By Angela Norris
Griffin Huizinga, a recent graduate from Greenwood Christian Academy, is the only graduate from Johnson County to be accepted into the U.S. Naval Academy in 2019. Huizinga departed early last week to start six weeks of basic training. He was accepted in March out of 1,500 applicants; the Naval Academy only accepts 4-5 percent of applicants.
During his first day at the Naval Academy, Huizinga will receive his new standard issue uniform and traditional first-day haircut. During his six weeks at basic training, he will go through early rise 5 a.m. drills, strenuous workouts and character leadership classes. During his four years at the Academy, Huizinga will take standard, college-level classes, along with military training and physical fitness classes. He will attend four years at the U.S. Naval Academy, and after graduation will proceed to five years of active service as a naval officer or marine.
Huizinga spent his high school years as a proud “Cougar” at GCA playing soccer and baseball. “My favorite memory of high school is winning sectionals in baseball my freshman year, and also soccer sectionals my freshman, junior and senior year,” he said. Huizinga was a member of the National Honor Society, the student council, the Spanish club and the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. “I will miss the friendships and my teams the most,” he said. “Also, being in a Christian-centered environment.”
Huizinga’s grandfather was in the Marines and was an inspiration to him as he thought about joining the military since he was a little boy. Cheryl Huizinga, Griffin’s mother, said she is proud of how hard he worked and stayed dedicated to his decision to apply to the U.S. Naval Academy. Huizinga did several things to prepare for getting ready to apply to the Naval Academy. He participated in community service, did lots of studying and focused on leadership positions throughout his high school. “It was very difficult, the application process was very intense,” Cheryl said.
Cheryl said her favorite memory of Griffin is watching him grow into a mature and quiet leader. “I will miss his sense of humor the most when he leaves for the Academy. He is one of the funniest people I know. He has a cool sense of humor and is very quick-witted. My greatest hope for Griffin is that he continues doing what God calls him to do, whatever that may be. I know he will be successful.”
Griffin said he is looking forward to getting to be part of something bigger than himself and being able to serve his country in a bigger way. “I want to make my family proud,” he said. Griffin gives all of his thanks to his parents, his teachers and his coaches as he departs on his new journey in life.