Trinity celebrates National Lutheran Schools Week

National Lutheran Schools Week has always been a time for students to have a little bit of fun in the midst of a deary winter and a long school year.

The week, which started Jan. 24 and ended Jan. 30, also is about celebrating the gift of a Lutheran education and even more — community service.

This year’s theme was “Sent to Serve,” and the associated Scripture verse was Matthew 20:28: “The son of man came not to be served but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

Sarah Bumbleburg, special education director and resource teacher at Trinity Lutheran High School in Seymour, said even though COVID-19 changed the face of their celebration, Trinity still held some special activities.

“We’ve been doing some activities all week, like Monday was pajama day and each day had a different food theme,” Bumbleburg said. “One day, we had Junkyard BBQ, and another day was ice cream sundaes, and there was something different each day.”

The culmination of the celebratory week came Jan. 29 when a dodgeball tournament was conducted in the morning, followed by a door decorating competition, a service project for Clarity Pregnancy Services and a chapel service.

“Students were encouraged to wear spirit wear from their different alma mater elementary/middle schools today,” Marianne Wischmeier, director of curriculum and instruction, said Friday. “In the dodgeball tourney this morning, the seniors were victorious.”

A year ago on the Friday of National Lutheran Schools Week, Trinity hosted 650 fourth- through eighth-graders from Jackson and Bartholomew counties. Participating schools were Trinity, Immanuel, Lutheran Central, St. John’s Sauers, St. Peter’s and White Creek.

“Those students and faculty combined with Trinity’s student body and faculty totaled close to 845 people celebrating the gift of Lutheran education,” Wischmeier said of the 2020 celebration. “Due to the pandemic, such a large gathering was not possible this year.”

This year, Trinity students collected diapers and wipes and brought them during the week for their service project with the local Clarity Pregnancy Services.

Once the items have been sorted and packaged in smaller amounts, they will be delivered to Clarity, which will share them with the community, Wischmeier said.

“In terms of a collection for Clarity, it started many years ago, so things are running well,” she said. “It helps them with the many supplies they need, like the diapers and wipes.”

Students took diapers out of the packages and tied them into smaller bundles to be distributed by Clarity as needed.

“I think today went well, and I think it’s good that we’re doing this for Clarity because they need it,” Trinity junior Simeon Bauman said. “We didn’t raise as much as previous years, but I think it went well.”

Bauman is president of Y4Life and had extended an invitation to area Lutheran churches to participate in the school’s service project, so additional donations were dropped off at Trinity.

Freshmen were seated at a long table in the foyer, tying the diapers together with ribbon.

“We all brought in diapers to wrap for families that don’t have them to kind of help them out,” freshman Dianna Munoz said.

Olivia Cain said she thought helping Clarity was a good idea because some people aren’t fortunate enough to have all of the things they need for a baby and everyone deserves to have those things.

“Normally during this week when we do this with all of the Lutheran schools, we are the biggest contributor to Clarity,” social studies teacher John Anderson said. “But this year is a little different, and it’s just our school contributing.”

In other activities, each grade level was given four doors to decorate for the competition. Freshmen and juniors worked in two separate hallways on their doors, while sophomores and seniors worked on the service project. Then at a designated time, the grades switched what they were doing so the students could participate in both activities.

Down the hallway where the seniors were decorating doors, Annie Foster and her group were working.

She said groups were placed together by personality type.

“Our door has stars on it and will have all of our names on them,” Foster said. “Then in the middle will be our verse about service.”

Being a senior, Foster said she tries to make every day count, and she likes going to school at Trinity because it’s like a family and they all know each other pretty well and stay in the loop about everything.

Another group of seniors decorated their door with a tree, leaves and two sloths, which was Caleb Probst’s idea.

“Our verse says ‘Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord,’ Romans 12:11,” Probst said. “So we thought the sloths would go along with that.”

The Rev. Ralph Blomenberg from Immanuel Lutheran Church in Seymour gave the message during the school’s chapel service Friday.

“National Lutheran Schools Week is a celebration throughout the entire United States,” Blomenberg said. “Almost 2,000 Lutheran schools and hundreds of thousands of students from preschool through high school participate.”

Blomenberg said even though things are a little different this year, they are still celebrating what makes the Lutheran schools so special with a Christ-centered education.

Trinity Principal Clayton Darlage said while this year’s version of National Lutheran Schools Week was different, the purpose was still the same: Celebrating what the forefathers started more than 150 years ago.

For now, the gymnasium is where the school holds celebrations and chapel services, and the biggest fixture there is a cross.

“The most important thing has been being able to share the Gospel with each other on a daily basis, which we take pride in that, and that’s our No. 1 goal,” Darlage said.