BC: A special thank you to all the former and current students and their families who contributed photos or letters to this memory book, as well as Sara Marquardt and her students who scanned in many pictures from past ONHS yearbooks. Book created by Barbara Benish and edited by Janell Duwell of the Oshkosh North Music Parents Association. | This book, a gift from the ONHS Music Parents Association, is dedicated to Randall Zentner on his retirement from Oshkosh North High School. Enjoy your free time!
FC: Thanks for the Memories 1988-2011
1: Mr. Zentner: It's hard to put into words what you have meant to every student you taught, let alone to me personally. I had that challenge when we did your 20th anniversary and it took me almost a month to get my speech together. I still don't think I did justice to what, as students, we have learned from you over the years. Nor does it do justice to what, as friends, we have learned from you. I remember wrestling with the idea of not going back into choir my junior year. When I was in 8th grade, my teacher told me that I didn't have the talent or the heart to be in choir. My freshman and sophomore years, I coasted by thanks to the help of Sandra on one side and Kelly on the other. You changed all that, however, the first day of my junior year. Not only did you make me a stronger singer by moving me around the room to sing next to another part, but you also made me stand up for myself over and over again. I don't think there is another person on Earth who could have gotten me to dance with "Eugene" during the dance scene in "Grease" or could have gotten me to strip off my clothes and dance during "Guys and Dolls." I would not have done that for any other teacher because there was no other teacher who I respected as much as you. Whenever someone asks me about high school, my best memories are from lunch hour my senior year. You signed Leslie, Jeff and me out of study hall and those lunch hours were the best times of my life. You "allowed" us to organize the music room, you "allowed" us to help Jeff learn his lines (only to have him forget an entire page and a half during the musical), and you "allowed" us to leave campus as long as we didn't get caught. You gave us the chance to express ourselves (like sporks, paper plates and napkins in your front yard) and you gave us the room to "spread our wings" when you took us to Florida. You made us stand up for each other (like when you forgot to mention my name during senior awards. I thought Peter was going to physically hurt you.) We would not be the people we are today without the lessons we learned in your class ... and for that I know I will always be extremely grateful. I wish you all the best in your retirement. Remember that you will always be my teacher and friend. Love, Cindy (Hable) McLaughlin Class of 1990
2: I can remember when the parts were posted for "Meet Me in St. Louis." You had given me lead parts on opposite nights. After marching into your office and asking how this is going to be possible, you calmly said to me, "I wouldn't have given you the parts if I didn't think you could do it." I can't tell you what that does to a young person's heart. It's amazing to have someone believe in you when you don't quite believe in yourself. Your words gave me the courage to take on the challenge and it was one of the best experiences of my life. Another time you sat down a group of us who deserved to be disciplined harshly for our actions, and along with handing out our punishment, you looked at each one of us and asked us what we had learned from this. You took the time to listen and after shedding a lot of tears, you said, "I know you have punished yourselves more than you deserve." You are a very forgiving man, and you made sure we learned from our mistakes and moved on. The lessons of hard work and dedication you taught us are the ones I have carried into all areas of my life. I am very grateful for being blessed with such an amazing teacher and friend. Beyond high school, you always welcomed us home and called us your kids. I will be forever grateful for the love and passion you poured into your work because it has shaped each one of your "children." Randy, I wish you the best in your future. You can be proud that you poured so much of yourself into our lives and helped to shape the women and men that we have become. You will always hold a special place in my heart. Thank you for all you taught me and for believing in a young woman before she knew how to believe in herself. Best wishes and God Bless. Deborah (Pistohl) Portman, Class of 1993 Married with two children, I am an operations manager at a Watertown, Wis. dental clinic and am active in my church choir.
3: You do know how many kids you influenced. Don't you? Well done and thank you. My fondest memories of high school are goofing off with the music department kids and singing. Deanne Delabrue Bean Class of 1993 Albuquerque, NM
4: Congratulations Mr. Zentner!!! I don't know of anyone who deserves the joys of retirement more than you. You'll never know how much I appreciated you, as a teacher 16 years ago, and today, as a friend. Thank you for always having the right "dad speech" at the right time. Gretchen Pommerening Class of 1995 Loan Processor, Citizens First Credit Union, Oshkosh
5: Mr. Zentner: Thank you for creating a "home base" in the choir room for me and countless others at North. Choir, madrigals and the musicals were such a huge part of my high school experience — and although I am seldom nostalgic about my awkward teenage years, I have many happy memories of times spent with you and my friends in choir. Congratulations on your retirement, and I wish you the best as your embark on your next adventure. Megan McGee, Class of 1996 Direct Supply, Milwaukee. Also founder of Ex Fabula, a non-profit group that organizes storytelling events; and member of broadminded, an all-female sketch comedy group
6: I will always be grateful for the times that were spent in your classroom, whether for choir class or study hall. You have always been my favorite! Congratulations on your retirement! You will definitely be missed by many. Thank you so much for all that you've done and continue to do for your students, past and present. Jennifer Zemlo Novotny Class of 1996 Pierce Manufacturing, Oshkosh (Pictured above with her two sons) | I will never forget the time we went to Florida in 1995. Our second day there, we were at Cocoa Beach and I walked to the bathroom and got a sliver in my foot. Your parents were with us and nobody could get it out. So the Fire Department came to the beach and the firefighters had all their gear on. My friend Shelby Rae came with me in a cab to a clinic down the road and the entire class met us there. The firefighters said not to go to the emergency room since there would be an hour wait. You were right there with me, making sure I was OK. You treated me like I was your own kid. You called my parents and took care of the bill until we got back home and my parents were able to reimburse you. You made my parents know that I was being cared for in your hands. Kristi Kolaske Class of 1997 US Bank, Ops Center in Tax Servicing
7: Mr. Zentner, I am saddened to hear of your retirement. I hope you enjoy all the time you will have to yourself and with your family in the future. One of my fondest memories is a rather silly one. We were doing "Crazy for You" and one of the props needed was an old-fashioned vacuum cleaner.I brought in one from home and you had to synthesize the sound for it for the show. During rehearsal one day, I asked if I could take it home because we needed to use it and you said, "That old thing still works?" My mom laughed so hard at that. Thank you again for a lot of memories. Jodi Matuszczak-McGrath Class of 1997 Stay-at-home mom of an 8-year-old son and part-time employee for the Oshkosh Area School District as a lunchroom/recess supervisor | If there is one word I can think of to describe Mr. Zentner, it would be uninhibited. I have thought of him often over the years, and have always admired his ability to be spontaneous, and often times silly. Combine that with his incredible ability to sing and play the piano, and you get hilarious and touching memory after memory. Now that I am working with middle and high school students, I have such a great respect for this quality in Mr. Z. He didn't let our lack of enthusiasm (especially in 1st period choir) or participation get in the way of truly enjoying what he did (or at least he didn't let us see that!) He came in day after day ready to work and ready to bring us to places we never dreamed we could go. All the while dancing, goofing around, making faces and showing so clearly his love for his work, music and us. I wish I could be there for the final concert. I always figured one of these years I'd get back to Wisconsin at Christmas and be there for the Halleluiah Chorus. It never occurred to me that Mr. Z would eventually retire! We love you, Mr. Z@ Thank you for being one of those people in my life that I will NEVER forget. You truly are the best! Abby Richards, Class of 1997 Minister to Youth and Children, Episcopal Church of Reconciliation, San Antonio, Texas
8: Z, Congratulations on your retirement. I wish you the very best! Most of my fondest memories from high school have to do with chorus, musicals and madrigals. None of that could have been possible without YOU! You are absolutely one of the most memorable people I have had the opportunity to know. Your influence, support, guidance and leadership have helped many young adults who had the pleasure of knowing you. I always look back on those precious years and smile, and I would love to go back and relive them again. Every time I hear the "Star Spangled Banner," I think of you. Thank you for being an outstanding teacher and role model for myself and so many other students. North High School will never be the same without you. Congratulations on your retirement. I hope you enjoy every moment! Erin (LeRoy) Klump Class of 1998 Corporate Trainer at Target and mother to a 10-month-old son, Scottsdale, Arizona
9: Congratulations, Mr. Z! You were a great mentor, and you always believed in us even when we didn't. I remember the time you were considering me for singing the alto part for the "Star Spangled Banner" my senior year and I forgot all the words! Thank you for all of your hard work and devotion to your students. I hope you have a wonderful retirement. Jamie Feldner Pearson Class of 2000 Microbiologist, Milwaukeea | Dear Mr. Zentner, Congratulations on your retirement! Your dedication and efforts made all the difference in the world to me and all your students over the years. Now that I am a teacher myself I can have a little more understanding of all the work you put into your classes. You truly went above and beyond at all of the early morning practices, late-night practices and Friday nights at the football games. I want you to know how influential you were in my life. Being part of choir, musicals and madrigals was the reason I went to school. It gave me a sense of self worth that I did not get anywhere else besides when I was singing. When I think back to all my favorite memories from high school they include your class. Today I am teaching Family and Consumer Sciences at Shawano Community Middle School. I am married (he played in his high school band and can't sing but I don't hold that against him) and we have a 4-year-old son and a 9-month-old daughter. I still use the lessons you taught me daily. You taught about music, life and how to eat a piece of humble pie every now and then, which I needed to do. Thank you for always taking the extra time with me and all of your students who needed you. I strive to be a teacher with as big of heart and as much dedication as you! The Lord Bless and Keep You. Emily (Millard) Schwartz Class of 2000
10: Over the four years I spent as your student, I have so many wonderful memories. I was pushed out of my comfort zone, allowed to follow some of my dreams, given several needed boosts of confidence, and knocked down a few pegs when necessary. I could always count on you to tell me the truth and support the dreams I had for myself. I guess I owe you the biggest thank you for providing the music department the opportunity to go to Hawaii my senior year. A friend and I were trying to switch tickets for the long plane ride to get a seat next to each other. We were not successful, but I did end up sitting next to Noah Adrians. Having only one mutual friend, we didn't know each other at all — but it was a long plane ride! As you know, 2 1/2 years later we got married. Life for me now means living in Brown Deer and working on the east side of Milwaukee where I am a teacher in a 3- and 4- year-old preschool classroom. Noah works at the VA Hospital and just graduated with his PhD in psychology. We are the proud parents to three little boys — Eden, 4; Isaac, 2 1/2; and Levi, 6 months. Thank you for giving me the time and space to explore my love of music, dance and theater. But most of all, thank you for letting me live out parts of my dreams for myself so that I may pass on that passion and drive to my children. Enjoy your retirement. You have earned every moment of it! Amber (Kempf) Adrians Class of 2000
12: Thanks Mr. Zentner for some of my best memories at ONHS. Between madrigals and the musicals, I wouldn't trade my high school choir years for anything. By empowering us as students to take on leadership roles, you primed me to be a student leader in the Women's Glee Club at the University of Michigan, actor and costumer in musicals in grad school at the University of Illinois, and now I'm an active alto in Rackham Symphony Choir and community theater in Metro Detroit. As much fun as I'm having singing and dancing on stage again, nothing has come close to singing "As Long as He Needs Me" on the stage at the Grand Opera House my senior year. Thanks for everything and enjoy your retirement. You deserve it after all those years of being at rehearsal at 6:30 a.m. with a bunch of ornery teenagers, too tired to learn their parts to "Lirum, Lirum." Kathleen Duffy Class of 2002 Assistant Planner and Marketing Coordinator, LSL Planning, Inc., Royal Oak, Mich.
15: Z, Growing up, my favorite day of the school year was going to the student performances of the Oshkosh North musicals to see my sisters. I sat on the edge of the seat, taking in every detail of the shows. I would memorize the madrigal songs and beg my sisters to teach me their choir songs. North Choirs inspired me as a young musician, and all I wanted to do was be in the high school choir. Finally, I got to be a part of the early morning madrigal practices, the late night musical rehearsals, and the countless memories. Choir was my "home" at North, and you know I spent all of my free time in the music department. From accompanying students to conducting in my last North concert I thrived under your leadership, Mr. Zentner. You always expected us to step up and be in command of our own learning. You trusted us to get it all done, and through this we learned so much. But beyond all of this, you encouraged me to be a choir teacher. Even as early as my freshman year, I remember you finding ways for me to be a music leader. I went to college extremely prepared because I had so much experience leading madrigals, sectionals, warm-ups, etc. I'll never forget your conversations where you'd say, "They won't teach this to you in college, but it's something you'll have to know." And now here I am, finishing my second year of teaching choir. And as your colleague, you have been so encouraging and supportive. As stressful and hard as our job can be, I would never dream of doing anything else. I know I'm supposed to do this, just as you too were called to teach. I would not be where I am without your guidance and support. You pushed me to go into this wonderful field of being a music teacher, and I love every minute of it. Congratulations on your retirement and your great career. I can never thank you enough for inspiring, encouraging and pushing me to teach. Bridget Duffy Class of 2005 Choral Director, Lourdes High School and St. John Neumann Middle School, Oshkosh
16: Mr. Zentner, You have taught me so much over the years, not just about choir, but also about being an effective teacher and hard-working individual. Not only did you give me the opportunity to push myself in your class as a timid high schooler, but you also allowed me the chance to observe a wonderful teacher in action as an education student. I appreciate all you have done for me and for the many other students whose lives you have touched throughout your teaching career. Thank you for being not only an educator, but also a kick in the pants and an inspiration to all of your students. Mindy M. Wara Class of 2005 English & Theater Educator
18: Mr. Zentner, Other than a year in the Oshkosh Youth Choir, I had never had a choral experience until entering my first day in A Capella as a freshman at Oshkosh North. From day one, you pulled me into the world of voal music through your infectious passion for the content. I could not get enough of this program. From four years of madrigals to four musicals ("Carousel," "Seven Brides for Seven Brothers," "Brigadoon" and "South Pacific") to four years of solo and ensemble, North's choral music program became the center of my high school life. In two short weeks I will graduate from St. Olaf College with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Vocal Music Education. I still can not get enough of the art of choral music. Thank you, Mr. Zentner, for being my role model at a time when I really needed one. Without your influence, I would not be diving into the career that I am about to. You lit a fire underneath what has now become my passion and vocation. God bless you with a happy retirement! Despite not showing up at North every morning, there still will be daylight in the swamp! Take care. Erin Duwell Class of 2007
19: Mr. Zentner, I just want to say how thankful I am for the four years I got to spend in your choirs. Choir was the one place where I felt like I fit in, and I always loved coming to class. Almost all of my favorite memories from high school came from madrigals, one of the musicals, or a choir trip of some sort. When you cast me as Nellie in "South Pacific," it was the first time I ever felt that I was a good singer, and I cannot thank you enough for giving me that experience. Your class was also one of the only places I ever got to be a leader. Most other places, I would sit back and let other people take the driver's seat, but you saw the leadership and teaching potential in me. Even though I had always thought about being a teacher before, it wasn't until my junior or senior year that I saw it becoming a real possibility, and this was mostly due to the experiences I had in choir. Thank you so much for believing in me, especially when I didn't believe in myself. I can't believe you're actually retiring, and it's hard to imagine what Oshkosh North will be like without you. Enjoy your retirement! Kelsey Tarbert Class of 2009 Attending Luther College for K-12 Music Education and K-6 Elementary Education | Dear Mr. Zentner, I can't believe you're retiring! You're retiring way too soon in my opinion. After all, now my sister will have to go to a school that is missing one of its best teachers. Right now she's only in orchestra, but then again, so was I for two years. I was hoping she'd play in the pit orchestra and fall in love with choir the way I did during "South Pacific." I think things would have been different without you there. I was so scared when I decided to join choir, but once I did, you made me feel comfortable. You didn't treat me any different than the other students who had been there longer. Thank you for giving me the chance to join in everything. I know we weren't perfect, but I hope my classmates and I made you smile every now and then. : ) Many of my favorite memories are from your class and I miss it so much. Madrigals and the musicals are experiences I will never forget. You, Mr. Zentner, are a teacher I will never forget! Caroline Mares Class of 2009 Attending UW-Madison majoring in English and hopes to write books someday
20: Mr. Zentner, Thank you for introducing me to a class that has brought me together with such wonderful people, both older and younger than me, who I now consider my best friends. I especially enjoyed those magical choir moments when we produced just the right combination of sounds. You really know how to direct a choir and wow the audience. Enjoy retirement! Jane Sitter Class of 2011 Will be attending the University of Minnesota - Twin Cities in Fall 2012, majoring in Theater Arts, English Literature and Spanish | Mr. Zentner, Thanks for all the time and hard work you have put in over your years at Oshkosh North. You truly have made a difference in each of your students' lives, pushing us to become punctual and to achieve our best. Thanks for supporting me in all of my endeavors throughout high school — most of all in music. You have provided me with so many opportunities in music and I am grateful I had you as a teacher and mentor. Sarah Benish Class of 2011 Will be attending UW-Madison in Fall 2012, majoring in Biology and minoring in Spanish | Mr. Zennter, Thank you for putting up with all of us for all those years! I know we can be very irritating at times, but you somehow survived and managed to turn us into a great choir. Also, thank you for helping us become better singers. We would probably still have harsh vowels and bad tones if you hadn't taken the time to help us improve. I hope you enjoy your retirement. Feel free to drop by our class once in a while. Elise Duwell Class of 2012
21: Back at the Grand Opera House After a one-year hiatus because the Grand Opera House was being repaired, Oshkosh North High School students returned to the opera house to perform "Kiss Me Kate" in February 2011. Above, the cast poses after one of the rehearsals. Below, the seniors smile for the camera.