by Kevin Kindelin

Why send a child to Immanuel Lutheran School? After doing my research and processing the many reasons in favor of such a decision, it came down to two words in my mind: Our future. When that first hit me, it was more of an epiphany than a road-to-Damascus, knock-me-out-of-my-saddle revelation. Our future was not what first came to mind. I pondered how a child would benefit and then how that child’s parents would benefit, not as opposed to public education or home schooling, but from how our school stands out on its own merit. Being the curious type, I began my investigation. I looked up the mission and vision for our school and almost proclaimed my mission accomplished. Then I got word that they’d been revised! Behold, the new and improved mission and vision! (Pretty much a leaner version of the former–says it all in less.)

Mission – The mission of Immanuel Lutheran School is to partner with families to equip children for life-long learning and service through a rigorous academic program in a nurturing, Christ-centered environment.

Vision – The vision of Immanuel Lutheran School is that each child becomes a fruitful member of Christ’s Kingdom in their community.

This clearly speaks to the benefit both the child and parent may gain. There are several good arguments for sending a child to our school right in the mission and vision. Now don’t get me wrong. Public schools are a necessary option for many and still have their place. After all, I’m a product of the public school system and I turned out all right, didn’t I? Don’t answer that! Where Immanuel stands apart is the ability to offer a Christian- centered education to children, preschool through eighth grade, consisting of a rigorous academic program and unparalleled extracurricular activities including music, art and sports. We start early at Immanuel. Kids can get involved in organized sports as early as third grade. I had to wait until seventh grade before I could move beyond kickball and duck-duck-goose.

Our students are encouraged to express their talents through music, drama and arts in our fine-arts program. All grade levels are taught art and music and participate in several productions. I must admit, I did play a pretty mean flutophone in first grade.

Our purpose is to develop children spiritually and socially, as well as academically, and also to instill the love of Jesus in their hearts while preparing them for what lies ahead in the real world.

I asked Delaine Schiestel, Principal of Immanuel Lutheran School, why send a child to Immanuel? “For so many reasons… first, the teachers and staff - they get to know the children and each family. They figure out what makes each child tick and work with them and the parents, to help the child grow and achieve. Our academics are excellent – the majority of our graduates take advanced classes in high school. We not only prepare the children for the next grade, but for life. Students learn critical- thinking skills and put their faith into action through a variety of serving activities. But through all of this, the love of Christ flows. Grace and forgiveness are practiced; caring for others is emphasized; and confidence and purpose is built because of our value and worth through the eyes of our Savior. All we do is working towards our vision - developing each child to become a fruitful member of Christ’s Kingdom in their community.”

Our teachers and staff are the engine that makes this vehicle run. As experienced, professionally trained teachers, they are able to instruct our students in a way that not only fosters their intellectual development, but their spiritual maturation as well.

Earlier I mentioned two words of particular significance: Our future. Equipping our children to be effective citizens for life is crucial to the future of our church, school and community. I see several young men and women I knew as boys and girls who play active roles in the “goings-on” at Immanuel. We need more. The young minds and hearts of our children are fertile ground to plant seeds. College and other pursuits may distract them for a while, but if we care for their tender young shoots with love and the right instruction, then the garden they grow into will surely sustain Immanuel long after you and I have moved on to be with Jesus. Sorry for the extended metaphor…I just couldn’t help myself, but you get my point!

The lyrics of a song Whitney Houston sang come to mind as I write this, “I believe the children are our future. Teach them well and let them lead the way. Show them all the beauty they possess inside.” Those lines pretty much sum up what I was saying about our kids being our future and what our mission and vision already states.

I’ve been using the possessive pronoun “our” throughout this article as if I have anything to do with the direct development and instruction of our programs. I don’t. What I do have is a vested interest in our future, which boils down to the successful perpetuation of our church and school. Many of us who attend Immanuel don’t have children, but we’d be foolish not to understand that the success of one depends on the success of the other. There’s a reason it’s called Immanuel Lutheran Church and School… because we are Stronger Together!