Top of his class

HARLINGEN — Huen He knew he wanted to attend a military school as soon as he got a tour of West Point.

“I saw the cadets marching and that was pretty interesting to me,” he said.

Huen, who is from Shanghai, China, is a 19-year-old senior at Marine Military Academy. He got his first taste of MMA when he attended summer camp there more than four years ago.

But before that, when he was a child, his mother brought him to the United States to see the opportunities here.

“My mom took me here and showed me around some universities and one that caught my eye was West Point. So, I was really interested in military school,” he said.

His decision to come here has paid off, he said. He credits the academy with teaching him discipline and leadership skills.

And he is at the top of his class, on track to graduate Class of 2018 valedictorian.

“It’s pretty different here. Because when I was in China I never led people to do stuff,” he said. “Here, I was in charge of a platoon and so I had to take care of them.

“We have leadership classes and we have cadet leaders that set the example. And one of my company commanders is really good at teaching you how to be a leader.”

Huen plans to attend New York University to study math and entrepreneurship. But ultimately, he wants to be a fashion designer.

“I want to start my own business as a fashion designer — I’ve been pretty interested in it. I watch the fashion shows on television and I like to dress nice,” he said.

Here is his advice to young students:

“It takes initiative to keep up the good grades and the interest and enthusiasm for school. So, it’s really important for you to find what you’re interested in and what you’re good at. Pursue that and take the path that you want.”