Friends describe Bryan Walker as a “yes man,” always going along with whatever clubs, sports and other extracurriculars that those around school ask him to take part in. The habit has led Walker to spend 12-hour days at school as he struggled to manage his time to fit everything he could into his day, but the habit has also led him to his passion.
During his freshman and sophomore years, Walker studied at Forsyth Central High School within the STEM program with the hope of a future in engineering. Walker was satisfied with his choice until one day a senior at the school asked him to join the mock trial team. The student managed to convince him, and, reluctantly, Walker joined and started preparing for competition.
Class of 2020
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“But the first time we went into the courtroom for competition we ended up winning,” Walker said. “And I got to give our opening statement, and it ended up being the best experience of my life.”
The experience made Walker realize how much he truly fell in love with mock trial and the idea that he could one day help others as an attorney. It turned Walker’s high school goals upside down, and he soon left the STEM program and transferred to South Forsyth High School at the start of his junior year to join its International Baccalaureate program.
“It was like a complete 180 for me,” Walker said.
During the start of his junior year, Walker was in a whole new environment, getting lost a few times on campus and trying to make new friends, but he still quickly became heavily involved in school clubs and activities. Along with the mock trial team, Walker competed on the varsity track team at South Forsyth, and he led students as the president of the black student union, the junior class president, and then later on as the senior class president.
Walker described his last year at South Forsyth as momentous as he and the rest of the student council worked with the school’s principal to revamp school spirit and bring the students together. Thanks to their efforts, more students started showing up to football games and cheering on players, the school had its first homecoming dance in years and students started to take more pride in their school.
The year later came to a halt when students found out in early April that schools in Forsyth County would be closed for the remainder of the year due to the coronavirus. Walker said that, like many of his other classmates, thinking about the missed time at school and all of the teachers he was not able to share a goodbye with made him emotional.
Looking back on his time in Forsyth County and at school, Walker said there is so much that he is going to miss when he leaves for the University of Georgia in the fall. He has spent most of his life in Forsyth County, and still sees his old elementary and middle schools every other day when he goes on a run through town.
Although it is a small ritual, one thing Walker said he will miss most is his snack runs to QuikTrip with his oldest friends. Before heading over to hang out at each other’s houses, the group of them will always stop to get milkshakes and junk food.
“Before we started driving back in middle school, we used to walk from our houses down to there, and it used to be like a whole day thing,” Walker said.
Walker’s goal this summer is to spend as much time as he can with his family and his friends before they split ways and start a new chapter in college in the fall. With graduation on his mind, Walker said that he has been especially thankful to his parents for supporting him and having his back through all of his endeavors and to South Forsyth Principal Laura Wilson for giving him the opportunities to stand out in school.