In a world where science and technology are constantly changing, and where people frequently look to various forms of digital media for entertainment, one local student is looking into the future of the gaming industry as his pathway to success.
Raymond Carter, son of Ida Carter of Yazoo City, and younger brother of De'Andrea Ollie, is currently a senior at Yazoo City High School.
While he is not currently involved in many school clubs or programs, Carter has participated in the Technology Student Association, as a way to explore his love of computer science.
As a self-proclaimed "introvert", Carter spends a great deal of his time in the comfort of his home where he enjoys reading, playing games on various platforms, and working on his studies.
Over the last four years, Carter's dedication to academics has landed him on the High School Honor Roll a few times, and was also awarded an academic trophy his freshman year.
Carter takes pride in knowing that he was successful on the ACT test this year as well.
"My overall score was a 20, but my highest composite score was a 28 in Reading," he said.
Carter's success in the area of reading should come as no surprise.
He can often be found reading three or four informative articles per day from well known websites and other online publications, which often expand his knowledge and view on the world around him.
"I like to read things that I find interesting or relate to me as a person," he said. "Some of these things have to do with everyday life, but others could help you in the areas of business or science and technology, things like that. Like for example one of the articles I read told you some facts about the human brain."
Other articles that Carter has read in the past include titles such as "10 things people can do to be more successful", "Being Different Beats being Better", "This is what your Overactive Brain Needs", and "What time feels like when you are improvising."
"I just find it interesting to learn about new things," he said. "And in certain situations reading articles can give me a new perspective, or a new way at looking at things."
Aside from reading, Carter said that his gaming habit also contributes to his learning because video game systems can stimulate high performing areas of the brain.
"Gaming platforms can help you increase your timing, hand-eye coordination, strategies, and be aware of similar patterns in certain situations," he said. "They help you know what to expect or make predictions, and they can help you with decision making in general. Games can also help teach you how to think better, improve your memory, and keep calm in a bad situation."
Because of his great interest in gaming, Carter has decided to pursue a future career in Computer Science and Technology, and hopes to one day either create original video games on his own, or work for a gaming design or software company.
"When I was a kid, I would play games a lot, and I have been playing them pretty much my whole life," he said. "So I figured that I might as well study this field and take a job that I know I will enjoy."
In the past, Carter has taken computer classes at Yazoo City High School to learn more, but since then he also takes extra time to research articles and videos online that will educate him even more in this highly specified area.
"I have learned through some of the articles that I have read, that there are different engines that can be used online, and different coding languages that are used in these different engines that can be used to build certain kinds of software for different things," he said. "I have also learned that computer programming and coding can be a time-consuming process and you often have to work with an entire team to get a project done."
Despite all of the extra work involved with a career in computer science, Carter continues to draw out his plans for his future in the industry.
"I plan to start off at Hinds Community College, and then I will transfer to a university after that," he said. "Technology is in a building phase, so I think it is going to be pretty impactful. I have also heard plenty of people saying that the future of gaming will involve the whole user into the program where you actually become part of it, so this industry is only going to grow bigger."
Some of the universities that Carter has looked into include DigiPen Institute of Technology in Redmond, Washington, which partners with Nintendo Software programs to educate and train future computer programmers, and Full Sail University in Florida, which trains students in the art of game design.
"Everyone that I have talked to about this career path for my future have been supporting me and they all believe that I can do it, so I am going to go for it," he said.
Carter added that despite the recent changes at Yazoo City High School this year, he feels more confident and secure in his decisions, thanks to the support of his teachers.
"We have new teachers, like Mr. Thakur our math teacher, who seem to be going a bit further than the ones we have had before," he said. "These teachers are helping us,and they make me feel like I can really do this and go into computer programming. I feel like the school is getting better and that the future will be better for the other students coming up behind me."
Going forward, Carter said he hopes to have his own laptop soon to start working on his own coding and programming projects, but he also hopes that Yazoo City High School can bring in more things that will reach the interests of other students like himself.
"For students like me that have interests in this field of computer programming and coding, I think they should bring in a coding class of some sort, or one where you can actually work hands-on with computers to modify the hardware and fix them, things like that," he said.
Carter said that he will continue his daily pursuit of learning more about computer science and technology, and hopes that one day he can create a gaming world of his own, that he can share with those who have supported him along the way.