August is here! Before we know it the faculty will be on their annual retreat, freshman home visits will be underway, and the student body will be returning for yet another school year! Before we switch gears to everything 2019-2020 though, let’s reflect back on a few of the highlights of the 2018-2019 school year.
In September, Valley Lutheran celebrated the groundbreaking for the building phase of the Growing Campaign. As Executive Director Dr. John Brandt commented at the time, “Our school has always challenged students to fully use their God-given abilities to serve others. The addition not only reflects the growing interest and need for excellent STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) education, but also the importance of arts and athletics in the lives of students. This project is also a testimony to the faithfulness of God’s people to this ministry. They are excited to help position Valley Lutheran to continue to be a place where educational excellence and Christian faithfulness are taught and modeled.”
This Growing Campaign newsletter includes links to many of the news coverages from the day as well as video coverage of both the Groundbreaking chapel and outdoor ceremony.
In November Valley Lutheran was nationally recognized as a School of Distinction. After completing a re-accreditation process over the previous year, Valley Lutheran was one of 121 Lutheran schools accredited by the National Lutheran Schools Accreditation (NLSA) Commission in July of 2018. During the commission’s meeting, they bestowed the title of School of Distinction on five of those 121. Valley Lutheran was among the five.
Specifically highlighted as ‘powerful practices’ (standards met at the highest level) were: a well defined mission statement; excellent condition of finances; healthy working relationships between teachers, administration, and school board members; a learning environment enhanced by teachers and administrators working together; and family groups that foster community and provide students with adult advocates who know them well.
Mrs. Barb Doyle, teacher and accreditation co-chair reflected on the recognition, “I look at these people and what we do every day, and I recognize that what is happening here is pretty incredible. It’s nice to see someone else recognize that.”
2018-2019 sports seasons held many highlights! The winter season brought a TVC West Conference Championship title for the Varsity Boys Basketball team. The spring included a first in Valley Lutheran history, a Baseball Regional Championship title
and two state track placers Jon Giglio and Ethan Engelhardt.
And in June, Valley Lutheran was excited to recognize the 72 graduates of the Class of 2019 at the annual Commencement Ceremony. VL teacher Doug Guenther, chosen by the Class of 2019 as their graduation speaker, shared a message of challenge, hope, and assurance. Reminding the graduates and those assembled of the experience of Jesus’ disciples, who, even though they had walked with Jesus for three years did not fully understand all He had taught until, post-resurrection, He opened their minds to understand (Luke 24:45).
Guenther shared, “You [graduates] think you know it all, but your minds will soon be opened. Oh, the world’s going to take advantage of that, and it’s going to try to shove as much as it can into your mind. People you haven’t even met yet will try and fill it with their ideas and plans. But this is what God truly speaks to you. His promise is to be with you and always be by your side and never go away. He alone with truly love you and know what is best for you. He alone will never leave you or forsake you. He alone gave up his Son so that you may be saved.”
Guenther described how the graduates would soon be experiencing what Jesus’ disciples did on the Day of Pentecost. Prior to this they were alone, their teacher and mentor was no longer with them, all they had to rely on was what they had been taught. But the Holy Spirit comes to them and transforms them from followers into leaders.
Guenther’s closing comments to the class, “As you leave Valley Lutheran behind you now have a new calling – to take Jesus with you wherever you go because this world so desperately needs [Him. Because] we know that He is love where there is hate. He is good where there is bad. He is truth and right where the world is so confused.” We pray God’s richest blessings and his continual guidance on the class of 2019 as they go off into the world anchored in Him and carrying His message of truth and love to the world.
These and so many more moments marked the 2018-2019 school year. While we reflect back, we also look excitedly ahead. We do not know exactly what God has in store for 2019-20 but we are confident in his direction and provision through it all. So, as our 2019-20 school year theme verse directs us, “Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, ‘This is the way; walk in it.’” (Isaiah 30:21). Amen. Let it continue to be so!