Shop classes

The CFHS shop department has experienced some changes since the retirement of Mark Wolter.


Nathan Baszuro

The shop department is full of tools used for various classes.

During the pandemic, Cannon Falls High School lost a vital member of staff, shop teacher Mark Wolter, who retired from teaching in 2021. Due to his retirement, the High School has had to switch up its curriculum, specifically in the area of shop classes but also in some other areas.

Mark Wolter’s classes are now taught by both art teacher Brett Zimmerman and former sixth-grade physical science teacher Chris Sampson. Chris Sampson takes over most of the main classes previously taught by Mark Wolter, but his specialty class, Construction, has been taken over by Brett Zimmerman who usually works in the art department. Due to the need for him to teach a two-period long class Brett Zimmerman’s ability to teach art classes in his classroom has dwindled but only slightly.

Shop and Agriculture teacher Duane Pliscott believes that Mark Wolter’s retirement has not had a major impact on the class curriculum. This is because of the lesson plans Mark Wolter diligently created over his many hard-working years as a teacher. Mr. Pliscott also said “Wolter was so good they wouldn’t want to change perfection,” showing Mr. Wolter’s never-ending dedication to teaching. It was this lesson planning that likely allowed him to teach so many classes that the administration had to provide two teachers to cover the absence of one.

Frequent student of shop classes and aspiring carpenter Thorfin Lundell stated that “Sampson and Zimmerman are doing a great job in Wolt’s absence.” He had also noticed small changes to the way shop classes were run, specifically that the shop had to be sectioned off to allow for multiple teachers. When asked why he thought Mr. Wolter was so good at teaching so many classes he said that he believed it was a “mixture of experience and a love of the craft” that kept Mark Wolter teaching for so many years.

After years of teaching, Mark Wolter has had a profound impact on thousands of students from decade to decade. Many of his students became the carpenters and mechanics of today and many more that aspire to get there. It is only because of the diligence and dedication of Mr. Wolter that the shop classes can still be as successful as they were before his retirement. Even if his spot is one that can only be filled by two individuals. The hole left by his retirement is immense and much more vast than most would think, but the high school is well on its journey of healing and will learn more every year about how much Mark Wolter did for the school and its students. Due to his large contribution to the shop department, he will likely be remembered as one of the greatest teachers Cannon Falls High School has ever seen.