CCHS’ Collum to pursue career in game design

Published 3:12 pm Monday, May 21, 2018

By J.R. TIDWELL / Editor

One chapter in the life of Chilton County High School senior Clayton Collum is now coming to an end.

His days of walking the halls at CCHS will soon be behind him. The young man will now focus on chasing his dream of becoming a video game designer.

Collum participated in the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) program at LeCroy Career Technical Center.

“I have been part of the STEM program out there for the past three years,” he said. “That program has really showed me a lot about the field I really want to go into. That is computer science. Jason Sosa out there has been the most helpful to me in that part. He showed me not only the things you can learn from books, but also things you can learn hands on.”

Collum said he joined the STEM program after learning that course was offered at LCTC during a tour of the facility.

“In those courses you got 3D modeling and game design experience,” he said. “I’ve always wanted to do game design. It really stuck with me, because I really love video games. It showed me the path I want to take. I am going to major in game design.”

The STEM program was moved from LeCroy to CCHS during Collum’s tenure at the school, which ultimately allowed the young man a new opportunity.

“They wanted to rebrand [the STEM program] and give it a new name,” he said. “So they came up with Tiger Robotics. That got a lot of people interested to try it. They had heard of STEM, but they didn’t know robotics was part of that STEM course. It covers engineering, electrical work and physics.

“We helped build the underwater robot. It was a lot of trial and error because it was the first thing we’d tackled like that. It took us a long time to plan on what it should look like and how it should operate. We used some 3D printed parts, and it took a long time through trial and error to get the design down.”

When Collum was not busy working on robots or playing drums for the youth group at First United Methodist Church in Clanton, he was participating in other clubs at CCHS.

“Pretty much any club you can think of, I’m in it,” he said. “I have been part of the SGA for the past four years, I have done almost every event they have asked of me, and even some that they didn’t. I just volunteered, because I love helping people. I am one of the officers for the Tigers Robotics team. I have gone to the ACE [Academic Challenge for Excellence] competition in Selma twice, both times for history.”

Collum will be attending Jacksonville State University to further his education.

“I have some family and friends that live up there [near Jacksonville State], and they talked so much about Jax State,” he said. “I love it. I toured it twice now. It’s a beautiful campus. It’s small, it offers similar course loads like you get at Auburn or Alabama, but it’s nowhere near as expensive. [My family] said I could stay with them to take care of housing.”

After earning his degree, Collum hopes to work for a video game company called Riot Games in California

“They made League of Legends,” he said. “I hope to work for them to understand why some of the characters are made the way they are, to help improve on some of the character designs and to help make better games overall.”

Collum said he would “definitely remember” all of the people who helped him get to where he is today.

“Pretty much every teacher I’ve had at the high school has helped me in any way they could,” he said. “I will definitely not forget all of the friends I made there. It has been a life-changing four years for me.”