"The Shoe" GICC's Howard Schumann
His wall is not adorned with plaques, or trophies, or photos with celebrities. You can search high and low for dozens of articles on his accomplishments and come up woefully, and shamefully short.
It is all there, in bold print, but almost transparent to the naked eye. How can this be? A gentleman who has done so much for so many, yet so much info is out of reach if you do not know this man.
The man who walks in rare air and has walked with ghostly kings and queens in the dark hallways of GICC during the late evening hours and on weekends. The common man cannot grasp it. But if you know this prince of a man known to many as “The Shoe”, you know of whom I speak.
Howard Schumann announced his retirement from his Assistant Principal/Activities Director post at Grand Island Central Catholic high school a while back. When the Mighty Shoe steps aside, he will have given 45 years of his life to GICC.
What most of us simply do not realize is what piece of that 45 years has been spent inside the walls and on the outside grounds of his beloved Central Catholic high school.
I tell you this. They don’t make ‘em like Howard Schuman anymore.
It’s easy to trace the success of a great high school activities director, especially at a parochial school. All the usual signs normally exist. Graduate of the school they now serve. Former top notch athlete there. Now a great husband and father. Current or former well respected coach at that institution. You know…”former golden boy comes back to lead his school.”
Here’s a news flash.
Howard is not a GICC graduate. He is a graduate of rival Northwest high school. He competed against the Crusaders on a regular basis in the late ‘60’s. Howard is also a lifelong bachelor.
Mind boggling? Not so much. And if you know this man’s childhood past, the picture will become much clearer. That’s what makes this one-in-a-million, prince of a man’s life serving GICC and it’s students, so much more special.
Born to parents with a strong German/Lutheran heritage, Howard Schumann was raised by a father and mother who lived through the Great Depression during the Dirty 30’s. They worked for every single thing they ever had and worked hard.
Much like myself, Howard was brought up by parents who held you accountable for everything, everyday, growing up.
There were only two rules back then. You were right or you were punished. And most parents from that magical 1950’s era were consistent. There were no days when those rules were more lenient, nor was there a time when the rules were twice as tough. The rules of life were always consistent and Howard understood, reaped the benefits and passed it on so many lives at GICC over his 45 years at the school.
Following high school, Howard earned his Bachelor of Science degree from UNL in 1972. The very next year he began his illustrious career teaching science at Central Catholic.
It took only two years for Howard to be named Assistant Principal at the school in 1975 and took only two more years to be named Activities Director there, a position he has held since 1977.
In 1976, Howard earned his Master of Science degree followed by an Education Specialist degree in 1982.
Oh yes, “The Shoe” was also a coach, and a fine one. In 1980, Coach Schumann took his 21-1 GICC girls basketball team to the State Tournament. His Crusader gals made it to the semis before being defeated by a terrific Howells team, a squad filled with big, tough German girls. Wouldn’t you know it.
In all my years of wide musical travels and involvement in high school sports, I have never met a man the likes of Howard Schumann. So positive and good-natured, unwavered by the occasional tough situations that sometime come with the rigors of being an Activities Director.
The Shoe has never been concerned about the long hours that come with the job. In fact, many think he sleeps on that famous couch in his office. I have lived across the fence from GICC and rarely is the time I do not his vehicle there. Day or night, it seems Howard Schumann is always there.
To so many of us, Howard Schumann Is Grand Island Central Catholic high school. There seems to have never been a time the model Crusader has not been present. It’s just been in recent times Howard has not arrived at school before anyone else, but also know he closes the place down…...always.
And in addition to all the lives Howard Schumann has touched at GICC and all the visiting schools he’s treated like an honored guests, he was the loving caretaker of his aging parents in the not so distant past, who without his constant care, would have perished much earlier in life.
There are a handful of people in my life choose as heroes, but Howard Schumann is at the top of that list. A man whose sincere friendship is unwavering. I never question his decisions. They are always as good as gold. A man of his word, The Shoe himself stands for everything that is good in life. Everything that is Central Catholic. A man who does not relish confrontations, yet meets them head on with strength and authority.
A man who literally bleeds GICC Blue.
So very soon, the Howard Schumann era at GICC “officially” comes to close. The Shoe will turn the reins over to a good man, Dick Ross, who has served under his leadership for a number of years and apparently has inherited his million dollar smile.
But The Shoe will not go away. Howard Schumann cannot abruptly cut ties with the school he helped build and mold into a highly respected institution of learning and extra-curricular activities excellence.
He will be around and we will all continue to have a connection with a true gentleman who is the ultimate blueprint of what an Activities Director should be.
And he will continue to walk through the Rare Air with those kings and queens we just never see, but know are there, and have been for Half a Century in the halls of GICC.
The Mighty Shoe.