Teen of the Week: St. Mary student busy with school, family
Leslie Huffman’s mother, Nicole, jokes that in their household of six children, her daughter often needs a striped shirt and a whistle.
“She’s the peacekeeper,” she said of her 13-year-old. “She likes to keep the peace. And she always has a smile on her face.”
She never has to ask Leslie for help, Nicole Huffman said.
“You don’t have to ask her to do something, she just sees things to do,” she said.
The eighth-grader said being part of a large family can be chaotic but fun and something she would never trade. Aside from helping at home, she’s involved in school government, sports and charity causes.
Question: What are some of the activites you’re involved in, how do you spend your time?
Answer: I spend a lot of time on student council. I was nominated to be the president this year. I have five siblings so that absolutely takes a lot of time, basketball practice, I have a dog, too.
Q: How did you end up being the student council president?
A: Every year the eighth graders get to be the officers and the student council picked me for president. I’m president and some of my friends are vice president, treasurer, secretary, all the other roles.
Q: What are your responsibilities as president?
A: I go to all the meetings, make suggestions…if someone has an idea, they come to me. I talk to (teacher) Mrs. (Lori )Estes, who is like the king, I guess.
Q: Had you ever been involved in being on a board like that before?
A: No, but making decisions and being the person to go to ties in with being an older sibling.
Q: What are some of the projects you’ve done on council?
A: Last week we did a food battle, where we helped a program that provides food and meals for seniors. We gathered a bunch of food and cat food and dog food, too.
We’re also doing memory bricks. Anyone who has lost a parent or a grandparent will get a brick that says ‘In memory of…”
Then on Jan. 26, we’re having a talent show. We’re currently making the programs for that.
Q: You also play a couple of sports, right?
A: Yes. Last year, I did basketball, cross country and track and this year I did volleyball and we’re in the middle of basketball season now.
Q: Do you enjoy being part of a team?
A: I’m the team captain so again, there’s a lot of responsibility. It’s neat to see how everyone comes together.
Q: Are you involved with the church?
A: I volunteer at the soup kitchen and my family always does the giving tree, which helps provide for a family wtih a certain amount each month. We did a similar thing in student council, where we provided families with chicks, cows and pigs.
Q: It seems like you really enjoy being able to help.
A: It’s nice to see what happens when you give back to people. My brothers were in Childrens Hospital because they were close to two months premature and the longest we were there was 78 days. We stayed in the Ronald McDonald House. Everyone helped and it was great. I ‘ve gotten to see the other side.
Q: What’s it like to be part of such a big family?
A: I have one older sister and four younger brothers. It’s a lot. There’s always a lot going on. My sister plays basketball and my brother does swim and soccer. It’s always “Come play with me this” and “Come play with me that.”
Q: I’ve heard that you help a lot with your younger brothers.
A: I do. It’s crazy in the mornings.
Q: You’re only in eighth grade but have you thought about what you might want to study or be later in life?
A: My dad welds at Solvay. I went to the bring your kids to work day and thought that’s what I want to do, either that or athletic training.
Q: Was is it about welding that interests you?
A: I like a lot of math and science is fun. It seems like with this, you’re continuing to learn all the time. It’s not like you learn one thing and then just keep doing it.
Q: Are math and science your favorite subjects in school?
A: Yes and I really like social studies, too.
Kate York conducted this interview. To nominate a Teen of the Week, email firstname.lastname@example.org
¯ Age: 13.
¯ Grade: Eight.
¯ School: St. Mary Catholic School.
¯ Activties: Student council, basketball, volleyball.
¯ Family: Mother, Nicole; father, Michael; sister Madeline, 15; brothers Grant, 10, Evan, 7 and Cole and Cale, 3, multiple dogs, cats and horses.
¯ Future plans: To pursue a career in welding, like her father.