Local and global service emphasis of Lutheran Schools Week at Trinity
BY JOY MARQUARDT
With Christ as their example, students at Trinity Lutheran School in Merrill will commemorate Lutheran Schools Week Feb. 28 – Mar. 6 with a week of service to their school, community, and beyond.
“It’s all about service and how we are sent to serve,” said Principal Kathy Yahr.” Jesus was sent to serve, and we are to serve others.”
The week begins with a worship service on Sunday, Feb. 28, followed by a week of service activities that reflect the theme of the school year based on Matthew 20:28.
“The theme is service, so we are trying to focus on different service activities that students can participate in safely, while keeping in mind social distancing,” said teacher Rachael Waldburger. “We will start out focusing on the classroom and how we can help and serve each other and gradually expand our vision to include the school, church, community, state, and the whole world.”
Each class at Trinity will choose a service project for the week, such as writing letters and sending cards to the elderly or military personnel, cleaning at the school or church, or assisting a community organization or agency.
“This year has opened our eyes to the needs in our community and our school,” Waldburger said. “As a school, we are trying to reach out to community members who can’t get out. We are called to make sure others are okay.”
Students and staff throughout the school year have collected items for the Merrill Food Pantry, donated chapel offerings to various global missions, such as “Hearts for Jesus,” which is supporting families in Southeast Asia, and sponsoring a child in Guatemala.
“It’s not that we have to do these things, we are called to do them,” Waldburger said. “It’s different than how the world looks at things.”
To celebrate Lutheran Schools Week, students and staff will participate in a virtual mid-week chapel service and join students at St. John Lutheran School for a Zoom Mystery Day event. The week will include special dress-up days, such as wearing Trinity and Wisconsin apparel or dressing like your favorite hero, and a movie day.
“There’s a culture that surrounds Lutheran Schools Week. It’s fun; we get to do different things,” Waldburger said. “It’s a nice break in the middle of winter, and it’s a nice change of pace.”
As a middle school teacher, Waldburger enjoys sharing the love of Christ with her students and is able to incorporate that message into her daily curriculum.
“I really love the focus on Christ and how we can talk about Him and call attention to God in our life,” she said. “We have that protection and that peace, and we can share that with our students.”
Waldburger prays with her students and incorporates religion into the curriculum in every subject. Her students begin and end the day with prayer and lead chapel services by writing and video recording their presentation for the entire school.
“Religion is in everything we do,” she said. “It’s easy in classes like science, where we can look at God’s creation and see how all these things work together. I teach art, as well, and we are looking at patterns and how God’s fingerprints are in nature. It’s cool to be able to look at all those things.”
The Parent Teacher Organization (PTO) at Trinity, which works to fund special projects and programs, has been providing lunches and treats in appreciation of the schools teachers and staff.
“We haven’t done as much fundraising for the school this year, but we have tried to find ways to support the staff and show the teachers and staff we are appreciative of all their hard work,” said PTO president Heather Burtman.
With extra precautions and measures taken for the safety of the students and staff during the pandemic, Trinity has remained open to in-person learning since the beginning of the school year. Students also have the option of virtual learning.
“We, as a family, are so thankful that our children can be there in person,” Burtman said. “It’s just so fantastic that our children can go to school. It’s so beneficial for them to be able to see their teachers, and socially, they can be with their peers.”
Burtman and the PTO have been working on several fundraising campaigns to raise money for upgrades to the school’s technology, as well as other projects. Orders have been placed for the annual Spring Flower Sale, and a virtual auction is planned for late spring.
“What is surprising this year is that the flower sale is far surpassing anything I expected, so that makes me hopeful for our spring auction,” she said. “What’s neat about the auction is that we’ve always had goods and services, small items, and larger items; it appeals to everybody.”
The annual auction, which is typically a live and silent auction with raffles and drawings, had to be canceled last year due to the pandemic. The virtual format is the PTO’s first attempt at an online sale.
“It’s been a little bit of a different year, but we are trying to do what we can,” Burtman said. “Even though everything looks a little different this year, Trinity still feels like a family, and it’s important that our children get to learn about Jesus every day.”
Trinity is currently taking enrollment for students in preschool through grade eight for the 2021-2022 school year. The school also offers before and after school care. Trinity Christian Daycare, which has openings for children age three and up, will be expanding in the fall to include infant’s from birth to a
ge three. For more information about Trinity or to schedule a tour, phone 715-536-7501.