By: Chris Long
The gaming academy is full of many inspiring teachers, but back when the academy started it consisted of only three. They were Mr. Bullock, Mr. Delgado, and Mr. Peedin. While Mr. Peedin is no longer teaching at Heritage, we were able to catch up with Mr. Bullock and Mr. Delgado, two of the three “founding fathers” of the gaming academy.
To start, the Academy’s founder, Mr. Bullock, graduated from NC State with a degree in education thus beginning his career as a middle school teacher. He taught middle school for about ten years until he began to feel that he was out growing his students. “One of the things that I started to feel was, ‘Wow, I’m 29 and it’s a brand new year but my kids are still 11, 12, and 13,’” stated Bullock. “Then the next year I’m 30, but my kids are still 11, 12 and 13.” At that time he decided that he wanted to move up and teach high school. Dr. Savage –who had hired him when he was principal at Wakefield High School– heard that Mr. Bullock was interested in teaching high school and immediately jumped on the opportunity to hire him at Heritage. He then was hired and became the head of the new Gaming Academy, adding his perspective and experience to the academy. What makes this academy different than other academies around the county, he says, is that he, unlike most other academies, makes sure to teach every class the first time before handing it off to other teachers. That way, he can tailor the class to the needs of the students in the academy and set the standards for future teachers to teach the class adequately.
Mr. Bullock does not only interact with his students during the school day, he is also the advisor of Heritage Records, an after school club. He says he started the club because he wanted to combine teaching students how to go into business and his passion of rapping. He says that the founding of the Heritage Records club led to the creation of a few other gaming academy businesses, including Alpha Pack, Bison Software, and the newly founded Heritage Graphic Design Club.
The other “founding father” of the gaming academy that remains at Heritage is Mr. Delgado. When asked how he got into teaching he said that he wasn’t terribly interested in teaching when he was in college, but when he heard about the gaming academy at Heritage he jumped at the opportunity. “I have been building video games since high school,” said Delgado, “When I went to college, I got a degree in applied engineering and minored in creative writing. When I was looking for jobs, Heritage High School was just starting the Gaming Academy, and they were looking for teachers.” He said that after Mr. Perry and Mr. Bullock interviewed him and explained to him what they were expecting, he decided that Heritage was the place for him. “It sounded like what I wanted to do, so I jumped at the opportunity to come here,” said Delgado.
Ask any student who has had Mr. Delgado as a teacher, and they will tell you that it is not a normal teacher-student relationship. When asking Delgado what makes him different than other teachers, he said it plainly: “Honestly, I just keep things real. I don’t sugarcoat anything. I’m not going to lie to my kids. If it sucks, it sucks, do it better. So there are a lot of opportunities for failure and a lot of opportunities to get better.” He also doesn’t stick to a the guidelines like many teachers do. “If anyone comes to me and says I don’t think I want to do this, but I have an idea of something I would like to do,” said Delgado “as long as it meets the standards, and goes along with what I’m trying to teach them, it’s perfectly fine with me.”
Now, in its fourth year, the Heritage High School Gaming Academy is flourishing, and it’s largely due to these two men who have poured so much of their time and talent into the program.