Chad Scholten Brings APES alive for Students


Maddie Yob, Staff Writer

For AP Environmental teacher Chad Scholten, the environment is not something that leaves his mind when he enters and exits the building here at FHC. Helping the environment is something that he lives and then gets to teach in his “life style class” that is called AP environmental science.

Scholten went to Allendale High School and continued his education at Hope College majoring in Biology and Chemistry with the intention of going pre med.

According to Scholten, he had no intention of being a teacher but after being a lab assistant for a human anatomy class, he decided he liked the “teaching aspect” of the job and that he would go to grad school for the research/teaching aspect.

It wasn’t until after he graduated from college and was a camp counselor the summer going into his junior year that the thought of teaching full time really became apparent. That is when he went to Grand Valley and got his teaching certification.

Scholten has been teaching in Forest Hills since 1997. He first started at the middle school where he taught Challenge Science. After 9 years at the Middle school, Scholten moved up to the high school where he taught biology. Throughout the years at FHC, he has taught just about every science class at FHC including Honors Biology, Foundation of Science, Chemistry, AP Environmental, and Human Anatomy and Physiology.

After teaching many classes, Scholten settled into teaching AP Environmental Science (APES).

“I just love it because it’s so much like a life style class,”Scholten said. “You can take so much of what you learn in the classroom and use it outside.”

This year, Scholten is not the only one teaching APES. New science teacher, Joseph Spadafore, has taken over a class of APES this year.

Mr. Scholten has been such an incredible help to me during my first year as an AP Environmental teacher,” Spadafore said. “He has had the class for many years and knows the content inside and out.”

According to Spadafore, he often observes Scholten during first hour and models his classes similar to his. He also adds that he is always willing to go over assignments and labs and is always eager to help when needed.

Students around FHC know Scholten’s teaching style as a laid-back and informative, but fun style. Spadafore comments that he always has great insight when it comes to events and discussions within the science department. His contributions are always well thought out, and he is always looking for ways to use technology to give his students innovative and exciting new lessons.

“Mr.Scholten is a very laid back but interactive teacher, he really likes to involve his students,” said Ssenior Sam Plouff. “He’s really actually concerned about like grades and their actual learning. He just wants people to get involved and he is really passionate about what he does.”

Plouff’s favorite memory of APES was when she and her fellow classmates when down to the pond and looked for different types of organisms.

Spadafore also has a similar favorite memory saying that he really enjoyed the day when Scholten took his students outside to calculate the value of lumber near FHC and he joined.

“Students were so excited to try something new that they normally wouldn’t have the opportunity to do in other classes,” Spadafore said.  “And watching Mr. Scholten teach students how to identify each tree was really fun to watch.”

According to Scholten, going outside is one of his favorite things about APES but he also states that he wishes he could do more. During college, Scholten wanted to go into ecology and still loves it to this day.

“It’s so applicable to so many things that are happening now,” he said. “I love how it’s always changing and there is always something new so you have to stay current on it.”

The environment is not the only thing changing for Scholten; his students are also changing. But unlike some environmental changes, these changes are allowing students to be successful in life.

“It’s so rewarding when I go to graduation because that is our goal and when people come back and visit,” Scholten said. “They tell me that it helped me when they were in college. It really just makes the whole thing worthwhile. Those times when students say thanks a lot are the best times.”