For Owasson Matthew Huber, walking the premises of Shawnee Regional Airport comes as a privilege that’s rooted in responsibility.
The 15-year-old cadet officer with the airport’s National Flight Academy serves as a volunteer commander for the cadet squadron that regularly meets in Jenks.
“I joined because a family friend was in the program and encouraged me to join,” Huber said. “My dad also was very supportive of the program after seeing the leadership skills and discipline that the program offered.”
Huber was selected as one of five cadets from across the nation to serve on staff at the powered flight school, which is part of a network of academies across the nation organized by Civil Air Patrol under its Cadet Takeoff initiative.
He joined the program in Oct. 2017, and has since become an influential figurehead among the regional cadet community.
“His (Matthew’s) leadership ability and insight is very mature for his 15 years,” said Capt. Brandon Lunsford, deputy commander for Jenks program. “He has a natural ability to lead, and his peers look up to him.”
Huber’s role — the “epicenter of the squadron,” as Lunsford describes — acts as a liaison between the senior staff and the cadet team, allowing him to cast a vision for the participants and steering them toward meaningful goals.
The Owasso resident often gives lectures during the Academy’s weekly meetings, and also ensures that all the school’s in-person and virtual sessions are presented successfully.
In the wake of the pandemic, for example, Huber implemented a training schedule to teach his peers how to present to audiences and then scheduled them to present to the squadron. He then offered trial run sessions to critique and aid them in fine-tuning their presentations before delivering them to a larger audience.
“I get amazing leadership and interpersonal skills from it. I feel confident being able to lead a group of people,” Huber said. “I have also grown my communication skills from the program, as I often have to teach classes and make presentations. It has been a huge factor in making me the person I am today.”
Huber plans to return to the Academy next year as a student.