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.”