Marcel Huchwajda’s journey to the top of Riverside’s senior class began over 4,000 miles from Durham.
Huchwajda immigrated from Poland to the United States when he was two years old. He has lived in Oregon and New Jersey, and moved to North Carolina in third grade.
He first decided to go to Riverside to be in the ROTC program, of which he is now the group commander.
“ROTC is really a fantastic program and a lot of the leadership skills I have came from ROTC,” said Huchwajda. “Since you have to speak a lot, you have to lead a lot, it really helped me with my stutter and being able to control it better.”
ROTC students and Major Roger Bailey chose Huchwajda unanimously to become the group commander.
“He’s a quiet [leader],” said Bailey. “He doesn’t have to talk loudly to get his point across, and people will follow him because he’s smart, he knows what he’s doing, and he leads by example.”
Huchwajda took an engineering class the first semester of his freshman year, and enjoyed it so much that he ended up officially joining the program.
“A lot of the classes are really difficult but they really taught me time management,” said Huchwajda. “They showed me that engineering in college is not going to be something easy.”
“He’s incredibly intelligent,” said Bailey. “His lowest grade on his transcript was an A.”
Huchwajda plans to major in nuclear engineering at North Carolina State.
“I became very interested in nuclear reactors,” he said. “In my opinion, it’s the source of energy of the future. I’m also still a little interested in joining the Navy to be on one of the nuclear submarines.”
Something fewer students know about him is that he is accomplished in saber fencing, a fast-paced method of fencing where players can target any area above the hips.
“My father was an olympian in fencing on the German national team,” he said. “So, he taught me a lot about fencing and I’m pretty good at it, I guess.”
Huchwajda is happy with his experience at Riverside.
“In high school, you meet a lot of great people.”