On December 4 Concordia Lutheran High School held its annual gala… “Cadets in Cadence”. We can celebrate their fantastic financial results (over $200,000 just for their SGO needs… Woohoo!), strong attendance (I was told that it was “the place to be” that weekend), and even a few Elvis sightings! However, I think it will be known as the start of a new renaissance in connected Lutheran education here in Northeast Indiana, a time when a concept was introduced: “The Concordia Family.”
Yes, we have 18 other Lutheran schools in Northeast Indiana that are not named Concordia, but this is more than just one high school. This arching concept of The Concordia Family will ring true in the coming years.
Perhaps the embodiment of this new era of The Concordia Family is the new Head of School for Concordia Lutheran High School, Jacob Pennekamp. As Jacob explained in his opening remarks (see picture), “The Concordia Family is real.” As you may know, after serving as principal of Emmanuel St. Michael Lutheran K-8 school in Fort Wayne for over a decade, Jacob returned to Concordia as Head of School in 2021. I say “return”, because Jake has walked its halls for decades: as a former student, as an alumnus, as a parent of 3 graduates, as a parent of a current student, and as a parent of a future Cadet. He also “owes a debt” to the school because he met his wife while a student on North Anthony!
At The Lutheran Schools Partnership, we often talk of the collaboration that comes from working as a family. Whether the school is downtown Fort Wayne or in rural Ossian, leaders, educators, and staff come together as a family. Yes, there is healthy competition sometimes like with any family, but together we pray, we mourn, and we celebrate together as a family of Lutherans, as a family of educators, as a family in Christ.
Concordia was the ancient goddess of harmony and peace, and agreement in marriage and society. Lutherans know “Concordia” from the Book of Concord and the confessions, and the Luther’s Rose.
Here in NE Indiana, I think we will come to know “Concorida Family” to mean the interlocking connections like the family who sent their children to preschool at Ascension Lutheran, then their children attended St. Paul’s Lutheran downtown from K-8, and then CLHS from 9-12. That same family appeal can be seen during our monthly gathering of principals from all 19 schools, Alicia’s training sessions for 350 educators, and my Learn & Lead Retreats for boards and advancement workers.
Finally, the evening at CLHS highlighted several videos and an interview with current students and graduates who all noted the common themes of “family”, “working together”, and “Christ-Centered”. K-12 education may be but one step in someone’s life, but it is a giant leap to helping students become who they are and who they will be, in the name of who made them: Jesus Christ.
Thank you for supporting Lutheran education in Kendallville, in Decatur, in New Haven, in Ossian, in all parts of Fort Wayne… and on St. Joe River Drive. Thank you for keeping the Concordia Family alive and well now and into the future.
P.S. You can watch the live stream recording of the evening here.