April 2, 2007

St. James Lutheran School in Howard Lake is thriving

By Jenni Sebora

St. James Lutheran School, Howard Lake, recently celebrated a very special week of school, March 4 – 9.

National Lutheran Schools Week (NLSW) is a time for reflection on why a Lutheran school is an important part of a Christian community that helps children benefit from excellent teaching, while growing in the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ, St. James teacher Jennifer Schmidt explained.

More than 2,000 preschools, elementary schools, and high schools operated by the Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod congregations celebrate National Lutheran Schools Week each year across the United States, Canada, Australia, China, and other countries.

This year’s theme “Transforming Lives,” focused on 2 Corinthians 3:18: “We who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.”

Students and staff at St. James School participated in many special activities in celebration of this special week.

Sunday, the students brought the celebration to St. James Lutheran Church by singing during services. Students in grades kindergarten through eighth sang, “This is a Great Place to Grow.”

Monday, students could share their day with their favorite stuffed animal. Students also decorated their classroom doors in honor of the special week.

Students and staff came dressed in sports jerseys Tuesday, Athletic Day.

Tuesday night was dedicated to next year’s kindergarten class. This was a special time for the future kindergartners to meet their teacher, Miss Nona Lehrke, see the classroom, and get to know other students.

The students and parents were treated to a special video made by Lehrke that showed events, field trips, daily classroom activities, and other fun things about being in kindergarten.

Wednesday was named “come dressed in your Sunday best” attire. The students attended Lenten services together in the afternoon.

Students and staff came clad in school colors, maroon and gold, Thursday.

Occupation Day, Friday, rounded out the week. Students had the opportunity to dress in attire that demonstrated what they want to be when they grow up. Students also listened to parent speakers talk about their various occupations.

Bowling at Lake Bowl in Howard Lake was enjoyed by the students during the week also. Students practiced their estimation skills throughout the week, as they had opportunities to guess the number of gummy bears, pieces of gum and M & M’s in a jar, how much money was in a bag, and how long a licorice strip was.

Thursday through Saturday, St. James hosted the 17th Annual Fifth and Sixth Grade Girls Basketball Tournament for the surrounding Lutheran schools.

This was the fifth year St. James has hosted the tournament. This year, 11 teams participated from 10 area schools.

St. James’ students got involved in the tournament by participating in a variety of activities from decorating, helping set up, helping keep score, and serving concessions, to playing in the tournament, itself.

Students at St. James also put their artistic talents to work by making pennants representing the area schools. The pennants were decorated with the school name, colors and mascot and were hung in the gym. The pennants were made to coincide with the theme of NLSW week.

Parent volunteers were also a big part of the success of the tournament in that they helped with concession and ticket sales, as well as refereeing the tournament games, Schmidt noted.

Students and staff enjoyed many activities to honor this special NLSW week. The mission of St. James School is, “St. James Lutheran School exists to teach the Gospel of Jesus Christ and assist Christian parents in following our Lord’s commands by providing sound Christian training for children.”

St. James School, established by St. James Lutheran Church, offers a preschool through eighth grade Christ-centered education.

The current enrollment, according to the school’s web site, www.stjameshl.org, is approximately 160 students, with the average class size being 20 students per class (one teacher per classroom).

While most of the students come from St. James’ congregation, many also come from various church denominations. Students from up to five different school districts attend St. James, stated the web site.

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