Even as he travels the globe, visits with celebrities and works on popular films, Happy Walters said he never forgets home.
Walters, a 1984 North Side High School graduate, is the chief operating officer of Relativity Media and CEO of Relativity Sports.
This weekend, he’ll return to his Fort Wayne home to visit with students during the Fort Wayne Community Schools School Choice Fair.
FWCS will host the annual fair from 1 to 4 p.m. Saturday at Northrop High School. The fair is designed to give families the opportunity to learn more about the educational options available through FWCS.
It never fails that people like me from the Midwest who grew up the way I did are the most humble, Walters said during a telephone interview Thursday. Some of the closest friends I have are in Fort Wayne and from high school.
Walters, 45, left the Midwest after he graduated from the University of Michigan.
Someone had told him that making a living in the music and entertainment business was too difficult, but Walters was determined to prove he could do it.
I wasn’t a typical kid that wanted to be a police officer or firefighter or a pilot or something like that. I never wanted to be something specific – I just wanted to be successful, Walters said.
And successful he was.
In the past 20 years, he has been involved in movies such as The Big Lebowski and There’s Something about Mary.
He founded Immortal Records, working with artists such as Cypress Hill, House of Pain, Wu Tang Clan, Korn, Incubus and Fleetwood Mac.
He also represents athletes such as Amar’e Stoudemire, Iman Shumpert, Larry Fitzgerald, Ty Lawson, Corey Brewer, Greg Jennings, Maurice Harkless and Devin Hester, though his role as CEO of Relativity Sports.
As part of the School Choice Fair, Walters has invited 850 students to screen his new Relativity Media movie, Free Birds, on Saturday. The animated 3-D film stars Owen Wilson, Woody Harrelson and Amy Poehler and follows the story of two turkeys as they travel back in time to get turkey off the Thanksgiving menu.
Although Walters said there are benefits to private schools, he wouldn’t change his public school background.
If you work hard and want to succeed and learn, there are great teachers everywhere, he said.
Walters said he would encourage young students to stay in school, always give 110 percent, stay focused and be a sponge when it comes to obtaining an education.
I’d encourage (students) to keep looking, exploring and having an open mind and see what’s really going on in the world, he said. That and read, read, read.