Alumnus Dr. Richard Chapleau shares his Granada experiences from 1972

In a time before Granada became a Charter, 1972 alumnus Dr. Richard Chapleau had a meaningful student experience that would further impact his life for years to come. Father to science teacher Jeannette Chipps, Dr. Chapleau explains the impact Granada has had on his life. 

What is your favorite memory of high school?

“I think Sports Night dances in the gym after football games, then going to Shakeys for pizza. And of course my high school prom at Busch Gardens. My worst memory is the 1971 earthquake when the school shut down for a month!”

Who was your favorite teacher or staff member? Why?

“I had some great teachers. Lucky me. Mrs. Hovaten for Advanced Comp taught me how to write. Mr. Holodnick for English Lit taught me how to look for deeper meanings.”

Did you go to college? Where? What did you study?

“I received my bachelor’s degree from CSUN in molecular biology. Then I went to Chapman University for a masters in Education, Curriculum and Instruction. Finally I received my doctorate from UCLA in Education.”

Did you end up in the career you initially wanted?

“Low motivation made me a drifter. I always loved science, but I hated school. After my bachelor’s, I had many dull jobs and was quite miserable. I accidentally had a chance to teach night school, and that changed my life. I discovered I was meant to teach. That’s when I finally got motivated in life. I went back to college as an adult with a family. And I had an amazing career. I was named California Teacher of the Year and met President Clinton in the Oval Office. So many paths opened to me once I found my calling and worked as hard as I could to make my dreams come true. Now, I’m a retired teacher, a husband for forty years, a father of three, and a grandfather of eight. I am a very lucky man.”

How have the skills (academic or social) that you learned in high school helped you as an adult?

“Cross Country taught me about never giving up. Mr. Godfrey, our coach, demanded our best. But he was so good at respecting each one of us, no matter how good we were. I was a below-average runner, but I stayed all three years. He said to me once, after I kept going through an injury, ‘Chapleau, you got guts.’ I never forgot that. As an adult, I try very hard to respect people where they are on the path of life. As a teacher, I commended the student who earned their first C on a test after multiple D’s or F’s. Cross Country taught me to respect everyone I can. I sometimes forget that, but I still aspire to find the hidden jewel in everyone.”

Author: Plaid Press

Granada Hills Charter High School newspaper