Regarding your story on Chris Bolhuis being named the AAPG Earth Science Teacher of the Year (February EXPLORER): Mr. Bolhuis was my geology teacher in 11th grade, and the class was always one that I looked forward to attending – partly because I enjoyed the material, but mostly because of the enthusiasm and energy that he always brought to the classroom. He would get fired up about every lesson he taught; so much so that we students would constantly tease him about his unceasing love of rocks.
His passion did not stop at the material, either. He was always weaving valuable life lessons into his lectures. For example, he told us never to build a house on clay, because it holds large amounts of water that is then unable to drain out and therefore ends up in one’s basement – a lesson he learned from experience.
He often encouraged us to not let learning stop in the classroom – advice he lived out through example. Despite now teaching at the same high school he attended as a student so many years before, Mr. Bolhuis has been to more amazing places in this country than most people would hope to visit in three lifetimes. I remember I would go to class early to gaze and ask to hear stories about the immense rock and mineral collection he houses in his classroom – most items of which he collected himself in the field.
Along with my time in class, I had the privilege of attending a geology and biology trip sponsored by my high school, which takes 23 students out west for three weeks in a school bus – on which Mr. Bolhuis was one of two instructors. We visited many of America’s National Parks to learn about their biology and geology.
Throughout the trip, I was able to grow closer to Mr. Bolhuis and learn that he was not only a passionate instructor, but also an outstanding mentor and someone I could look up to. Since that geology class and the summer program, Mr. Bolhuis has played a big part in influencing my life-long goals and values as well as my decision to attend college at the United States Air Force Academy and subsequently pursue a career in the military.
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