Dedicated Student Shares Local History Through Neenah Archives YouTube Channel

Junior student Christian Kriegl manages the football team alongside his history YouTube channel. He wears a Neenah Rockets jersey from the 1990s, a gift of the football coaching staff.

Ashlyn Jacobs, Editor in Chief

Christian Kriegl, NHS junior and local-history enthusiast, dedicated his passion for learning to creating public videos on all things Neenah history. His YouTube channel, Neenah Archives, features audio of Neenah Jazz performances, mini-documentaries, interviews, and other records of Neenah’s past. 

The project gained its roots over the last two years when Kriegl, then an Arete student, found himself earning a place in the community of creatives within the academy. In a friendly competition of achievements with his peers, Kriegl originally thought of writing a book, but later found a more accessible medium for his historical recordings: YouTube videos. 

The catalyst for Kriegl’s history passion occurred several years prior, when Kriegl was in middle school: his great-grandfather Rodney Schueneman passed away, leaving him with questions.

“I wish I could have talked to him more,” Kriegl said. “What was his life like? What did he know?”

Questions were not the only outcome of Schueneman’s passing; Kriegl also inherited his great-grandfather’s photo collection and other belongings. Poring over the photographs further drove Kriegl’s curiosity of local history. 

“It branched out from there,” he said. 

Now, one of his favorite projects and his most-viewed YouTube video is a digitized recording of Schueneman’s cassette-tape journals from his service in the Vietnam war. 

The topics Neenah Archives covers vary widely, and Kriegl is singular in his dedication to the projects. His time not spent in school or as the manager of the Neenah football team he devotes to research and video production. 

When working on a new video, Kriegl consults sources such as the Neenah Historical Society,, and the Madison Archives, even referencing S.F Shattuck’s A History of Neenah book.

When troubleshooting with tricky technology from decades past, Kriegl has collaborated with local musician, historian and audio engineer Andy Pemrich. 

Overall, Kriegl’s creative process is labor-intensive and not without its difficulties. “When I get really invested in a video, I can spend over 24 hours researching and preparing,” he said. And, sometimes, his limited tech resources stir frustration. Perfectionism and boredom nag at his ears like shoulder devils, but he pushes through. 

It’s common, he recognizes, to experience fatigue in any creative project. He has learned the best advice for struggling creatives is to “keep doing it.” Endurance will produce reward, he said, when the pride of  achievement arrives. 

According to Kriegl, having inspiration along the way helps. Arete teachers Mr. Gregg Goers and Ms. Suzie Weisgerber, supported his project in the early stages, as well as the football coaching staff and Jon Joch, district CFO, a fellow local history enthusiast. Their support encouraged Kriegl to pursue his goals. 

In light of his experiences, Kriegl dreams of inspiring others as a high school history teacher in the future. Rather than seeking a career as a historian — or, as Kriegl said, “an old fart in a chair,” he enjoys the relational aspect of studying history.

“I can help out kids and get them interested in history.” 

Ultimately, he shared that this drives his visions for the YouTube channel because he intends it for: “Anybody who’s willing to learn.”

 “I love learning,” he said. “ I love getting people interested to learn alongside me.”