profile. “What NOLS teaches cannot be learned in a classroom or on a city street. It takes practice to learn outdoor skills and time to develop leadership. The wilderness provides the ideal setting for this unique education.”
Well known alumni of the National Outdoor Leadership School include CNN host Anderson Cooper, John F. Kennedy, Jr., famed mountaineer and filmmaker David Breashears, best-selling author of The Perfect Storm Sebastian Junger, Friday Night Lights television star Zach Gilford, US astronaut Scott Kelly, co-founder of Whole Foods Market Peter Roy, co-founder of Netflix Marc Randolph, actress Allison Janney and many other famous personalities.
After completing his studies at the National Outdoor Leadership School, the teenager is interested in attending the University of Wyoming, SUNY College at Cortland along with several other schools beginning with his sophomore year.
Mr. McClellan’s advice to incoming ninth graders? “When things get hard always keep your head high and push through,” he said. “Enjoy the time in high school; it goes by fast. Value your education, but also have fun.”
While the ongoing pandemic has dramatically changed life at Huntington High School, Mr. McClellan is making the best of the situation and looking forward to a return to normalcy.
“My experience at Huntington will be unforgettable,” Mr. McClellan said. “I met lifelong friends and people who shaped me to be the person I am today. Through sports, academics and friends, Huntington has always been a great place.”