“Baptized for this Moment” is the theme of the Lutheran Schools Week celebration March 3-9 at St. John Lutheran School in Merrill.
The school will be using the week to remember and honor the gift of baptism as it relates to the daily lives of the students, staff, congregation and community.
“The theme is multi faceted,” said Principal Todd Pehlke. “Baptism is a gift that keeps on giving. We want our students to recognize that we have a faith that celebrates Christ’s birth, death and resurrection. We want our students to be lifelong disciples.”
Lutheran Schools Week is also a time to remind parents of the commitment they made to their children’s education and a time to celebrate with the congregation that supports the school, Pehlke said.
The theme of baptism will be the topic of regular worship services March 3 and at midweek chapel services. Special music will be provided by St. John students.
“We will have a chapel service that celebrates baptism and we will spend time that week during worship talking about baptism,” Pehlke said.
In addition to his role as principal Pehlke teaches language arts, math and phy ed at the school. He has been at St. John for 14 years and served eight years as principal.
“I enjoy the kids and their families,” he said. “With the kids you get to learn each child individually. I get to pray with them when good things happen and when there’s a struggle. We are all in this together.”
Kay Klug, a third grade teacher, has been with the school for 34 years and enjoys promoting the school through Lutheran Schools Week.
“Lutheran Schools Week is a time to make people more aware of the good education we provide for the kids and to make parents and the community aware that we are here,” she said. “We share the love of Christ every day.”
Students at St. John participate in a variety of service projects each year which benefit the community. Along with donating money to the Merrill Food Pantry students plan a leaf raking project each fall and other activities such as making greeting cards for elderly members of the congregation. The chapel offerings they collect this year will be contributed to the Lutheran Malaria Initiative which provides mosquito nets for people in Africa.
“We want kids to see that it’s not just about religion classes but a lifelong sharing of their faith,” Klug said.
All the students make a field trip each fall to Camp Luther in Three Lakes for a day of outdoor education. Students at St. John can also participate in a number of extracurricular activities such as basketball, volleyball, the Jubilee and Alleluia singers, choir and band.
“We pride ourselves as a model of Christian education,” said Klug, who has two sons that attended St. John. “We nurture our kids, dealing with each child as God fully intended.”
With more than 190 students in pre-school through grade eight the school has seen an increase in enrollment over the past three years. The school also recently opened God’s Children’s Center as a before and after school program.
“With God’s blessings we have grown,” Pehlke said. “The kids do well here and succeed.”
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