Alvarez, Whitaker to retire this year


Genevieve Haartman, Writer

The end of the year is quickly rolling in and that sadly means that some teachers and staff members are moving on to the next chapters of their lives. A couple of these people include door 7 monitor Sheila Alvarez and study hall supervisor Robert Whittaker who will move on to retirement.

After 33 years at North, Alvarez decided this was a good time to retire.

I worked through the pandemic. The world is changing,” Alvarez said.

Her post at door 7 began after the Columbine school shooting in 1999. Before then, she worked in a few other capacities, including escorting students around the school and calling home on unexcused students.

Alvarez currently does not have plans to pursue employment or anything major after June 2.

“I am sure I will keep busy but not sure what I will be doing.  One thing for sure I will spend more time with my friends and family.”

Whitaker began working at North 8 and a half years ago when former principal Jacqueline Schleicher and former assistant principal Tony Bird hired him. 

“My job at Oshkosh North actually is a post-retirement job for me.  I worked in Mental Health for the State of Wisconsin for nearly 30 years before retiring from that job.  As a result, I think I am ready for a little slower pace to my days,” Whitaker said.

Now that he’ll retire for good, he only has one priority.

“My wife says my highest priority will be her!  And I agree!” 

As one might imagine, both Alvarez and Whitaker have an abundance of memories from their time at Oshkosh North.

Alvarez said, “I will miss the friends I have made both students and staff. I will miss feeling like being a part of a huge family who have shared many of my life experiences.  We have been through it all. The good and the bad.”

Whitaker echoed the same emotions and said he appreciates what working with students has taught him.

I believe the young people of Oshkosh North have imparted me with a better view of the world.  A view that most people most my age would be lucky to have because of the limitless optimism it helped reinstall in me,” he said.

As they leave the doors of Oshkosh North, they hope to impart words of wisdom to the current students. Alvarez preached respect and care for each other. Whitaker urged students to prioritize personal values and family.

“Develop a core set of values and always stay true to those values.  Also, I know most students don’t understand it now but take care of your families!. They will be your most important support and likely to be your best friends forever!” he said.

In the fall, things will be forever different at Oshkosh North. A new voice will greet students inside door 7, and a new face will welcome them to study hall in the cafeteria. The influence of these two individuals, though, will have—and has already by prior students—been taken into the world outside of our walls.