Technology education teachers reflect on people who impacted their careers

Alumni Petersen and Schroedl reconnect after 50 years
Abbey Goers | October 8, 2020

Lynn Petersen and Fred Schroedl met in Jefferson High School’s metal shop more than 50 years ago. Petersen was a first-year industrial arts teacher. Working with outdated equipment, he sought to improve his students’ learning experience.

A year later, with the support of school administration and financial aid, Petersen stepped into Jefferson’s industrial arts building addition, with new and refurbished equipment. Schroedl and other students spent their free time helping Petersen set up the new shop.

“I remember hoping their participation and involvement would give them a sense of ownership and pride,” Petersen said. “I know I felt a great deal of pride in the students.”

Petersen graduated from UW-Stout in 1967 in industrial arts education, now technology education. After four years at Jefferson, he pursued a career in industry. But before he moved on, Petersen instilled a passion for teaching in Schroedl

Technology education alumni Lynn Peterson and Fred Schroedl, winter 2019.
Peterson and Schroedl, winter 2019. / Fred Schroedl

Schroedl planned to enter the Navy. So, when Petersen asked him if he’d thought of being a teacher, his answer was no. It never entered his mind. But Schroedl reconsidered, knowing Petersen genuinely cared about his future.

“While I didn’t know a thing about being a teacher, the idea became more appealing in my discussions with Mr. Petersen,” Schroedl said.

Schroedl forged ahead. He graduated from UW-Stout in 1973 and earned his master’s in 1978. He devoted 45 years to educating students and supporting other teachers.

“Teaching was my passion. Working with students as they prepared for future careers took me back to my high school days and Mr. Petersen, a phenomenal teacher who cared for his students,” Schroedl said.

During his 50-year high school reunion, Schroedl thought about the man who led him to his true vocation. He asked UW-Stout’s Alumni Association to help him reconnect. Petersen and Schroedl were able to meet last winter in Stevens Point to catch up on careers and family life.

“I greatly appreciate Fred’s effort to reconnect,” Petersen said. “I can only try to imagine how many lives Fred influenced during his impressive career in teaching.”

Petersen attended high school in Dixon, Ill.. Like Schroedl, he was unsure of his future. But his metal shop teacher, UW-Stout alumnus Russell Hayes, encouraged him to attend his alma mater. Hayes received his bachelor’s in 1943 and master’s in 1953.

“That was the little push I needed,” Petersen said. “A number of years back, I went to see Mr. Hayes and was able to thank him for the impact he had on my life. After visiting with Fred, I am especially thankful that I was able to reconnect with Mr. Hayes.”


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