Trinity Lutheran High School invited students from four different local Lutheran schools on Friday as part of a nationwide celebration of Christian education.
It marked the conclusion of National Lutheran Schools Week. Organized by the Lutheran Church — Missouri Synod, the week is celebrated in more than 1,800 schools in America, including all of Jackson County’s Lutheran schools.
Fourth through eighth students from Lutheran Central School, Immanuel Lutheran School, White Creek Lutheran School and St. John’s Sauers Lutheran School gathered at Trinity to participate in activities, including singing “Lord of the Dance,” putting together care packages for Pregnancy Care Centers of South Central Indiana, doing science experiments and creating art projects.
At the end of the day, all of the students gathered in the gymnasium for a worship service.
Trinity Principal Clayton Darlage said the weeklong celebration is important for Lutheran schools, both nationally and locally.
“National Lutheran Schools Week is an opportunity for all of the Lutheran schools across the country to celebrate our heritage, our Lutheran education and our Christian education,” he said. “It’s a special day for us, and we’re able to bring in area Lutheran schools and celebrate with us and have some fun activities and worship together here at the end of the day.”
Darlage is in his fourth year as principal at Trinity, and he said he could remember celebrating National Lutheran Schools Week when he attended Sauers from first grade through eighth grade.
“I was telling kids awhile ago during introductions that this is a day that I carry a lot of memories with me from when I was a little child,” he said. “I hope they’re able to do the same and mark this as a special day in their memory bank for down the road.”
Throughout the week, Trinity students had dress-up days, a dodgeball tournament, a staff vs. students volleyball tournament, popcorn at lunch and a TikTok video contest.
Trinity senior Ella Christopher helped eighth-graders make pinwheels. Students wrote what they were thankful for on them.
She said she had been having a good week so far and has had good memories of National Lutheran Schools Week growing up.
“I remember doing this when I was in eighth grade,” Christopher said.
Jami Stuckwisch celebrated her first National Lutheran Schools Week as principal of Lutheran Central School in Brownstown. She was formerly a guidance counselor at Brownstown Central High School.
“I think this is a great time to join with other Lutheran schools to celebrate,” she said. “Together, I think we all share something special. We can celebrate God’s word together and promote a Christian education, which I think is important.”
This was a particularly memorable week for Stuckwisch because her two children have celebrated National Lutheran Schools Week.
“My kiddos have both attended Lutheran Central, so they participated in National Lutheran Schools Week for years,” she said. “It’s definitely exciting and fun to celebrate it as a principal and see what it really means for everyone.”
Because of COVID-19 restrictions, Stuckwisch said taking Lutheran Central students to Trinity is one of the school’s first outings in awhile. She said it has been a blessing to have students leave their building and celebrate with students from other schools.
Sarah Akey, Trinity’s chemistry teacher, demonstrated two science experiments for sixth-graders.
The first experiment had her building a film canister rocket where it would blast off after mixing baking soda and vinegar. After that launch, she combined two clear liquids to create a yellow liquid.
Both experiments were chosen by Akey not only because of how flashy they were but to also show things don’t always go perfectly after multiple attempts.
Having an engaging science presentation was important to Akey.
“So much of science is doing and observing and watching, especially with kids at this junior high age when they can really fully grasp that,” he said. “That’s what’s going to get them into wanting to learn more.”
Akey said National Lutheran Schools Week is an exciting celebration of Lutheran education.
“This week is so fun, too, just in really celebrating what Lutheran education is all about,” she said. “Not only in having Christ-centered rooms, but also really focusing on making sure that students develop into well-rounded individuals. Knowing something about science and the world that God created is going to be a way to do that.”