Student Life

Student of the Month


Oklahoma native named Cowley's December Student of Month


December 2002

Andrew WalkerIn all likelihood, Andrew Walker has a choice. He can work toward his lifelong goal of playing Major League Baseball, or he can become an artist. Not many 19-year-olds have those kinds of options.

Walker, a sophomore computer graphic arts major at Cowley County Community College, recently was named December’s Student of the Month.

The son of Brenda and Walter Christensen is a graduate of Prague (Okla.) High School. At Cowley, he is a member of Phi Theta Kappa and Campus Christian Fellowship. And he’s a starting right-handed pitcher on the Tiger baseball team, the biggest influence in his choice of colleges.

"I had the letter of intent (to Pratt Community College) on the table ready to sign," Walker said. "But I said ‘mom, this doesn’t feel right.’ She said to give Cowley another call." At Cowley, Walker has fit nicely into an academic and athletic program. He was surprised to receive his latest award. "It’s a good surprise in that people think of me that way," he said. "Cowley has been nothing but a blessing. I don’t think I would have gotten drafted, and I don’t think I would be going to Alabama" had he gone elsewhere.

He also was named Cowley’s Student Athlete of the Month for November. Walker compiled an 8-0 record on the mound as a freshman, helping the Tigers reach the NJCAA World Series for the fourth time in six seasons. He also batted .410 and was drafted in the 20th round of the June 8 amateur baseball draft. He was the 601st pick out of 1,500 players nationwide.

On Nov. 15, Walker took a major step in his career by signing with the University of Alabama, where he plans to major in business and minor in art. He’s pegged as one of the starting pitchers for the Crimson Tide in 2004. Walker, whose fastball tops out at 93 miles per hour, was born in Long Beach, Calif., the son of a career Air Force man. He moved around a lot as a child, living in Florida, the Philippines, and four different places in California before settling in Oklahoma in 1995. He’s been reared by his mother and stepfather, and has shared his home with three brothers and two sisters. Walker said moving around a lot has helped him
become more personable. "It’s helped me because I’m more of a people person," said Walker, whose grandfather Marvin Glenn lives in Prague. "I had to make new friends all of the time."

The only thing Walker ever has dreamed about is playing Major League Baseball. Considering the number of former Cowley players who have worked their way to the big leagues, Walker’s chances are as good as any. He developed another pitch during fall baseball, logged several shutout innings, and said he couldn’t wait for February, when the Tigers play their first game of the season. "I think we’re going to be twice the team we were last year," Walker said. "It’s the mentality of all the players on the team. Every guy you talk to wants to win the national championship. It’s really a special thing to see everyone has the same goal in mind. We’re solid at every position."

No doubt Walker, nicknamed "Ace" for his passion for Jim Carrey’s character in "Ace Ventura: Pet Detective," will be looked at to be a leader. He said he’s changed a lot since high school. "Especially in my baseball game," Walker said. "I’ve really grown up a lot and become more mature. In high school, not to bag on myself, but I was annoying. Now, I feel like I can talk to people with more ease, and I’m more relaxed when I’m around people. With baseball, I think there’s stuff you learn and experience you get playing in college, talking with coaches and other players. And I’ve really become more independent."

Walker knows it will take a lot of hard work to reach the Major Leagues. It’s a combination of lots of things, but it’s also being in the right place at the right time.

"Major League Baseball is my only goal," he said. "It’s really going to take keeping my priorities in line. Whenever I start getting my priorities out of line is when things start to go bad for me. But when I put God, family, and baseball in that order, things go right. That’s pretty much how it went all spring. It will take my continued work ethic, and it will take a lot of faith. I think I’ll get the chance. Every minor leaguer gets the chance at some point."

If for some reason baseball doesn’t work out beyond the University of Alabama, Walker most certainly would have a shot at becoming a professional artist. Five of his oil pastel and colored pencil drawings of tigers are on display in The Jungle inside the Nelson Student Center. His talent as an artist began as a child.

"My mom tells me the story that with me it was baseball in the daytime and drawing at nighttime," Walker said. "She had to force me to go to bed because I was always drawing. (Teenage Mutant) Ninja Turtles was my main thing. I think a lot of my artistic ability came from practicing. Baseball, too, is working at it. In my way of thinking, God gives you initial talent, but your work ethic and how much you want to work at it takes you to the next level. And that’s what God wants you to do."

In seventh grade, Walker did a watercolor painting of former National Football League quarterback Troy Aikman, which got him noticed as a budding artist.

"That was the first time I got a ‘wow, this kid’s good’ reaction," Walker said. "I liked the attention I got with that." His favorite medium is oil pastels. Walker said he likes the realism of the finished product. He loves drawing portraits of baseball players, and dreams of one day producing his own line of baseball cards. Walker, who turns 20 in April, said a student of the month is "someone you would want to introduce a college recruit to and be the example for Cowley College. Not that they have to have the best grades or play a sport, but they should be an all-around good person." That’s Walker, who’s always looked up to Walter.

"My dad came into a relationship with a girl who had four kids already," Walker said. "He stepped in and didn’t miss a beat. That showed courage and bravery. He has to work at night, 12-hour days. He’s supported six kids all by himself. He has showed me what a man’s supposed to be."