By Starrla Cray
MAYER, MN Mayer Lutheran High School’s 50th anniversary celebration will take place Friday through Sunday, June 29 to July 1.
An assortment of activities are scheduled each day.
Informal class reunions are planned Friday, June 29 at various locations. The classes of 1964 through 1967 will meet at B’s on the River in Watertown, and the class of 1972 will meet at Island View Golf Course in Waconia. The class of 1995 reunion will be at Lake Waconia Park. A reunion for the class of 2000 is being organized by Rebekah (Hoback) Jorgensen.
Current and past faculty will have the opportunity to reunite from 6 to 8 p.m. at Mayer Lutheran High School.
Saturday, June 30, a three-on-three basketball tournament will start at 9 a.m. Entertainment includes a rock climbing wall and obstacle course from noon to 6 p.m., a pork chop dinner from 4 to 7 p.m., and music festival at 7 p.m.
Sunday, July 1 will feature a worship service with alumni band and choir at 2 p.m. in the school’s fine arts auditorium.
For details, call the school offices at (952) 657-2251 or go to http://lhsmayer.mn.org/50th.html.
In the beginning
On March 4, 1957, Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod pastors, teachers, and laymen met in Young America to consider founding a Lutheran high school for youth in the Carver County area.
By June 25, 1961, the cornerstone for the new school was laid in Mayer, on a 20-acre tract of land acquired from Curtis and Arlys Honebrink. Mayer Lutheran High School (MLHS) opened that September, with 20 freshmen and 16 sophomores. Classes met at Mayer City Hall until the school building was completed three months later.
Since then, MLHS has helped shape the lives of hundreds of students.
“Faithful people have made this possible,” Principal Kevin Wilaby said at a founder’s luncheon in May.
Former MLHS administrator Erlen Schroeder is one of those faithful people.
“Most of this school is his fault,” Executive Director Joel Landskroener joked.
Schroeder started his service at MLHS as a teacher of German and English, bus driver, and baseball coach. He then became principal, and later, superintendent.
“God has allowed me to experience a lot of great things,” Schroeder said.
Marilyn Paschka, who taught from 1962 to 1966, also remembers the early years at MLHS.
“I would pick up five students on my way to school each day,” Paschka said.
Dr. Ed Ziegler, one of the founders, has fond memories of the school’s beginning.
“It was an exciting time when we started it has been the whole time but we were such a small, close-knit group of people,” he said.
High hopes for the future
As the school celebrates 50 years, new forms of excitement are on the horizon.
Genesis Virtual Academy, a ministry of Mayer Lutheran High School, recently began offering high-quality online education to students anywhere in the world. The online school provides more than 80 courses for grades 6-12, as well as more than 130 dual-credit courses.
“Scripture is woven throughout the curriculum,” said Kim Ross of Houston, MN, creator of the Minnesota Virtual Academy.
The physical location of MLHS is also undergoing changes. Plans for a $6.5-million expansion project have been underway since 2008. The project will provide an intuitive central entrance, classrooms, parking space, staff offices, a spacious commons area, two locker rooms, storage space, and a large fieldhouse.