by ALINA DAS
Senior year is not only special for the Class of 2018, but for Mr. Walker as well. Being principal comes with a busy schedule, yet Mr. Walker took time out of his day to talk about his experience as principal of Cerritos High, for what is now his fourth year. Mr. Walker still recalls his first impression of CHS during his first day on campus as principal.
“It’s something everybody knows already, and it’s just how great the students are here at Cerritos. The first time I was on the Cerritos campus was during registration, and the first person who came out and said ‘that’s a really cool tie!’ You know what they say, first impressions last forever,” Walker said.
Principal Walker has been an administrator at all three levels of public school: elementary, middle, and high school. When talking about the difference of being a principal of an elementary school compared to a high school, he mentioned the weakness pervasive in many American school districts: the lack of male role models in school. “For young boys, they do not have enough male role models to look up to in an elementary setting.” Walker said.
He also stressed the importance of having a diverse group of people–specifically more men in the teaching track and more women in the engineering path–in the near future.
In high school, there are more male teachers and influencers than there are in elementary schools. In fact, the elementary school students were so used to having a woman authority figure that they would often accidentally call him “Mrs.” Walker.
Mr. Walker had to work very hard in his earlier days. In fact, Mr. Walker had worked the “graveyard shift” stocking grocery shelves for 11 years, including through college. He would go to school during the day and then work from 12a.m. to 8a.m.
Mr. Walker also has a pilot license, which means he can fly a single-engine aircraft. Although his wife will not allow him to take her or their three kids on flights.
Mr. Walker has made the campus of Cerritos High School bright and spirited because of his enthusiasm and involvement in every sporting, extracurricular, and academic activity on campus. Asking about his high school experience and if it has shaped how he thinks as a principal now, Mr. Walker paused for a moment to think back to his high school days.
“Students now work a lot harder than how they did back then. Not only do they work harder academically, but the students also engage in higher level sports and do more activities, which makes the competition for college acceptance higher,” he said.
Mr. Walker might be a perfect representation of CHS, both distinguished and unique.