Staff Shares ‘Rosie’ Memories

Memorial Service at CHS, 1-3 Tomorrow


Justin “Rosie” Rosenblad.

Long-time Centennial teacher and coach Justin Rosenblad passed last week after a year-long battle with cancer.  It seems that everyone knew “Rosie” and this event has been hard on many in the community, especially his family including his wife and four girls, and his parents.

Rosie’s service is tomorrow, 1-3 pm, in the CHS Auditorium. It is open to everyone.

Here are some fun memories that teachers submitted this week.  The Talon hopes for peace for everyone who is suffering.  Maybe these stories will bring a smile in this difficult time.

Rosie kept and amazing collection of DVDs. He had every cool Frontline episode. He also had them neatly organized so he could find a specific one readily. He was extremely generous with this resource. I asked him once if he had anything on youth in the prison system, and it was sitting on my desk in an hour. Awesome!

-Kasey Church

I’ll never forget the day he took one of his daughters on a field trip with the high school kids.  It was a late-start Wednesday and he was going to run her to day care after checking in (late, of course) to a PLC meeting.  He had totally forgotten it was Career Day and he did not have time to get his daughter to day care before his field trip bus left.  So, he loaded her up with a bunch of freshmen on a bus to Concordia.  No sweat; nothing ever bothered the guy…not even when the damn bus got rear-ended.   He just shrugged.  Classic Rosie.

-Jeff Stanek

I had Justin as a student in Physics.  Then he talked me into playing on his coed indoor soccer team (I was still playing soccer at the time).  We had a blast!  He was so mature for his age and knew what he wanted to do.

-Julie Hilsenteger

The last time I saw Justin, we were both in the copy room, using our hard-won Master’s degrees to  run xerox machines.  He commented to me abut the impending Supreme Court nominee, and the task of copying was suddenly transformed from drudgery to a lively talk about the political process and the impact on public education.  He always paid attention to what happened in Congress, and had an opinion that was usually worded in such way to make you laugh, then think, then laugh again.  He will be sorely missed.

-Reed Scott-Schwalbach

When Piroska and I decided to cut our hair and raise money to donate to Justin’s GoFundMe page, he told us, “I’m doing ok, but there are kids with cancer who you should donate to.”  He introduced us to the St. Baldrick’s Foundation, which supports kids with cancer, and we donated our fundraiser proceeds to them instead.  That was Justin – thoughtful, kind, and willing to put others first in order to help youth grow and thrive.

-Reed Scott-Schwalbach

He would suddenly break out in his old man break dancing.  The more I would look at him like he was insane, the bigger his smile got and the more exaggerated his dancing would get.  Then he’d just laugh at me while I shook my head.

-Rob Havrilla

Rosie is one of the most skilled soccer players I have played with in my 34+ years of playing the sport.   I have played with or against some collegiate athletes, national team members, Olympians, pros and the like, and have to say that Rosie ranked right up there in his abilities with the best.   You always knew that he would be in shape as he took his training very seriously for the game.

If I recall correctly, Rosie was a senior when I was a sophomore attending CHS.   We both played on the soccer team here.   He was very skilled for a high school athlete.  Some of his teammates referred to him as “Dribbles.”   He would often dribble from one end of the field to the other as players would look on in amazement or frustration as they admired his dribbling skills but wondered if he would ever pass them the ball.

In his soccer I saw a passion for the details and know that as a coach he wanted the CHS soccer team to be playing in a proper way.  He was intense at times when he coached, and I imagine that he would have hoped to see his former students’ pursuing their lives with a passion.

-Jeremiah Hansen

My story about  Rosie goes back to the 1980’s.  I worked with Justin’s dad for 19 years on the YMCA Youth and Government Board. When I was active and beginning campaigning in ’85, I first met Justin and he had that same sweet, lopsided smile that endeared him as a kid.  Watching his dad’s role in the program and years later when I met him on staff, he had that same smile and had at that point been the teacher overseeing the Y&G program for Centennial. I appreciate how generations can pour into a program and their kids learn by seeing and doing.  I suspect that his daughters will also be active in the community due to the role model they saw in their father.

-Jen Loeung