Terry Walker speaks to UHS students

terry walker speaker series
Photo by Niusha Maleki

During Office Hours of Thursday last week (May 1), the Irvine Unified School District (IUSD) superintendent Terry Walker visited University High School (UHS) to inspire students to follow their passions and to warn them of the dangers that come with an environment over-saturated with information.The visit was a delayed tribute to the Junior State of America’s (JSA)’s Fight Apathy campaign, a program that helped thousands of students nationwide to bring meaningful discussions to their respective schools.
According to Jessica Shin (Sr.), the JSA stateswoman who invited Mr. Walker to speak, he came to instruct students on the art of “putting their passion to action.”
The superintendent pulled from his experience in working in an industry that he felt no joy for, including a personal anecdote about why he declined a well-paying business job for a far less lucrative job in a sector for which he felt more of an affinity. He has no regrets about his decision, and he said, “We need an environment where people can pursue what they are passionate about.” His advice is for young people to do what they love, instead of bending to others’ suggestions and wishes.
He also stated that students need to process information rather than reverting to rote memorization. Such cramming, he cautioned, will lead students to forget what is truly important, and they may become lost in a world with too much information to keep up with. Students must remain interested in their learning in order to synthesize the material and keep up with society’s needs.
Mr. John Pehrson (Admin.) agreed with Walker and said, “Be aware of the plethora of information;, be alert to ask questions about the information you receive.”
Walker kept his audience entertained by sharing stories about everything from his experience talking to misinformed senators in our state capital to his own personal battle against apathy.
Walker responded to students’ questions and comments at the end of hispresentation and gave listeners his own perspective on issues such as teacher tenure and alternative education systems.
Emaan Hariri (So.) said “Terry Walker was a fascinating speaker who gave the audience his perspective on life as a whole.”
Staff Writer