The natural order of things

Posted on Jul 26, 2013 by Mark Muehl - Christian Leadership

This time around I’m going to share the story of a family that’s steeped in the Lutheran school tradition.You start at St. Paul’s Lutheran School, and then you go on to Concordia Lutheran High School—that’s been the natural order of things in Craig Linnemeier’s family for four generations.Well, actually, the person representing the first generation didn't go to Concordia High School because it didn't exist yet. But Craig's paternal grandmother, Mildred, did attend St. Paul's before studying at the Luther Institute, the precursor to Concordia High School.Craig's father, Tom, and uncle Bill both attended St. Paul's and graduated from Concordia High School in 1954 and 1948, respectively.Later on, Craig and his siblings followed the same path. Each attended St. Paul's and graduated from Concordia High School: Will ('81), Jay ('83), Lisa ('86), Craig (’88), and Lori ('94). And then there were Craig's cousins Carl ('77) and Heidi ('82)."In my family, we knew from day one that we were going to Concordia High School after St. Paul's," Craig says. "That was especially appealing because we knew that's where many of our friends were going."Now, it's time for Craig's kids. After attending St. Paul's, Caleb is a junior at Concordia, while Nate is a freshman. Millie is a seventh-grader at St. Paul's, Alaina a fourth-grader.Craig says there's a good reason to carry on the tradition: “During my school days, the teachers and administrators at St. Paul’s and Concordia High School really cared about kids and providing them with a topnotch education. That dedication to their profession continues today. And because the school communities are smaller and the classes sizes are smaller, students receive more personal attention. And as parents, we get to know all the teachers and administrators, too."The schools also offer a lot of extracurricular activities that round out an education," Craig says. "Another benefit of extracurricular activities, especially sporting events, is the chance to get to know many of the kids at the other Lutheran elementary schools that feed into Concordia High School."Overall, I can't think of a better place to gain a solid foundation than at a Lutheran school—and I guess I turned out all right,” Craig jokes.Indeed, he did. Craig went on to earn a bachelor's degree and a master's degree in accounting at Manchester College. He's been in accounting for 20 years and is currently the controller at Fetters Construction in Auburn. Craig also served on the Lutheran Life Villages board of directors for 15 years, and in 2010, he was among the nominees for the Foellinger Foundation’s Carl D. Rolfsen Stewardship Award. He currently sits on the boards for the Lutheran Foundation and the Concordia Educational Foundation.You might know Craig from his work in Fort Wayne's Lutheran community, but you probably don't know that he was once a professional waterskier in Italy and at Sea World in San Antonio, Texas. It was at Sea World in 1993 that he met his future wife, Wendy, who's also a big fan of Lutheran schools."I'm very happy that our children have the opportunity to go to St. Paul's and Concordia High School," Wendy says. "Both schools provide a more personal, family environment. I feel comfortable and welcome when I visit the schools. In addition, we can call the teachers at home if we have questions or concerns. I feel as though we’re all members of a big family, working toward the same goal of providing our children with a great start in life."I also like that everything is God-directed," Wendy adds. "If there are problems, they turn to prayer first. I think that in today's changing world, that's more important than ever."I’d like to thank the Linnemeiers for allowing us to feature them in this issue of our e-newsletter. Families such as the Linnemeiers are the reason we strive to promote The Lutheran Schools and the high-quality, Christ-centered education they offer.