Saving South – A Second Testimony

Yesterday, I posted the letter I sent to the Lutheran High School Association. This blog post is the letter my sister, Kayla, sent. I loved what she said and am sharing it here with her permission.

The double-wide trailer and the brand new gym in May 2007

To the Board of Directors,

I am an alumna of Lutheran High South of Newport Michigan, and I believe that every effort should go into saving this high school. I attended from 2004-2008. It was still a small school, but we were growing and making a difference. I can honestly say if I didn’t attend LHS I wouldn’t be who I am today.

Not only did LHS give me a good education, it formed my personality into someone who can make it in this world as a Christian woman. Why are we okay with sending our children to public high schools that aren’t teaching them the basics of Christian faith? Parents argue that this will teach them how it is in the real world. Is that to let your friends and the modern world win in its ways because it’s more popular than Christianity? Our faith as a whole is falling apart. The USA needs equality between race, sex and religions… but for some reason, Christianity is the one that the world really isn’t ok with. When you are between the ages of 13-18, those ages are the most moldable. They need strong Christian leaders to look up to. They are spending much more time at school and with their friends than at home with their Christian parents. Some, not many, grow from the challenge. Out of 15 kids in my Christian grade school graduating class, I am the only one that attends church on a regular basis and the only one that went to a Lutheran high school. I believe my continually growing faith was able to bloom in High School while still being able to be a “teenager”.

Mr. Garrabrant was the principle while I attended. He was someone whom I felt I would love being like! He was balanced between work, family, faith, and all of his school “children”. Even if he thought he wasn’t balancing it well, it didn’t show to me. He was a huge impact on my life.

Personally, I was not into going to school, but friends and sports kept my attention enough to want to go to school and want to get good grades to stay eligible for sports. After my freshman year, I truly WANTED to be at LHS. It wasn’t because my parents made me go; I wanted to help grow the school. By my junior year we had our very own gym to play our sports in. It was AMAZING having helped break ground and build and clean that gym. Then we hosted our very own home games. And we grew! Sports are a big deal for high school students, and as we grew so did our sports. The year after I graduated we were volleyball champions and soccer champions!

Not only did I receive a good education, learned beneficial work and social habits, and grew my faith, I also met my husband there. Joe and I started dating in high school and were married in 2011. This school has built amazing marriages! Two more sets of couples met at LHS.  My sister, Shelby, and Frank graduated in 2006. Hannah and Tony graduated in 2010. Both couples just had their first daughters! This school brought these people together, and they have formed a life together. Not just a high school friend you see once every 10 year reunion – true, loving relationships!

I was able to stay involved with South a little after I graduated. I helped coach volleyball, helped my father-in-law with score board and went to the auctions and even got to sing the national anthem for some home games. As time went on and life got busier with weddings and houses, jobs and school, family and babies, we haven’t been able to give attention to the high school. But I never want to see it shut down. I was with my parents at the last graduation of Lutheran High East. My cousin was in that last graduating class. To see their memories literally demolished was heart breaking, and another Lutheran high school gone.

Please consider every possibility into keeping this high school running. It’s important for the alumni. It’s important for the high school students. It’s important for the grade school children who need a Lutheran high school to attend, which in turn makes it important for the community. It’s also giving teachers jobs and keeping the church Christ Our Shepherd open.

I did a little bit of research on school closings and why Christian schools are closing. There was some good information. Some of the points I found to be important: While discussing the pros and cons to closing, the school and its board need to keep everyone involved, especially the current students and staff. It needs to explain how the enrollment study proves that closing the school makes sense. It needs to stay ahead of messaging the public and control rumors. Remember that every decision will affect the kids. Don’t ignore what the people are saying even if you don’t agree – really listen. Don’t make promises that can’t be kept. Remember that there is a cost to closing just as much as there is to keep it open. I found all of these to be good points and agreeable.

Now I don’t claim to know how to run a school. I don’t know the ins and outs of LHS at this time. But I do know that a lot of people would hate to see the school shut down for all the reasons I’ve listed. I’m sure we are all willing to do our part in helping to keep it running and to give a future to the next generation.

Thank you for taking the time to read my concerns and hopes. We will be praying hard! As Pastor Terry Cashmer says before our prayers, “It’s time to go to work.”

Sincerely,
Kayla

Lutheran High School South - Newport, MI, United States. New gymnasium

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