Arlene Skwierawski, North Division music teacher, choir director dies

Arlene Skwierawski dedicated her life to helping people realize their potential.

A beloved music teacher at North Division High School for 25 years, Skwierawski’s influence spans the city of Milwaukee. She led choirs for churches, youth, the homeless and more.

She is known for building North Division’s musical theater program into a powerhouse and for incorporating gospel music into several local Black Catholic churches’ liturgies. Skwierawski, a former nun of Polish descent who worked tirelessly with Milwaukee’s African American community, died Aug. 14 at 83.

“She lived her life believing that one of the highest priorities people should have is helping others,” her brother Michael Skwierawski said.

Music, Arlene Skwierawski believed, was a great way to instill self-esteem in people facing challenges. Through the choirs and musicals she directed throughout her life, she aimed to build confidence and push members beyond the limits of what they thought was possible.

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