Mr. Huskie…Man, Myth or Legend?
Recently, The Nest had a chance to sit down with Mr. Huskie to pick his brain about what it’s like to be a teacher at Albany High, the woods and mountains explored bravely by Hike Club, the poets of Inkblot and whatever else came to mind. The results are amusing, complicated and somewhat cryptic. The same can be said for the man himself. Read at your own risk.
The Nest: State your name please.
BH: Mr. Brian David Huskie.
TN: What college did you attend?
BH: I went to Suny Albany.
TN: Any thoughts on Suny Albany?
BH: College is (a brief pause)… college is what you make of it. You have to have a balance between academics and everything else. Myself, I had some growing pains when I first got to college. You have to want to be there. Some things I really enjoyed were playing flag football, I was part of A.S.I.A (Albany State Indian Alliance) and another Asian club that was mostly composed of Indian and Fillipino students.
You have to take college seriously because it costs a lot of money. (I’m speaking about college in general not just SUNY Albany.) Something a lot of people don’t tell you is that at some point you have to actually figure out what you want to do. Nowadays everyone has a college degree. You have to be focused and you have to have some form of a post school plan. My first couple years, I was more focused on flag football and eating Indian food than I was on school. I regret that.
Then I joined the National Guard, went to Iraq and when I came back I had a whole different life perspective. I went back to school, all A’s; I went to Graduate School. At this point I picked up another major and so it was English and Psychology. I didn’t know if I wanted to be a psychologist or an English teacher. I ended up getitng my masters at Suny Albany.
TN: What was your original major?
BH: English. My major was English with a minor in psychology. When I got back from Iraq and went back to school, I already had a bunch of my English credits. So my option was to take a bunch of electives or pick up a second major. At the time I wasn’t sure if I wanted to stick with English or not, so I wanted that another option.
TN: What do you love about Albany High?
BH: I love the diversity. Especially now that I have been involved in teaching ESL classes. I love meeting people from other countries. There’s definitely a special place for the refugee students that we have. I’ve seen kids in war and it just makes me feel great that they can get an education without fear of terrorism or the safety of their family. It just makes me feel great that they are here and that I can teach them.
I like the advanced programs that we offer. My school didn’t have anything like explorations. It’s an excellent opportunity. The AP, the IB programs, all those extra things we have, the willingness of teachers to advise clubs. Definitely one of the positive things around here is the fact you can always find a teacher willing to advise a club. Any silly club you wanna do. If I go to the office and say I wanna do an XYZ club, they sign me up and I can do it. That’s exactly how Hike Club got started. I went to the office, said I wanted to start a hiking club, there were a couple kids interested and there ya go. The size of the school enables us to do that.
People talk about how smaller schools are more personal, but I don’t know if that’s necessarily the case. When I went to SUNY Albany, it was a very big school, and what happens is people break into groups and communities. You have this natural tendency to hang around people who are like you and want to do the same thing. So you have these groups of people who have these similar interests and they want to start a club and they find a teacher who is willing to do it. You don’t get that in smaller schools as much. Not enough staff to handle it.
TN: Other than English class, what else do you do in the Building?
BH: I advise the Hike Club and I co-advise Inkblot. This is our third year doing Hiking Club. We do an average of four hikes a year. We’ve done them in the Adirondacks and the Catskills. Hiking is something that I’ve been doing forever. When I was in the National Guard, I kind of got away from civilian hiking because I got my fill of it when I went to drill and did my various trainings. After I finished school and settled down I picked it up again. I was on a hike with my wife in the Adirondacks and I started thinking about the students we have here and how they might not have the oppurtinity or even if they did, they might not take the initative or even realize that they have it. I believe one of the best experiences you can have in New York State is getting lost in the mountains. We have somewhere around 20 members. At any given hike there are probably around 15 kids that go. We’ve done Adirondack High Peaks, Catskills High Peaks, hikes in Lake George. These aren’t easy hikes either. We have a meeting every Wednesday after school in 232. We’re talking 2,500 vertical feet. Anywhere between six and twelve miles every hike. At first I was afraid I would turn the kids off by taking the kids on the more difficult hikes but it turned out to be the opposite.
With Inkblot, Mr. Dring and I took the reins from Ms. Donohue. Inkblot has been around since the 80’s if not earlier. We’re picking up a club that’s been around for a long time, which is pretty cool. We put out a book which as far as we know is the first time in the clubs history that we’ve been able to do that. (If anyone wants to come see me they’re five dollars.) Every other year we’ve put out a magazine full of original writing. Mr Dring and I write as a hobby so it’s cool to watch other people work on their writing passionately and to see them published in a book or magazine. Teaching is rewarding, but some of these clubs can certainly keep you going.
TN: If you could change one thing about Albany High what would it be?
BH: In a minority of students there is absolute apathy. They don’t care about grades, or about getting in trouble. If I could change one thing about Albany High it would be to wave a magic wand and change their perspective. If I was lacking a magic wand, I wish we could get some magical paperwork and drum them out to someplace else.
TN: Do real men use umbrellas?
BH: Real men do not use umbrellas regardless of how hard it’s raining.
TN: Sounds like you have some really strong feelings about that.
BH: I do. When you have convictions you need to stand by them, I don’t turn down barbeque, I don’t use umbrellas. I’m not late to work. I’m not late to fishing. Also, there are only three haircuts men are authorized to have, buzz cuts, high and tight and crew cut. I don’t actually know if you’re allowed to use that last one. I stole that from a TV show.
TN: Has anyone ever told you that you look like Jason Statham?
BH: Who is Jason Statham?
TN: Has anyone ever checked their reflection on your head?
BH: No. The problem with checking your reflection on my head is that my head gives off the light of a thousand suns. It is a mighty head. Maybe not the most perfectly shaped head in the universe, but definitely in the galaxy.
If you’re interested in Hike Club or Inkblot, see Mr. Huskie after school Wednesday or Friday in room 232!