Walter Taylor III learned a lot about persistence over the last year. The senior at David W. Carter spent most days this school year with his eyes peeled on a computer screen attending class remotely from home. “I had to learn how to be a student,” he said of developing the discipline to consistently wake up, open the computer and motivate himself to do the required assignments to maintain a superior GPA.
When he wasn’t studying, the soon-to-be collegiate academy graduate was doing conditioning exercises, sharpening his basketball skills and helping his Carter Cowboys teammates overcome their rivals on the court.
His coach, Lyndon Love, has high praise for Walter, who was a team captain this year, bringing to four consecutive years his contribution to a team that won 23 straight games, securing a 12-4A District Championship and recognition for Taylor as a First Team All-District player.
“He’s gotten better every year,” said Love, who is beyond proud of the 18-year-old who is wrapping up the school year as Carter’s Class of 2021 Salutatorian and recipient of a $230,000 four-year ride to Texas Christian University. Both Love and Walter credit his mom, Jereese Johnson, and dad, Walter Taylor Jr., for keeping the senior on the straight and narrow. “My mom is all over the grades,” said Walter, while his dad focuses on his athletic prowess. “He was one of my first coaches and teaches me lessons I can apply to life.”
At TCU, Walter plans to study graphic design, a talent he’s embraced since elementary school. The devoted athlete loves basketball but also realizes, “You have to have a plan B.” Carter Collegiate Academy Assistant Principal Tina Baker couldn’t agree more. She stays in touch with all 30 Carter Collegiate seniors and stores their frequently changing mobile numbers in her phone so she can reach them at a moment’s notice to keep them moving toward graduation. In Walter’s case, she found dispensing encouragement relatively easy. A true scholar who places equal weight on academics and athletics, Baker said, “He embodies what a valedictorian should be.”
En route to graduation with his associate degree and impressive scholarship, Baker said Walter maintained a healthy competition with classmate Karla Armendariz, who won out as Carter Valedictorian. Baker called it the kind of friendly contest that “fires you up as an educator” and is something she would like to see more often.