Clark’s history class ends this year

Rachael Robeson, Writer

This year Erick Clark has made the decision to retire from teaching, and he will be missed by our staff and students. 

His captivating but laid-back style of teaching has had a positive impact on many students over the course of his career. 

“He is so passionate about teaching, and he was always cheerful and full of energy,” says senior Mya Marquart.

He’s been teaching a total of 29 years, working for the state of Wisconsin at Winnebago Mental Health for 6 years before coming to North to teach social studies for 23 years, as well as coach baseball for 15 years. 

He graduated from Oshkosh North in 1983 and went to UW-Oshkosh for his undergraduate degree. During this time he worked for the Oshkosh Recreation Department, where he met former Oshkosh North teacher Dave Morrison, who was also a part of the baseball program. Morrison encouraged Clark to explore teaching, and in 2005 he received his Master’s degree from Lakeland College.

Clark always loves history and does his best to pass on this passion to his students. 

“I love history,” he says. “I like the connection [between] history and current events. That’s what it’s really about, seeing how history is reflective of the world today.”

His teaching reflects that passion.

“The difference between a good class and a great class is when you can tell a teacher has an enthusiasm for their subject,” says senior Max Yanacek. “Mr. Clark is the perfect example of that kind of teacher.” 

Although students are his top priority, the best thing about working at Oshkosh North for Clark is the work environment created by other staff members. 

“We have a really good social studies department and a lot of good teachers in North in general.” 

His fellow colleagues agree. 

Steve Danza, head of the Social Studies department, says the thing he’ll miss most about Clark is “eating together at lunch, the fun conversations, and Clark’s sense of humor.” 

Another teacher, Chis Hansen, recalls Clark’s amazing storytelling ability. 

“My favorite memories with him are listening to his stories. He’s a great storyteller and that is a great attribute to have as a history teacher,” Hansen says.

Both Hansen and Danza agree that his witty remarks and quick thinking always made conversations exponentially better, no matter the subject.

Clark might be retiring from teaching, but he has many plans for the years to come. Although he probably won’t substitute right away, he plans to stay involved with the school by working with Scott Morrison (a current and nearly retired North teacher) and the Drivers Ed program doing behind the wheel. He wants to spend more time with his granddaughter as well as some other teachers who retired prior to this year and is excited to have his own schedule. 

Besides a long legacy of his teaching, Clark would like to give students advice as they finish high school.

“High school is preparation for life, whether you’re going to work right away, to school, or to the military … North is a great place to do that if as a student you have the intention of doing well. The opportunity is here every single day, and you have to take advantage of it.” 

While Clark will no longer teach history here at Oshkosh North, his legacy will last in the walls, the halls, and the hearts of his students forever.