Editor’s note: Your Dream is Our Dream: Celebrating Student Success brings you conversations with students about their dreams and the educators who ignite and inspire them. In a new series from School News Network, students from all levels of education share in their own words and pictures how learning connects them to achieving their goals and exploring their ambitions. An initiative of Kent ISD, Your Dream is Our Dream showcases student success and how teaching and learning help make dreams come true.
Grandville — Today’s Your Dream story takes us to Grandville High School, where we meet senior Ethan Chalker.
What do you hope to do as a career or occupation? Ethan wants to become a business professional in the world of golf, working with a club, retailer, trainer or some combination of golf-related endeavors. A creative at heart who enjoys working with others, he also wants to build a side business in photography, including drone photography.
Why is this your dream? Ethan has been golfing since he was 5, and currently works at Maple Hill Golf.
“There’s a lot of aspects of golf that I like: the whole course layout and its design, like finding where there’s a good place for dunes; the technology side of designing clubs and choosing the type of clubs you’re using … I even like the clothing aspect — golf apparel has changed dramatically since at least the 50s, from khaki pants to now half the people are playing with joggers (on).
“I like interacting with people, and (when working at a golf club) you get to grow a relationship with more people when they’re playing, compared to the people that are in sales. It’s more of a social job … I’m just kind of trying to help people enjoy what they’re doing out there on the course.”
How are your teachers and classes helping you achieve your dream? “I’ve taken a lot of classes that helped me boost what I want to do, starting with freshman year. … Thinking about going into the golf business, I’ve taken a ton of business classes, like, three of them just this year. One of my favorite teachers is Mr. (John) Schwalm, and he and those classes are helping with my understanding of how to work with people. We read the book, ‘How to Win Friends and Influence People,’ and I took a lot from that.”
Ethan also credits his experience on the yearbook staff, with yearbook adviser Susan Peterson: “Yearbook taught me how to work with people a little better, because we had to go out and get ads for the yearbook, going to all sorts of businesses and working around COVID and their budgets, like if they could afford an ad.”
On the creative side, Ethan is currently taking a new independent study course on drones at the high school. Working with Instructional Technology Coach Chris Groenhout, Ethan is learning how to fly the drones and the intricacies around drone photography. He’s already an accomplished photographer on the ground, but hopes being certified to fly drones might give him an edge in the golf world, where drone photography is being used more and more to market courses and clubs.
“(The independent study) is a cool new way of getting a new perspective on learning, especially in high school. I know in college there’s going to be a lot more opportunities like this, but it’s cool to have the option in high school to do something that’s more hands-on and more about what I want to do.”