After 53 years of teaching, Mr. Walker walks away


Kaitlin Rasborn - Executive Editor, Veronica Barsoomian - Photo Editor

Science teacher Larry Walker retired from teaching after 53 years in education, 42 of which were at CHS. Science teacher Christina Buck and Jessica Phan have taken over Walker’s AP Chemistry and Honors Chemistry classes, respectively, for the current semester.

Walker, who in his career taught classes ranging anywhere from Chemistry to Planetary Science, said he began contemplating retirement a few weeks prior to the close of first semester and his goal was to finish out the year. When asked why he bumped up his retirement an entire semester, Walker was clear.

“It was just time,” said Walker.

Asked what he will do with his newfound freetime, Walker said he has plenty in mind, including everything from outdoor activities to sharing positivity with others.
“I will definitely go fishing more, and I will get together more frequently with friends who I haven’t had the time to link up with very much,” said Walker. “I also wish to continue my presentation on religious freedom with Madame Boghosian.”

Walker recalled that in his 42 years as a teacher at CHS, he formed many great relationships and created fond memories with students and staff. His favorite part about being a teacher at CHS was getting to know and respect the teachers and faculty on campus.

“Most days, I’ve driven away from this school and thought, ‘it’s been a good day,’” said Walker.

“There are so many good people, and one of the things that I have loved about teaching is that my fellow teachers are virtually all people of integrity. I have spoken to others who don’t see that same integrity in their fields, which is very sad and destructive; to be able to work with people I can respect and like and be friends with is very good.”
Every career has its fair share of incredible highs and not-so-incredible lows. When asked about his different experiences as a teacher, Walker’s answer was unique, for he used this question as a platform to address the growing pessimism in today’s world.

“If you look at the news, they always accent the negative because the positive doesn’t sell,” said Walker. “Always look out and accent the positive; people have to realize that the world isn’t all conflict.”

Walker argued that the only way to thrive in the world today is to bridge the gaps that divide all people, whether it be religion, race, ethnicity or politics.

“Here is my piece of advice for people: if you lean toward one side politically and you’re very strong on it, get to know people honestly from the other side, whichever side that may be. We have to get through this polarization, and you guys are the future.”

Walker’s retirement has impacted students, faculty and staff alike.Throughout the interview with Walker, countless students entered his room with gifts and words of thanks and encouragement for the future, all of which were well-received and reciprocated by Walker. One student in particular, junior Sarah Benjamin, expressed her disappointment over the loss of one of her favorite teachers.

“Mr. Walker’s great stories and enthusiasm for chemistry made me look forward to going to class,” said Benjamin. “I feel fortunate to have had him as a teacher and miss seeing him on campus!”
Beginning this semester, Buck a veteran chemistry and physics teacher of four years has taken over Mr. Walker’s single AP Chemistry course. She is grateful for this opportunity but upset about the permanent absence of Walker.

“Mr. Walker was such a dedicated teacher for so long,” said Buck. “I was happy to take over this class for him, so that he could move on to the next phase of his life and spend more time with his wife.”

Many other teachers in the science department are saddened by Walker’s early retirement, and they wish him all the best in his future pursuits.
“He was extremely generous,” said AP Environmental Science and Honors Chemistry teacher Dr. Deborah Bennett.

“He developed a lot of his own curriculum, and then he would share it with everybody, both locally and also through the american chemical society. He would present at meetings; he would take a lot of his time and develop really interesting activities for kids and share it with everyone who was interested.”

Walker has contributed significantly to the CHS community through his unique teaching styles and bubbly personality. He will be greatly missed by students, fellow teachers and administration; Principal CJ Foss attests to this loss when asked to comment on his retirement.

“He is an inspirational teacher that has impacted generations of students,” said Foss. “As a faculty member he was consistently positive and upbeat and a huge influence on the staff in an incredibly positive way.”