At a Friday afternoon assembly, Belding High School students rumored Justin Bieber would be on stage, or that their principal would announce their new mascot. They quickly learned a state lawmaker came to help honor all teachers, including two of their own.
Two Belding High School educators were surprised with recognition Friday at the state and national levels. Dan Scholtens, anatomy and biology teacher and coach of 33 years with BHS, earned a statewide Special Tribute signed by Governor Snyder for his public service. His former student, Rep. Thomas Albert (R) – Belding, presented a humbled Scholtens the award on stage.
“To get this kind of recognition from a former student, it means the world quite honestly,” said Scholtens. “It’s incredibly humbling and a little overwhelming to be honest. I love my job and I love the students.
Then moments later, Heidi Wilker, athletic trainer of 19 years with BHS, learned on stage that Training and Conditioning Magazine recently named her the Top 5 Most Valuable Athletic Trainers nationwide. Wilker is also the district Director of Health Services for Belding Public Schools, and is a licensed physical therapist.
“It’s hard to think out of the country top five,” said Wilker. “If you’ve worked with an athlete through an extended injury and rehab process and you see them go out and play again, it’s just, it’s awesome.”
Beforehand, students and staff gathered in the auditorium waiting to learn this news. Then Albert took the stage to address the importance of educators and teacher appreciation.
Albert recalled when he was a student at BHS and shared moments he says he won’t forget after having Scholtens’ class: “He inspired me to want to be in the room to learn, and that is the essence of an excellent teacher. He was passionate and he was enthusiastic. That was exactly the type of teacher he was, and he was funny.”
As said by their students, families and staff, both Scholtens and Wilker are committed to changing students’ lives, and are unforgettable. Thank you to you, and all teachers continuing to make a difference.