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Lutheran high school plans are on schedule

by E.D. Thyr

On Friday evening, Oct. 13, Dr. Gerald Grunworth, Genesis consultant for the Department of School Ministry of the Lutheran Church, Missouri Synod, concluded his detailed feasibility and readiness study for a Lutheran high school in the Carson Valley with the words, “The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing.”

Observing that some respondents to the questionnaire sent to Valley residents in the past months wanted to be sure that the Christian high school would have a good football team, baseball team, a gymnasium for school dances, sporting events and assemblies, Dr. Brunworth responded with a quote from another respondent, “I want to help my children be prepared to deal with life. There is nothing more valuable that we can give them than a belief in Jesus and a life grounded in Jesus.” In other words, “The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing.”

In a 42- page report shared with the steering committee of the new high school, Dr. Brunworth was upbeat and enthusiastic. He was particularly pleased with the response to the more than 1,000 letters sent to addresses provided by a mailing service to area residents with children.

“You can expect a 2-3 percent response from direct mail advertising. Eleven percent of the people who received this mailing responded. Seventy-three percent said they would like to see a new Lutheran high school in the Carson Valley, and nearly half of the respondents indicated that they would send their child to a Lutheran high school,” he said.

In a special survey distributed to 136 pre-school parents, 16 percent were returned, with all 22 indicating a need for such a school and 21 sets of parents saying they would consider sending their child to the school.

In the year-long process which led to the study, members and friends of the Lutheran congregations in the area met regularly to complete the work required by the Denominational Genesis Program, which is geared to determine whether a Christian school is needed in any given area and if it is likely to succeed.

Julia Bonafede, the chair of the steering committee, praised the faithfulness and the work of the committee, which included people working in a variety of disciplines, such as educators, clergy, business executives, public servants and home-makers from diverse Christian backgrounds. She observed that as the direct result of the positive response of the Genesis group, a number of things would happen immediately.

First, a Sierra Lutheran High School Association would be formed. The three LCMS congregations in the area, Bethlehem Lutheran in Carson City, Shepherd of the Sierra in Carson Valley and Trinity Lutheran in Gardnerville, have already been provided with detailed information about the projects plans and have officially opted- through their congregational meetings – to join the SLHS Association.

Next, the task force is immediately going ahead with the paperwork needed to establish a non-profit corporation which will be able to sign contracts, extend calls, develop fund-raising efforts and eventually employ architects and contractors for the construction of the facilities.

Third on the agenda is employing an administrator. A member of the committee has already made a survey of Lutheran high schools across the nation, and of the 100 or more potential administrator/principal types approached, 14 have said that they would be interested in being considered for the position of administrator of Sierra Lutheran High, and the process of examining data and developing a short list is proceeding.

Finally, one of the departments of the steering committee will negotiate with the owners of several buildings under construction for a temporary site. Efforts are moving rapidly along to make it possible to begin enrolling the first students in a temporary facility. Announcement of location and date of opening will be made when the time is right.

The mission statement of the new school is “Sierra Lutheran High is a Christian school that is directed by the Word of God and welcomes all students. A broad-based, innovative curriculum will be used to challenge students to use the many gifts and talents that God has given them. Our students are expected to become productive, literate, and faithful citizens in the world in which God has placed them.”

Sierra Lutheran High is now in the process of establishing a telephone number which will e announced as soon as it is operational. In the meantime, for information about Sierra Lutheran High or to be placed on the mailing list, call Shepherd of the Sierra Lutheran Church at 267-3680.