The Informer

The Student News Site of Cerritos High School

The Informer

The Informer

Interview: Principal Walker’s Last Year


What’s your favorite word? 

What is my favorite word? You know, I said it the other day and no one believed me. They thought I was just joking around, but it’s the truth. Chalupa! Isn’t that an awesome word? It’s a great word. It just rolls right off the tongue. I remember being in a Mexican restaurant and I saw it on the menu and I said, Chalupa? I wanna try that! Why? Just cause it sounds cool. And it actually tastes pretty good. They’re amazing, but it was the name that attracted me. Not anything else about if you described it. We do a thing during the holidays and what is the soup that I make every year? Chalupa soup! Which rhymes, which is totally cool too! It’s actually become one of the most popular things and just because I was totally into chalupa I would use the word as much as possible and when it came to choosing a soup to make I looked online and I’ll be darn, there’s a chalupa soup. So, for the last 6 or 7 years I’ve been making chalupa soup. But, you know another word I really like that I thought was better than chalupa and if you had asked me before I discovered chalupa. And there’s going to be a time where if you wanna own that word you can own it, I’m serious. I don’t have any written documentations for that word alone. But I think if you say it a couple times it is a really cool word. But the other word I like beforehand, and it’s a little bit more serious, is efficacy. Basically defined as the power to do what is intended. Efficacy. So, the efficacy of the informer paper is to keep all of our students abreast of what is happening on campus. You see, it’s fun to say. And it’s also pretty cool too. Efficacious, efficacy, essays. But if you don’t use efficacy use chalupa. I would love to find someone to give an M.U.N. Speech with chalupa in it. That would be totally awesome.


What profession would you have wanted to participate in if you were not an educator?

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 This is a real true story, you guys know my story anyway, about the years of working at the grocery store. Love the outdoors, I wanted to be a forest ranger. I really wanted to be a forest ranger. I worked the entire summer in what they call a youth conservation court clearing trails and love the outdoors and I thought I  wanted to go to Humboldt state. But I actually met a real forest ranger that was out working in the Youth Conservation Corps, so the thing that he told me, he said, and so negative and in some ways I’m so happy with the career path that I took and I can’t imagine doing anything else, but in some ways I didn’t think that it was fair as an actual forest ranger, and he said: “why would you want to work in this field? You’re gonna go to school for 5 or 6 years, get paid pennies, and have to work weekends, you’ll be cleaning toilets, taking money in a toll.” And I said, “okay, Mr forest ranger…” you get a beautiful uniform, and there’s a cafeteria with students. But, anyway he kinda killed my desire to do that. But I wanted to be a forest ranger, I really wanted to do that, I thought I was going to persue that but once I heard that I totally said: “Nah, that’s not for me.” Think about that, think about when you’re talking to other and the impact you have on them. I always try to encourage people.


What’s the greatest challenge your career has brought you? 

“That whole COVID period was no doubt the most challenging time and I think it was a sad time, because for me, it’s all about being around the students, it’s so important to me. Having this place empty? It was terrible.”

-talks about stray cats-

“It was a super sad time and we knew that there was no efficacy behind computerized construction. When students came back it was just a small group, we tried to do some fun things like fill snack carts filled with junk food you should never have, we even had Slim Jim’s. We tried to do some things because we felt sad that there weren’t more students on campus. When we finally got students back, it was not the same community that I remembered. There were a lot of times when we had to reacclimate into what Cerritos culture, the Cerritos way, was all about. We had more issues than ever, things were damaged, and I didn’t know where these things were coming from. ‘What happened and what did you do with my Don’s?’ kind of time.”

“It was a sad, empty, feeling. I got into this business because I love working with young people, and there had been a few times in my career as an administrator where I’ve been approached about particular jobs at the district level. I’ve told them absolutely not, I’m not going to sit in a cubicle in an office. That period of time in COVID was like being in an office, everything was not personal, it was on computer screens, it was a very empty period.”

“Our graduation that year was pretty special considering. What we wanted to do was personalize it because we felt so bad that the class of 2020 really got ripped off. They had no Prom, they had no spring sports, they had no graduation, that was a typical graduation, and I thought what we did was pretty special for them. What I remember is getting so many emails saying ‘we aren’t gonna be able to walk through the gate, that is terrible, how are you gonna make up for that? So we brought the gate out and students would come into our North lot near the varsity baseball field. The parents would drive the car, let the graduate out, and we had several photo spots, we had the gate, but the car was able to go beside them and cheer them on. I was on the stage in probably 95 degree weather in total black gloves, and a mask for eight straight hours. I couldn’t touch any students, they had to pick up their own diploma cover. They were able to decorate their own hats, which was one special thing we let them do. Their whole family was right there when they had the thing and I was able to stand by and sweat next to them. I remember, I had stood for eight hours and there was one time that we had to stop the procession because one of the photographers as you exited. It was up by where the solar panels are now by the track, and the cars drove out past the gym towards the tennis courts to leave. 


What do you love most about CHS?

The students! The students are the best part of my day, by far. I’m just so impressed and humbled by your talent, your intelligence, your sense of humor—sometimes when you laugh at my jokes. I’m getting all teary-eyed just talking about this. By far, the best. There are challenges on the job: paperwork, and reports, and things the district tells you they want done tomorrow and what-not last minute. But, I always can say that if things get rough, I can go sit in the classroom and go out at snack and lunch, and talk with students. Pretty good.


Who is your best friend here at CHS? 

Captain Strive. Oh yeah, captain Strive. Not too many of you have had the opportunity to have associations with a superhero, and I’m so happy that I do and he associates with school and I can kinda call him up. You know people say that people start to look like their kids or their dogs? People are kind of saying, “Hey, you look like captain strive!” and I think its cause we’re so close that people think that, how can you not like the guy overall? Attendance is so so important in all that we do. This is because it goes beyond just school. It goes to your work, and I can tell you from being in a management position for over 25 years, those that are here and here on time are so important to the function and operations business. My oldest got her first job and she said, “Okay pops.” You use the phonetic alphabet when flying and I always though papa sounded more endearing that dad. I said, I wanna be called Papa. And my wife said, “They’re not going to call you papa because all their friends are going to be calling them dad and they’ll be calling you papa. 


What are your plans after retirement?

I’ll tell you this, having worked my entire life, really, I didn’t expect the sorts of feelings that I am feeling now. Which is a lot of uncertainty. Because I always thought – man the people I know that are retiring say “Oh you must be so excited!” Just all happy and instead I have a lot of uncertainty because I’m not sure because I’m so used to working and having these schedules. Especially in education where it’s bell to bell and those kinds of things so there’s a level of uncertainty. There’s a level of sentimentality and sadness. “Oh my gosh it’s my last prom.”

There’s kind of a level of anxiety. I love the outdoors. Wait before I say that. One of the things I’m going to do, and my wife is already working on a schedule and planning it, is that both my wife and I are California natives. I’ve been in public education almost my entire adult life. She wants to do an eastern fall vacation to see the colors change and the leaves. So apparently there are these leaf hopping vacations you can take to go where I think you go through woods and forests where all the leaves are on the ground and frolic in the leaves, I guess, and eat chalupas. That’s the one thing she’s said we are doing in the fall and so she’s planning that whole thing. Being in education, first of all, you’re all booked up with all sorts of important activities. 

But! My nature boy son. I got him into backpacking. He’s taking it to the next level. I already told you– he did the Appalachian trail, Te Araroa trail from the top of New Zealand to the bottom. He’s now working in Archers National Park. He’s swinging from these– because he does rock climbing and mountain climbing so uh in July we’re going to do the Tahoe Rim Trail which is around 165 miles so the mountains around the lake. So it would take us a couple of weeks- It would take him like prolly 4 days cause he’s crazy that way. Like 110 pounds (the bag). He’s a mountain goat. When we go hiking- I got him into this – we’ll go backpacking 2-3 nights every summer and I hardly ever see him cause ‘woosh!’ he’s gone and then there will be a fork in the trail and I’ll see him…eating peanuts; “Kay bye!” and he’s off. So for him I’m gonna be lumbering.


What’s your favorite animal?

Mr. Walker responded with, “I’m a dog person” and he currently has a mini Goldendoodle named Rudy from the movie “Rudy” released in 1993. Rudy came to campus once last year when Mr. Walker dressed up as the Grinch and Rudy was the Grinch’s dog, Max. He also had two other previous dogs named Charcoal and Gilly and had to say that it was “very hard when they pass away because they’re like part of your family.”


Are you a Morning or a Night person?

The morning, I’m a big morning person.

I love the early mornings of the day just starting and it’s quiet out and it’s cool and sometimes you can hear the birds starting to chirp outside, and the day’s just beginning and there’s all this possibility and hope laying before you, and I love the early mornings, and I am not a real good late night person- in fact, I’m pretty famous in the Walker household when there’s a Walker movie night to be asleep by halfway through the movie. 


Now that you’re retiring, what time are you planning on waking up in the morning?

Now that Mr. Walker is retiring he is looking forward to waking up between the hours of 5:30-6 a.m. to walk his dog Rudy and enjoy the early morning hours. During his time at Cerritos, he would regularly wake up at 4 a.m. to get ready for the school day and would get back home late, but now, he’s ready to be asleep by 10 p.m. 


What are your final words for CHS?

Highschool students your at such an awesome time in your life. There are a million doorways that are open to you. There are a million, but slowly, but surly as you age some of those doors will start to shut. You will have fewer and fewer opportunities. “My hopes of the NBA career are gone” You have so many dreams and visions, so do cherish this time of your life. When it comes to your future, “don’t seek to be successful”. The definition of success in our society today is money, fame, possessions, worldly goods. Two words that start with S and are two completely different things, but their meaningful things overall. When it’s all said and done, when you look back on your life. When you old and broken down your going to think was I significant in any way. In my community, work, and family.

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Zoe Corrales
Zoe Corrales, Writer
Freshman, Zoe Corrales is a writer in journalism called The informer here at Cerritos High school. She first found her liking for writing back in middle school when she wrote essays, poems, stories and her teachers were always intrigued by her writing skills. Outside of school she loves too play softball, it’s a way for her too find herself in many other ways based off school and softball.
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