Thank You for the Music, Ms. Holub

A+group+of+Ms.+Holub%E2%80%99s+students+came+together+to+honor+her+by+placing+cherished+mementos+and+pictures+in+a+trophy+case+outside+of+the+main+office.+

A group of Ms. Holub’s students came together to honor her by placing cherished mementos and pictures in a trophy case outside of the main office.

Family, friends, students, colleagues, and the community are mourning the loss of Sara Holub, a choir teacher at Preble High School. Sara was a loving daughter to David and Deborah Holub, a sister to Neil Holub, as well as an owner to her beloved fur baby, Annie. 

 

Sara was Green Bay Preble High School’s choir teacher for the last 6 years and directed several award-winning musicals at the school. She previously taught at Pulaski Middle School, and JR Gerritts Middle School in Kimberly. “Sara was a bright light to all who knew her and will be remembered for her strong faith, beautiful smile, and kind nature,” her obituary said. Sara passed away on Friday, March 26th due to natural causes at 40 years old.

 

Sara Holub attended Seymour High School. She was involved in choir, musical theater, band, forensics, basketball and National Honor Society. Holub graduated in the top ten of her class. She completed her undergraduate degree at Valparaiso University, with a double major in choral and instrumental music education. Sara got her master’s degree from Fielding Graduate University and completed her National board certification in music education. 

 

In 2017, Holub competed in two episodes of “Jeopardy!” during the Teachers Tournament. She was a lifelong “Jeopardy!” fan. She wore her blue Converse Chuck Taylor sneakers while on the show in honor of her students. Sara Holub won $10,000 for making it to the tournament’s semifinals as well as a $2,500 grant for her classroom which she used to buy new microphones for the school’s show choir. Holub was very intelligent and musically talented, but she was always humble and generous. 

Green Bay Preble High School choral director Sara Holub and "Jeopardy!" host Alex Trebek

(Picture from Green Bay Press-Gazette)

Sara Holub taught the following choir classes at Preble: Concert Choir, Advanced Women’s Choir, Mixed Choir and AP Music Theory for a time. She also directed 6 musicals at the high school including: Hello, Dolly!, Aida, Hairspray, Newsies, Mama Mia, and Now. Here. This. (virtually). She put so much time and effort into making each and every performance amazing. Her dedication and perseverance is something to remember. 

 

“Sara served on the board of directors for the Wisconsin Choral Directors Association and was voted Outstanding Young Choral Director for the State of Wisconsin. This year, Sara was named a teacher of distinction in the Golden Apple Award Program.” 

(Benita Mathew, Green Bay Press-Gazette, USA TODAY NETWORK – Wisconsin)

 

In this time of great loss, staff and students have spent time sharing stories, supporting each other, and reflecting on the wonderful life she lived. Below are some personal stories from Sara Holub’s students. 


Memories of Ms. Holub from current and former students:

She was a great mentor, a friend even, who taught me to embrace my differences and be unapologetically myself and believed in me even when I didn’t believe in myself.

Luke Dockum, Senior

 

Holub offered me a home in the music department. She allowed me to go to the choir room and be in a safe place. I considered the choir room to be my home away from home where I could be myself and escape from the stressful school day. I can’t thank her enough for all of the opportunities that she has given me. She inspired me to do so much and push beyond what I thought was possible for myself. I will continue my studies in theater and music because of her inspiration and I dedicate a lot of my work to her. I hope she is proud. 

Daphne Johnson, Alumni

 

When I was a freshman in high school, Ms. Holub was starting her journey at Preble at the same time. She would often say we were Preble freshmen together. That alone helped us to connect right away. I spent the most time with her out of any teacher I’ve had in my past. She was so welcoming. She put students’ needs before hers and she doubled as a therapist and support system for all of her students. Holub always had a smile, and she strived to bring out the best in all of us as performers but also as members of society. She taught me so much and I am who I am today because of her. I can’t express what she meant to me and all of her students. Her spirit and charisma will be carried on through me and all of her students. I’m so proud to be a part of her legacy and carry her memory with me. 

Kayla Gerondale, Alumni

 

I first met Ms. Holub this year, my sophomore year. I was interested in doing the school’s musical but wasn’t sure if there would be one due to the pandemic. From the kindness of her heart and the determination she had, Ms. Holub decided to help us pull off our first virtual musical, Now. Here. This. Despite all the difficulties of learning a musical virtually, Ms. Holub encouraged us to persevere. We held our practices through Zoom, where we could have live meetings. After a few weeks of practice, we were told to have our lines memorized to the best of our ability and not use our scripts. I knew I hadn’t practiced enough and when it came my turn to speak, I forgot all my lines and sat there blankly staring at my computer. I turned off my camera and audio and started crying because I was so embarrassed and disappointed in myself. Ms. Holub knew something was wrong. She sent me a private message and (in her exact words) she said, “You got this! It’s tough, but I believe in you! We all mess up lines the first time through- it’s not a big deal at all.” she later followed up saying “it’s important to power through- even when you get upset. Nobody is judging you! We love you!” I think that message sums up who Ms. Holub was. A selfless, compassionate, determined, generous, loving human being. That message was something I desperately needed to hear. She reminded me that I don’t need to be so hard on myself. Mistakes happen, life isn’t always easy but it’s important to preserve through the tough times. I’m reminding myself of that message every day. Ms. Holub was such a blessing and I’m grateful to have had her in my life.

Allison Younk, Sophomore

 

It has always been said that the music department feels like a big family, and after spending four years at Preble, I would agree. But the reason it has such a family dynamic is because of Ms. Holub. Ms. Holub was more than just someone who played the piano and taught us solfege. She was the person we could go to for a hug, or the person who would let us talk feely. She was the one who brought us laughs, and the one who knew exactly what to say. Her quirks were what we would look forward to every day. Not everyone can say that a classroom feels like a home, but because of Ms. Holub, music students can.

Elise Gerondale, Senior

 

A lot of us might remember Ms. Holub as someone who was prone to tears, whether it was opening night of the musical, the first day back in school since quarantine, or saying goodbye to the graduating class. One day, her eighth hour study hall gang filed into her office and began a serious conversation, resulting in a heart-felt story from Ms. Holub and, of course, tears. This may sound embarrassing, but in this moment of vulnerability, she left out one key thing – an apology. Many of us, especially women, use the “sorry” reflex or begin crying and immediately say, “I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to cry,” or we’re told we are being “overly emotional.” Instead, she was unapologetically herself and knew her emotions were valid, as was conveying them, and empowered her students to do the same. She gave us our 5, 10, 50 minutes in the crying chair, handed us our pass, and told us to feel our emotions and then keep going, because there’s a whole world out there waiting for us the moment we’re ready to go for it. No one feels happiness without pain, but if you sit in the pain for too long, you’ll miss all of the opportunities passing you by. Ms. Holub would say not to apologize for being upset or frustrated or scared, and instead to feel it -all of it- and then feel the best parts and remember those, because that is what makes life worth living. She was one of the best parts of many of our lives, and we will remember all of the incredible lessons she taught and memories she created along the way. 

Jenessa VanCalster, Junior

 

Ms. Holub has been such a massive inspiration in my life. She has taught me how to accept and embrace my true self without the fear of judgement from others. Before meeting her, I was very insecure but she helped me grow out of that and I will forever be grateful for everything she has done for me. I miss her, but I’m glad she was able to leave such an impactful legacy behind.

Emma Rustlie, Senior

 

Ms. Holub was an amazing person. She was a phenomenal teacher and also an incredible friend. She treated every one of us students as adults, and valued each of us as important individuals. Her dedication was astonishing and my self-confidence would not be where it is now without her influence. Her love of her students and her friends is an inspiration to me and I thank her for her joy in music and the impact she had on the people around her.

Samuel Robertson, Senior

 

One of Ms. Holub’s favorite scenes from Now. Here. This. was the story of two young women losing their grandmothers. One of my favorite lines from the scene is, “When you play Boggle, sometimes you are looking for bigger words to score more points. But you can also win by adding up a lot of little words.” Of course we all have iconic memories of Ms. Holub on opening nights or at banquets, but that doesn’t say hardly enough about who she truly was. She lives on in the small memories that seemed so insignificant that we almost forgot about them, but that pop up unexpectedly. She was a teacher who publicly congratulated you on every win and always sang happy birthday no matter how much it embarrassed you. She was a teacher who cried when she saw her students for the first time during covid. She was a teacher who waddled down the hallway with you in an attempt to carry heavy and pointy crates of music back to their homes. She was a teacher who ran around the show choir warm up room doing a fishy face. She was a teacher who made fun of the bad vowels used by the Hamilton touring cast. She was a teacher who cheered exuberantly while you attempted to protect a grand piano from rolling out of control down a ramp. She was a teacher who let me sit in the back of the Music Theory class when my teacher was out, and who still shuffled my dictation in with the Music Theory students’ as if we all couldn’t guess who got half of the notes wrong. She was a teacher who let me sight-sing carols at lunch because I was bored of practicing violin. She was the first teacher I would have gone to after experiencing a loss. I’m not sure that there’s a better way to express who she was than as someone who was unapologetically herself, and who would drop anything to give you a safe place to cry. It seems ironic that she can’t be here with everyone now as we grieve, but I know she’s somewhere reminding us that everything is fine.  

Samantha Hoefs, Junior

 

Ms. Holub gave so much of herself to make the Preble music department into what it is today. Even when practices would get tough, she would keep going so we could have outstanding performances. She was amazing at directing our musicals as well as our many choirs. I am so grateful that I was able to work with such a dedicated director for four years. One memory that has always stuck out to me was last year when she had come to help teach the ballad for Center Stage. Ms. Holub had been a director the year prior but had stepped down from the position. No matter how many sectionals had been held for the song, it was not coming together correctly. Ms. Holub did not have to help us with this ballad. It was not her responsibility nor her choice of song. Regardless of these factors, she came in for an hour during our practice and worked with us so that we could succeed at our competition that weekend. This was her own time that she had given to the group because she cared about us and wanted to see us succeed, even if it wasn’t in something that she was directing. I was so passionate about show choir and was so grateful for her direction. The ballad that weekend was astounding, no doubt, thanks to Ms. Holub’s generosity. So many of my memories from high school wouldn’t have been possible without the guidance and support of Ms. Holub. These memories from high school have shaped me into the person I am today, and I am so grateful that Ms. Holub made these things possible.  

Mariah Harris, Alumni

 

Pictured: Madeline Schultz (Grade 12) with Ms. Holub in 2018.

 

Pictured: Cayden Perkins (Grade 10) with Ms. Holub after “Mama Mia” performance in 2019.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Two of my personal favorite things Ms. Holub would say frequently were: “Onwards and upwards.” and, “Do whatever makes your heart happy.” These serve as great reminders.

 

Some information used comes from Benita Mathew, Green Bay Press- Gazette USA TODAY NETWORK – Wisconsin