Bryan Myles Walker, or Myles as he's known to his friends, is charting his own path thanks in part, to his grades and his love for science and technology.

Walker, a junior, is a student at the Oklahoma School of Science and Mathematics, in Oklahoma City.

He was part of a group of students selected this past summer, to enter the two-year high school in Oklahoma City as part of the Class of 2019.

More about OSSM

OSSM was created through legislative action by House Bill 1286 in 1983. It is designed to educate students "who show promise of exceptional academic development through a program of instruction and discovery that challenges them far beyond the traditional high school model."

The coursework is designed to provide a foundation for careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, the STEM fields. The maximum enrollment is 300 juniors and seniors each year.

Walker, the son of Bryan and Cindy Walker, first learned about OSSM during his prior to his freshman year of high school.

During the summer before his sophomore year, he attended an summer camp, which served as an introductory to the school's programs.

"I heard that it had more advanced classes," Walker said. "The summer camp gave me a picture of what it was like."

It was enough to convince Walker he wanted to attend the school. A public institution, tuition is free for Oklahoma students. Tuition is required for those who come from out of state or as overseas exchange students.

With help from several Grove teachers and administrators, including Jeanne Smith, Pam Chaney, Terri Guthridge and Bobby Kreutz, Walker set about applying for the school.

The application process involved five essays, including one his parents were required to complete, and an interview.

Initially 72 students made it through the process to become part of the Class of 2019. At least five have left since being accepted into the program.

As an OSSM student, Walker lives in Oklahoma City in a "controlled community" environment.

A cross between boarding school and spy school, Walker said every day "feels like summer camp," except the camp counselors are professors with PhDs.

Everyone who attends OSSM lives on campus. During the week, students are required to "check in" their cell phones, which Walker jokes helps them focus not only on their studies, but also in building and maintaining a community. 

Walker's days are split between classes, lab work and mandatory study halls. Dorm parents work with the students, and a team also help provide extracurricular classes in the evening after supper.

Everything is graded on an A, B, C or F level. Each semester is the equivalent of 21 college hours of classes.

"They don't do D's, because D's don't get degrees," Walker said with a laugh.

He said the atmosphere at the school promotes unity. 

"It's not who can get the best grade, but rather we all hope we survive," he said. "It's very scheduled. We always have to do something. But everyone wants to learn.

"Other high schools are known at the top, to tear you down. At OSSM, it's all about rising together. It's how we can learn to do better together."

This year Walker is taking ballroom dancing as his fine art credit, as well as German for his foreign language - because it "sounds aggressive."

He is also taking physics, java, American literature, and American history. He was also part of the rowing team during his first semester.

He's also learned time management - something else he said, is helped by not having his phone 24/7. 

"It helps us focus," Walker said, adding it also helps enforces social interaction, among students, faculty and staff.

Now in his second semester, Walker hopes the course work continues to challenge him to meet higher and higher expectations.

He said the experience of living in a dorm room is challenging at times. He jokes about learning to make ramen noodles using water from a keurig, and how to share a phone with the entire hallway.

The school isn't all work, as students are required to have "mandatory fun." A parents organization help provide non-school related outings or field trips to various places or events. 

Walker plans to pursue a degree in engineering, or possibly in the aerospace industry. Regardless, he knows his career path will include math and science.

"Going to school here has taught me, that if I don't understand something, I need to get help," Walker said. "If I get behind, ask a question, because someone will always help you."

While he misses the G.L.A.R.E. Frog robotics program, and other aspects of life in Grove, Walker believes he made the right choice for his education.

"They give you all the tools you need to succeed," Walker said.