Rob Walker, a La Porte High School agriculture science teacher, grew up in Hebron where he attended Hebron High School. He continued his education at Ball State University in Muncie, where he studied natural resources and environmental management. Walker currently lives in La Porte, with his wife, Jennifer, and three sons, Collin, Ben, and Ryne.
Before he started working as a science teacher at La Porte High School, he taught at both Westville High School and Michigan City High School, and was also a seasonal national park ranger at the Indiana Dunes.
“I was stationed at the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore in the interpretation division, where I interpreted cultural and natural history,” he said. “I would work at Chellberg Farm and at the Douglas Center for Environmental Education where I would do talks and hikes on cultural and natural history.”
There were even times when he was a national park ranger that he would be flown out west to fight forest fires.
“When I fought forest fires, I was transported for about three-week time periods to fight fires out west,” he explained. “I’ve been to Idaho and Montana to fight fires.”
Walker has been at La Porte High School for about three years now where he is an agriculture science teacher. He is well known for having fun educational projects and activities for students to participate in during class time.
“In my agriculture class, we are currently doing agroponics, but now we are changing over and putting in an ag-mechanics program so we can start welding in class,” he said.
In addition to agricultural science, Walker also teaches a course in animal science.
“The animal science class is a pre-veterinary science class. A lot of students that are going to school to be veterinarians will take this course,” he said. “This class is usually the most popular one I teach because a lot of people love animals.”
In this course, he puts together a special project highlighting dog breeds, which is his absolute favorite part of the class to teach.
“For one month we will talk about different dog breeds, from their health problems to what their uses are, and what class they are in,” he explained. “We will also bring in the dogs and see the different types. We have had police dogs and rescue dogs come in, and that definitely appeals to a lot of students.”
In addition to Walker’s agricultural and animal science courses, he also teaches a natural resources class.
“The natural resources course has a lot to do with the environment. We will do forestry and soil judging in this class, and this is another popular class as many people are interested in the environment.”
Some other fun and educational science projects that the students enjoy in his science courses are making maple syrup and root beer. He makes how own root beer at home, then brings it in class to teach and share it with the students. It is this way of bringing how own passions to the classroom, to help the students find theirs, that motivates Walker each day.
“In my classes, we do a lot of hands-on learning, and a lot of times I will see students who may struggle in other classes finally find their niche and get excited about learning,” he said. “A lot of times, this will help students determine what career they want to purse and that is the most appealing part about teaching; being able to help these young adults find what they want to do with their lives.”
Outside of teaching in the classroom, he is active with coaching a few of the high school’s extracurricular activities. Walker serves as the assistant track coach and the head basketball coach for the girl’s team for La Porte High School.
“I have coached 20 seasons now, and I really enjoy coaching both basketball and track,” he said.
Some hobbies that Walker enjoys doing in his free time is going to different national parks across the country.
“I have been to a lot of national parks from my time as a seasonal national park ranger, so that is something that I really enjoy doing. This summer I am planning on hiking part of the Appalachian Trail with my three sons and friend,” he said.