Former West student skis to north pole in 55 days

John Huston, a 1995 graduate, spoke at Freshmen Orientation about dedication and perseverance

Huston almost gave up skiing to the north pole but credits believing in himself as motivation to finish. Picture courtesy of Mr. Huston.

Huston almost gave up skiing to the north pole but credits believing in himself as motivation to finish. Picture courtesy of Mr. Huston.

As the auditorium filled with students on April 13th for their last orientation of the year, the atmosphere was notably indifferent.

However, the speaker, John Huston, proved to be compelling, motivating students to continue academic excellence for the remainder of the school year and years to come.

During his Glenbard West career, John played tennis, soccer, and ran track. He was also a participant in a club called Project Omega which provided underclassman with homework assistance and motivation. This inspired him to continue to work with kids in one way or another for nearly twenty years.

Mr. Huston graduated from Glenbard West in 1995 as a fairly average student, but went on to become the first American to ski unsupported to the North Pole along with his companion Tyler Fish. The stories of his expedition were intriguing while also carrying a deeper message for students. It taught him “that every human being has an incredible capacity to endure hardship and challenges and ultimately succeed.”

John Huston strongly believes in his four steps to achieving goals: pursue passions, commit to the goal, prepare diligently, and believe. With these steps in mind, he encourages students everywhere to push themselves and “go the distance” to not only achieve but excel.

Weeks into his trip, only hours from the north pole, John and Tyler were ready to give up; they were attempting to function on about 3 hours of sleep per night and the winds were pushing them off course. They called their expedition director to officially surrender to the unforgiving environment and be brought home, but their wise director refused to let the duo give up.

In a final burst of energy, they pushed to the end and arrived just six hours before their deadline, 55 days into the expedition.

Mr. Huston’s journey is applicable to West students in a smaller way. Just like their expedition director, students rely on teachers, parents, and friends to push forward, but at the end of the day, they must be the ones to push themselves to achieve.

The orientation proved to resonate with students. Freshman Kailey Schmidt commented, “[The presentation] was an inspiring story about achieving goals and preserving through the hard times.”

Fellow freshman, Marybeth Feeley and David Morof concurred with her sentiment. Marybeth said, “The presentation was really cool along with having a good message” while David “felt inspired by the speaker because it showed [him] that things that seem impossible are attainable.”

It is clear that John Huston was able to truly inspire West’s students: “[I]t is impossible to know what your future will be, [so] [d]ream big, work hard, and enjoy the journey,” Huston said.