GISH theater director to retire after 29 years with the district

Gregory Ulmer will retire as theater director at Grand Island Senior High at the end of the...
Gregory Ulmer will retire as theater director at Grand Island Senior High at the end of the school year.(Grand Island Public Schools)
Published: Mar. 18, 2021 at 5:00 PM CDT
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GRAND ISLAND, Neb. (KSNB) - Grand Island Senior High School Theater Director Gregory Ulmer is wrapping up his time with the district.

Ulmer was hired by Grand Island Public Schools in fall 1992 and will end his time with GIPS at the end of the school year with his retirement.

“I feel very honored and blessed to have been able to do all 29 years here,” Ulmer said. “Not everyone gets to start their career with a dream job and continue it, but I have. We have beautiful facilities at GISH that I’m proud of. Since I arrived, we basically renovated everything: lights, sound, stage, seats. It’s been an awesome experience to have worked with such great students. This community has been amazing in the way they’ve supported the program. I want to thank our parent organization and the boosters, who have been a huge help, and of course my wonderful peers.”

“Mr. Ulmer is simply an institution unto himself,” said GISH Executive Principal Jeff Gilbertson. “It’s difficult to imagine GISH without his presence and even harder to calculate the numerous lives he’s changed for the better. We wish him well and celebrate all that he’s accomplished for our school and district.”

“There was an English teacher during my second year who told me, ‘Ulmer, your kids make you look good.’ And they were right,” Ulmer said. “I want to thank this district for everything. If it’s going to help kids and benefit kids, we do it at GIPS. There’s not a lot of places that do it that way.”

Ulmer plans to enjoy retirement by spending as much time as he can with his grandchildren and on the golf course. He said he’s just a call away if anyone needs assistance. “I bleed purple,” Ulmer said. “I’m an Islander, through and through.”

The GISH theater department will put on a new kind of musical in April entitled ‘A Musical Showcase,’ which was co-written by three students in Ulmer’s advanced theater course.

“We’ve never done anything like this,” said Ulmer, who estimates this will be the 25th musical he’s overseen at GISH. “But it’s fantastic to see the creativity of the senior students, who wrote the entire production.”

Three students — Jackson Kissler, Emaline Bockoven, Abby Vajgrt — wrote the musical, which is built around some of the more memorable musical numbers of all time.

The show will run for three nights, from April 9-11. Shows on April 9 and April 10 will begin at 7:30 p.m. The show on Sunday, April 11, will be a 2 p.m. matinee.

Attendees will be required to wear masks and the theater will be kept at 75 percent capacity. There won’t be a presale for tickets; they’ll be issued on a first-come, first-served basis.

“We’d love to have you come out and see this show,” Ulmer said. “It’ll be a fantastic way to cap a wonderful career.”

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