Hi! My name is Ike Walker, and I live in Sapulpa, OK. I'm currently a freshman at Holland Hall, which is a college preparatory school in Tulsa. I love math, reading, theater, and I especially love science. While at Holland Hall, I'm hoping to get on an advanced science track, so that I can take as many science courses as I can. Currently, I am taking biology, which I LOVE, and I'm hoping that I'll be able to double up on Chemistry and Physics next year. So far though, some of my better experiences at Holland Hall have been participating in math counts, which is a nationwide math competition, being in four theatrical productions, including Robin Hood in The Somewhat True Tale of Robin Hood, and being active in our school band as a clarinetist. All of these experiences have helped me find what I am passionate about, and they have shaped who I am as a person. I also love sports, my favorites being cross country, which I've been competing in since 5th grade, and soccer, which I've played since I was five years old. This year, I was our top high school cross country runner and one of the fastest freshman in the state of Oklahoma, and in middle school soccer last year, I played left wing and was a captain for our team. I think both of these experiences helped shape me into a more understanding and overall better leader and person. I think that all of the different experiences that I've been able to have have shaped me into a unique individual, and they have definitely improved who I am as a person. Being fortunate enough to be in so many different activities, with so many different people and perspectives, has changed who I am and it has given me the opportunity to think about who I want to be.
I think my love for cross country comes from my love of nature as much as my love for running. I have went on multiple backpacking trips in the Sierras, and I remember growing up playing in my backyard and intently watching the different birds that would come to our feeder (as well as chasing off the squirrels that had decided that the feeder was for them). In fact, I would say that my fascination with birds was one of the main reasons that I started to love nature. I remember REALLY wanting to have a birdhouse outside my room, so I decided to plant some birdhouse gourd seeds, watering them and turning the gourds into birdhouses when they were ready. Being honest, I was just expecting some sparrows to move into the gourd, but it still would have meant a lot to me. Far from it though, out of all birds, a prothonotary warbler decided to make that his home and for a few years I got to wake up to a warbler's song every morning! Being able to see a summers worth of watering turn into a birds home definitely made me not only want to protect and preserve nature even more, but it showed me that I could actually make a lasting impact if I worked at it. The newest environmental challenge that I've taken up is that I am starting to deal with and document an infestation of the kudzu vine, which is an extremely invasive species of plant that creates monoculture ecosystems that can't support native species. I am also a part of our school's Environmental Club, which cleans up trash and encourages native species to live on the campus. One of the reasons that I love to take science is so I can learn more about the natural world around me and what can be done to protect it. So far, I don't know what I want to be when I grow up, but I definitely want it to be involved with the sciences and making the world a better place!