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Friday, Apr. 29, 2016

Trinity Lutheran to mark 135 years of community service

Monday, September 20, 2010

Trinity Lutheran School in Freistatt will celebrate 135 years of service with a ceremony on Sunday, Sept. 26. The school began as a part of Trinity Lutheran Church and is still located on the site of the original church. [Times Photo by Melonie Roberts]
Trinity Lutheran School will celebrate 135 years of providing education with religious emphasis to students on Sunday, Sept. 26.

Students in kindergarten through eighth grade choir will perform three times during the morning worship service, which begins at 10 a.m.

A pork chop lunch, sponsored by the members of Trinity Lutheran School Board, will follow in the school's gymnasium. Cost of the meal is $9 for adults and $5 for children. Proceeds from the dinner will benefit the school's scholarship fund.

Those attending the 135th celebration will have the opportunity to purchase an acrylic ornament bearing the image of the school. Cost of the ornament is $4.50.

On display in the music room will be photos and other memorabilia from Trinity Lutheran School's history.

Trinity Lutheran Church has a rich history dating back to 1874 when the village was first founded by settlers. It was the following year, 1875, when the school was founded because German settlers wanted their children brought up in the traditions of their faith and heritage.

Until recent years, the German language was spoken in both church and home. As children grew to adulthood speaking primarily English, the use of German gradually died out and now only a few of the older residents of the community still speak the language.

"We still teach the children to sing 'Silent Night' in German," said Carole Kleiboeker, school principal. "We have new hymnals that have some of the songs in both German and English. The older parishioners still sing in German."

"At Christmas, we go caroling and sing in German to people locally and at the rest homes of those that still speak it," added Margaret Holle, who is helping organize the 135th anniversary celebration.

In 1875 the first pastor and teacher at the school was H.F.C. Grupe. The first "called" teacher was Mr. H. Nehring. A called teacher is one that has specific training through the Lutheran University to teach religious classes.

"The community of Freistatt was built around its church," Kleiboeker said. "It was important to the community then, and now, to keep tradition."

Trinity Lutheran School offers a strong academic program, with graduates ranking in the top 10 percent of their classes at area high schools. The students also rank in the top 10 percent of the nation's students on the Iowa Basic Skills Test scores.

The school offers fully accredited teaching staff and a curriculum that includes Spanish and French, as well as computer technology classes and athletics. In 2009, the Joplin Globe's annual spelling bee was won by a Trinity student, and the 2010 competition saw a Trinity student taking the runner-up position. Students regularly take part in annual state and regional competitions.

There are also daily devotionals and weekly chapel services at the school.

Trinity alumni have been invited to the celebration with positive responses from former students in Nebraska, Oklahoma, Kansas and Arkansas as well as those still living in Missouri.

A special guest, Rev. Keith Christiansen, former interim principal and pastor, will be attending the event. Graduates will also perform in the afternoon. So far, 350 people have confirmed their intentions to attend the dinner.

At the end of the celebration, a quilted wallhanging will be auctioned.

For more information or to purchase a ticket for the luncheon, call Trinity Lutheran School at 235-5931.

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