Walter “Walt” White’s journey to becoming a chemistry teacher was an interesting one. When he was younger, he contributed to research that won the 1984 Nobel Prize in Chemistry. He then co-founded Gray Matter Technologies with Elliott Schwartz and Gretchen but sold his stake for $5,000 because he was uncomfortable dating the wealthier Gretchen.
The company grew without him, going on to be valued at over a billion dollars. Frustrated, Walt took up a job at a local high school but the pay was so low that he began working at the A1A Car Wash to make some extra bucks. His time at the high school was an interesting one but there are a few details about this time that are easy to miss.
The School’s Name
Walt’s school featured a lot early in the series, but it was never really mentioned by name. For the first couple of episodes, there were no obvious signs showing the name of the school either. However, during the impromptu assembly held by the school to discuss the Wayfarer plane crash, the school’s name could be seen on a wall as J. P. Wynne High School.
The real school used for filming was Rio Ranch high school in Albuquerque. It’s unclear why there were no signs or boards indicating the fake name of the school, as was the case with other locations, such as the Los Pollos Hermanos restaurant.
The Students’ Nickname For Walt
Given his impressive educational and career background, Walt’s chemistry knowledge was evident in the few classroom scenes that were shown. That’s despite the fact that there were a couple of things that didn’t make sense, including Walt asking the students to define chemistry, even though he had taught them a couple of times already.
However, Walt’s brain wasn’t the only thing the students found interesting. They were amused by his shoes too. According to Walter Jr., the students had nicknamed Walt “Mr. Wallabee” because he always wore weird shoes.
Number Of Employees
Only four of the school’s employees were named in the series. They were Walter White, Principal Carmen Molina, Janitor Hugo Archilleya and Joan Everman, whose name only appeared in a yearbook.
However, during the Wayfarer assembly, a total of 10 faculty members could be seen in the middle of the gymnasium ready to address students. Most of these staff/faculty members didn’t get to speak.
The Inspiration For The School Name
Fiction always borrows from real life. So, how did series creator Vince Gilligan come up with J. P. Wynne High School as the name of Walt’s school? Apparently, it was from his own school. The scriptwriter attended a school in Farmville, Virginia, named J.P. Wynne Campus School at Longwood University.
His mother was also a teacher at the school. Having grown up with a teacher, he figured it would be great to make the main character in his own TV show a teacher too.
Walter Junior’s Friend Was Recast
Louis, one of the students at J.P. Wayne was revealed as Walter Jr.’s close friend. Given how briefly he appeared, fans might not have noticed that the character was recast.
During his first two scenes, including the time he tried to buy alcohol with Walter Jr., the character was played by Kyle Swimmer. The actor only appeared in the season 1 episode “Gray Matter.” Later on, the character was portrayed by Caleb Jones. The latter actor’s appearances included scenes where he arrived at the White residence to take Walter Jr. to school and when he helped him set up a PayPal account.
On his first foray into the drug trade, Walt didn’t have the proper equipment to cook meth, so he stole some from the storage room located in the SciMatics building. The theft later came to light, with Hank even showing up to investigate the issue and the janitor, Hugo, was quickly singled out as the culprit.
Walt was very specific when naming the stolen items. According to him, the items were a 5,000-milliliter round-bottom boiling flask, a Kjeldahl-style recovery flask, two full-face respirators, a couple of CEP funnels and a thermometer holder.
Barry’s Unconventional Push For Better Grades
Barry isn’t a name that easily comes to the minds of fans whenever Breaking Bad characters are remembered. He was one of Walter White’s underachieving students who approached him, convincing him to let it slide. Walt was angered by the suggestion and even gave him a worse grade when he retook the test.
During the Wayfarer 515 crash assembly, Barry also grabbed the mic to speak. He tried to turn the whole situation to his advantage by claiming that many colleges give automatic A grades to students whose roommates die in disasters or die by suicide. By saying this, he was suggesting that he deserved an A too, but the principal quickly took the mic from him.
Principal Carmen Molina First Appeared At Walt’s 5oth Birthday Party
Carmen’s time in the series was limited too, but she had a few interesting scenes. Seeking revenge for Skyler cheating on him, Walt tried to kiss Carmen, but she rebuffed his advances and put him on indefinite leave. He never got back to teaching again after that awkward incident.
Fans might have missed the fact that Carmen first appeared in the pilot episode. She showed up for Walt’s 50th birthday celebration where it wasn’t mentioned that she was the school principal. She was then revealed to be the assistant principal before later being introduced as the principal, implying that she had been promoted.
Season 4 Was The Only One To Not Feature The School
The J.P. Wynne High School was featured heavily in the first two seasons, mostly because Walt was still an employee there. But in season 3, it only appeared twice, and in season 4, it didn’t appear at all.
The school was featured once again in the season 5 episode, “Granite State,” when Principal Carmen received a call from a woman posing as Marie Schrader. She was asking to speak to Walter Jr., so Carmen brought him to her office. Apparently, it was Walt on the phone. He wanted to discuss ideas on how Walter Jr. will get the money, but the teenager yelled obscenities at him and hung up instead.
Ben Was In Jesse’s Rehab Meeting
Ben is another name that isn’t too common with fans. He was the student in Walt’s chemistry class that asked him a question regarding the upcoming mid-term in season 1’s “Cat’s In The Bag…” Walt, who was thinking about Krazy-8 at the time, heard “murder” instead of “midterm.”
When Jesse attended the N.A. support group meeting in season 4’s “Problem Dog,” Ben was at the meeting. It was never stated why he was present, as this was four years since he had been in Walt’s class. At the meeting, Jesse confessed that he was only there to sell drugs to fellow addicts.