Caroline Jia, Junior Editor-in-Chief

A reserved, yet humorous authority in the classroom, retiring English teacher John Gundrum has contributed his immense knowledge and charming presence to Appleton North since 1997, two years after its opening. Growing up on a small farm with eleven brothers and a sister, Gundrum describes himself as “just a farmboy at heart.” A devoted educator, Gundrum began his teaching career in Milwaukee after graduating from Cardinal Stritch College and attaining a masters degree in education in Oshkosh. When he began teaching at North, he worked in the special education department for several years and eventually switched to the English department where he taught freshmen and junior English classes. More recently, he has taught exclusively juniors in American Literature. When asked about his favorite memories at North, Gundrum reminisces about the many laughs he shared with his colleagues. However, he remarks, it is the memories made in his classroom with the nearly 3,000 students he’s had over the years that he will miss the most. In fact, he adds that his favorite part of teaching is “the fulfillment that you get when you work with students and watch them grow and be successful.” Over the years, Gundrum’s experience in teaching has also taught him important lessons about his students. He elucidates, “Sometimes students can surprise you and every student has the ability to be successful even if they don’t come across that way initially. There’s ways of working with students and connecting with them to help them realize they can be successful.” These among many other wise words demonstrate the commitment and dedication Gundrum has put into his students throughout his time at North. As he contemplates about his future in retirement, Gundrum confesses he doesn’t think the reality of being retired will set in until when it comes time that he would usually return to work. He remarks, “It will be a strange feeling after being in the routine of summers off and school from September to June,” adding pensively that “it’s the only lifestyle I’ve known since I started kindergarten.” In his retirement, Gundrum plans to take advantage of his newfound freedom to do more of the things he enjoys, including volunteering and possibly working a few hours a week to keep himself occupied. As he closes this chapter of his life at Appleton North, Gundrum leaves a legacy of humor, care, and fond memories to the students and staff with whom he built meaningful connections.