Chemistry + Mr. Wolf =  + reaction.

 
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Mr. Charles Wolf

Lutheran North Chemistry Teacher 44 years

After forty-four years of beakers, labs, explosions, exploding beakers, beginning classes with prayer, and endless questions about the periodic table, Mr. Charles Wolf, Lutheran North’s chemistry teacher, will retire at the conclusion of the 2018 – 2019 school year.

Chemistry + Mr. Wolf =  + reaction.  That’s why it’s not surprising to see him in the hallways wearing a lab coat and safety goggles. It’s not surprising to see Mr. Wolf helping a student with formulas and lab journals.  It’s also not surprising to see his initials as part of the periodic table.  C is the symbol for carbon and is known for its unique ability to form strongly bonded chains. Mr. Wolf is also known for his unique ability to help students form strong bonds of knowledge and interest in chemistry. W is the symbol for tungsten, a steel valued for its use in tools and machinery. For the past forty-four years, Mr. Wolf has been known for helping students use knowledge as tools to better understand God’s wonderfully created universe.

Mr. Wolf was born in Oak Park, Illinois and grew up in Port Hope, Michigan. He attended St. John Lutheran School, a one-room school house, where his father was his 5th , 6th, 7th and 8th grade teacher. It was during those formative years that Mr. Wolf discovered his passion for math and science.  While attending a small high school with limited classes, he took correspondence courses to learn trigonometry and algebra.  It was this limited curriculum and the experience of teaching himself that helped shape Mr. Wolf’s passion for teaching.

 
I want to make sure my students had a better education than I received in high school. I always wanted to make sure they would be ready.
— Mr. Wolf
 

During his junior year of high school, Mr. Wolf considered being a teacher, but noted the work load and initially opted to pursue a chemical engineering degree. After two years at Michigan Technological University, he transferred to Concordia College in Ann Arbor to pursue a degree in teaching. Because Concordia Ann Arbor was not an accredited four-year school, he then transferred to Concordia River Forest, now Concordia Chicago.

It was on the second day of school, that Mr. Wolf met his wife Grace.  God has blessed them with forty-four years of marriage, three children, and five grandchildren.

After graduating from Concordia River Forest, Mr. Wolf accepted a call to teach at Martin Luther High School in Maspeth, New York.  At MLHS Mr. Wolf taught general science, algebra and chemistry and coached both boys and girls junior varsity basketball teams. While in New York, Mr. Wolf earned a Masters degree in chemistry and science at St. John’s University.

In the fall of 1981, Mr. Wolf began teaching at Lutheran North. Since then he has taught a variety of science and chemistry classes. As the school grew, the need for a dedicated chemistry teacher was apparent and Mr. Wolf was the solution.  Outside the classroom Mr. Wolf has also been involved various co-curricular activities. He has coached track, cross country and Science Olympiad.

Mr. Wolf has many cherished memories that span his teaching career.

I remember when a young man was sitting on a lab counter and was watching a chemical process. His eyes opened wide, his jaw dropped, and he said, ‘That’s why we do science.’ That’s what I love about teaching.

He also loves hearing about former students currently in science and engineering vocations.

As a teacher I’ve always wanted to engage students in the learning process. I want them to think with their minds and hands on the concepts of chemistry. Teaching is like doing an experiment. There are always basic principles you can apply, but there are many ways to get the job done. With each approach you can accomplish different things.

Other teaching highlights have been authoring and using his own textbook, Chemistry: Applied and Descriptive, and teaching chemistry at Macomb Community College. Mr. Wolf will continue teaching chemistry at Macomb Community College and looks forward to traveling and seeing more of God’s handiwork especially the western United States.

Mr. Wolf looks to Ephesians 2:10 for guidance and joy for the blessed vocation of a Lutheran teacher. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.”

The word workmanship is from the Greek word poeima which means something made and in this context it means made by God himself.

Thank you, Mr. Wolf, for all the labs, beakers, experiments and for your dedication to Lutheran education. Most importantly thank you for helping students to see God’s poeima in the classroom, and most importantly, in Christ our redeemer.

 
John Brandt