I first walked into the doors of Grace Lutheran School almost exactly twenty years ago as a student teacher. I had a two year-old little girl, and I was expecting my second. I didn’t know what to expect upon entering into my student teaching experience, as I grew up going to public schools. The first thing I noticed was the small atmosphere, which made me immediately feel welcome. The parents, teachers, and students welcomed me and made me feel immediately a part of the GLS family. I learned so much in those weeks of my student teaching, and I always had Grace in the back of my mind as well as my heart as I continued the remaining months of my college years and into graduation.
After I received my degree, and still feeling the love from my student experience, I put in my application to become an aide at Grace. I was so blessed to spend the year working in the first grade classroom for the first full year, and my perspective changed from being a student teacher to an aide, and then to a perspective parent. It was then that I made the very smart decision, knowing now that God directed me the whole time, to enroll my oldest child in the PreK program with Mrs. Beth Scholten. I watched my little girl grow in her faith and academics, reciting letters and numbers as well as sharing her love of Jesus in song and art projects.
Now having two little girls, I was very blessed to be offered the sixth grade teaching position for the 2000-2001 school year. From there, I had not only grown in my faith and love of Jesus, but I had watched how that faith and love grew in my children, adding on my son in 2004. God had special plans for my entire family when I received that student teaching experience back in 1996.
Over the years, having two of my now-adult children spend their entire educational years at Grace up through eighth grade, I see not only the evidence of the quality in their education received, but how the seeds of faith were planted very deeply. Academically, our children thrived, graduating from Fargo North High School with academic honors and scholarships. Currently, my oldest is a nurse at Essentia, and my middle child is attending NDSU on a fully-paid ride, holding a 4.0 GPA and working towards a degree in respiratory therapy. They hold firm in their faith, ready to share the gospel with those around them. Our son is still attending Grace Lutheran School, and we are excited to see the fruits of his academic and faith building experiences he is receiving here!
While many may be concerned of the smaller class sizes at Grace Lutheran School, I can assure those people from experience that having our children stay through eighth grade has been the best decision we could have ever made for them. When they were asked about attending other schools, and in this area the public schools are excellent, my children always responded with “I want to stay at Grace to learn more about Jesus!” While their answers always made us smile, we knew in our hearts that those extra years spent at Grace not only helped them become the people they wanted to be without fear of exclusion or being questioned about why they believe what they do as Christians. They are able to defend their faith with memorized scripture, Bible stories, and an overall feeling of holding pride in what they know to be true. When our girls left the school they had known for ten years of their lives, even in a small class size, they headed out to the larger schools being rooted in their belief in Jesus and made fast and life-long friends on top of the ones they made at Grace.
As parents, every bit of sacrifice we made to have our children attend Grace Lutheran School was completely worth it. We have only one shot in raising children to become strong, Christian, and productive adults. Like I tell my own children and students as well, our times on Earth are very short compared to the eternity we spend with Jesus. We wouldn’t have done it any other way.