The Student News Site of Fluvanna County High School

The Fluco Beat

The Student News Site of Fluvanna County High School

The Fluco Beat

The Student News Site of Fluvanna County High School

The Fluco Beat

Abigail Pappaconstantinou
Walter Chaney pointing to the notes for his Oceanography class

Chaney’s Love for Teaching

Fluvanna County High School has a variety of opportunities for students interested in science. For those interested in Chemistry, there is the opportunity to take college-level chemistry lectures and complete challenging labs. For those interested in Biology, Earth Science, or Physics, students get the chance to delve deep into their chosen science through hands-on experiments. For those who are more interested in the environment, FCHS’s offerings include Oceanography and Environmental Science.

If a student is interested in the ocean or the environment, Walter Chaney is one teacher whose class you may find yourself in. Chaney has been teaching for 33 years, including stints at St. Brendan High School in Miami, Florida, Albemarle High School, and Louisa High School.

“Fluvanna has the best students and administrators, I’m super proud to be a FLUCO,” said Chaney.

Chaney grew up playing baseball, going to national parks with his father all over the United States, and being surrounded by his brothers who were fishermen and SCUBA divers. His home as a child was open to curiosity, which made him grow to love the outdoors and oceanography. He collects shark teeth from Myrtle Beach and has multiple jars full of them at home.

“My parents took me to Myrtle Beach two to four times a year. The teeth are plentiful [there] because sharks lose tens of thousands of teeth in their lifetime,” said Chaney.

Chaney has been married for 35 years to his wife, Cherie, who is his best friend. They spend their free time sailing and catching fish on the Chesapeake Bay. His boat, “The American Rambler,” was built in 1990.

“She is a fixer upper and I give it TLC (tender loving care) all the time,” he said.

Chaney doesn’t just fix his boat, he is currently restoring an old Jeep that his brother bought from a farmer. When he got it, it was very rusty and had many mechanical issues. He hopes to be able to drive it around Fluvanna on hot summer days and to school.

“Hunner Morris, a student here at FCHS, helped me do the welding and body work. It’s a 1957 CJ 5 Willys and is going to be a fun ride in the near future,” said Chaney.

In school, Chaney said he likes seeing students interact with each other in the hallways. He also appreciates it when students take time out of their day to say “Hi” to him. A simple “Hey Chaney,” from a student in the hallway makes him smile throughout the entire day. He also likes to hear that students are enjoying his class.  He said that when dealing with the difficulties of teaching, knowing he is making a difference and helping kids makes everything worth it for him.

Chaney did not originally plan to become a teacher. Discouraged by the low pay, he was contemplating other career paths while in college. That all changed when he worked as a lifeguard during the summer between his freshman and sophomore years of college. While teaching an early morning swim class, he met a kid named Javon who was terrified to swim in the deep end. However, on the fourth day of Chaney’s class, Javon successfully swam to the deep end. This made Chaney incredibly happy and encouraged him to switch his career plan to teaching.

“The best part was he was with his mom at the local mall,” said Chaney. “He saw me and was pulling his mom to meet me. He was saying, ‘this is the guy that taught me to swim.’ [That] was my turning point to become a teacher. I knew at that moment I could make a difference for a lot of people.”

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