February 2024

Greetings, Walther Family!

 At a recent faculty devotion before school, we were contemplating the Transfiguration. It was a beautiful “mountaintop experience.” Peter wanted to stay up on that otherworldly, shining mountain. But after an appropriate time, Jesus led them back down into the real world—of a “demon-possessed boy” and, eventually, the cross. School can be like that sometimes. We have our mountaintop experiences, those events and experiences that are real highs, like the Gospel Choir lifting our spirits in Campfire, our Girls Basketball Team dominating the opposition at Senior Night, a student finally “getting it” and acing a test, or the thrill of the whole school wearing our “Shine” t-shirts and doing a service project together. We need those moments, and they sustain us. Because, like Peter, Lutheran school workers spend a lot of time down in the valley doing the really hard work, which is not always recognized, and can be frequently difficult.

The Transfiguration has its limitations as a metaphor for a Lutheran school, I know! But it is a good reminder that a life in Christ has both brilliant beauty and a cross to bear. At Walther, we rejoice in our mini-mountaintop experiences, and remember to “not grow weary in doing good” when the work is hard. Fortunately, our students give us a lot to celebrate! Please keep Walther in your prayers, and thanks for all your support

Dear Walther Friends,

It’s February and we are busy! 

Our Bronco Benefit will be held on Saturday, February 24 at Maggiano’s in Schaumburg, IL, where our guests will be treated to music provided by Walther student musicians and singers. 

We are so grateful for our sponsors of this year’s event, who allow us to continue to support our students through scholarships and financial assistance throughout the year. Sponsorships also mean that donations from auction items and ticket sales will be used to directly support our students and school..

Many thanks to our Bronco Benefit 2024 Sponsors:

  • Jay Christopher
  • Concordia University Chicago
  • Old National Bank
  • Chicagoland Lutheran Educational Foundation
  • Village of Melrose Park
  • Scott Christopher
  • Best Packaging
  • Lutheran Church Missouri Synod Foundation
  • Frank Urso


Additionally, we are grateful to all of the companies, organizations, and individuals who generously donated auction items. If you haven’t done so already, please go to our website on the home page and click on the auction items. Even if you live outside of Illinois, you can support Walther Christian Academy by either bidding on an item or donating to support this yearly signature event. (You can learn more about our annual Bronco Benefit later on).

And, our Annual Report for the fiscal year 2022-2023 has been completed! This report features some of our students and their activities throughout the year, as well as recognizes all of you who supported us with your gifts between July 1, 2022 and June 30, 2023.  It is because of your generosity that Walther can continue to offer a first-class education and all of the extra-curricular opportunities each year.

Please click on the button below to view the Annual Report on our website, and enjoy reading about our students and our school.

 Thank you for being a part of our Walther community!

Please join us!

Bronco Benefit 

Saturday, February 24, 2024, at Maggianos in Schaumburg, IL. Registration is still open, but seats are filling fast!  Please help us make this event the most successful Bronco Benefit ever by either registering to attend the event, contributing an auction item, or donating to the event even if you cannot attend so that we reach ourevent goal to support our scholarship fund. You can register, view current auction items to bid on and donate by clicking the link below.

The Bronco Benefit was established nearly two decades ago to raise funds for scholarships and grants-in-aid to support our students. Our enrollment has increased this year, and because of your support, more students who choose to attend can attend because of the financial support they receive.  Please help today!

Meet: Head Football Coach Brad Hytrek

Brad Hytrek was recently hired as Walther’s Head Football Coach. Coach Hytrek brings a wealth of experience coaching high school football at schools throughout Chicagoland, including Taft, Loyola Academy, Lake View, and Westinghouse High School.  We are excited that our new coach has the energy and passion to develop our players’ skills and performance, and to develop a team approach to winning. He has a track record of instilling discipline and hard work in all of his athletes.  “While points on the scoreboard matter in the game, scores in the classroom matter as well,” explains Coach Hytrek as he describes his coaching philosophy.  “I will partner with school administration and parents to ensure that our student-athletes are meeting those expectations.” Coach Hytrek emphasizes key values such as trust, perseverance, and respect. He was a former football player  and knows the value of having a caring and dedicated coach. Who will make a lasting impact on a student. We wish our new coach well as he writes the next chapter of Bronco Football and is promising to return the program to success that our Walther Community can once again be proud of. Go Broncos!>

Meet: Matthew Swan, Senior

Matt is a great example of a student who has taken advantage of all the opportunities at Walther. For nearly 4 years he has been involved in Cross Country, Art Club, Drama, Christian Minstrels, Jazz Band, Pep Band, and Baseball, which is his favorite sport. 

Matt is excited to be attending Eureka College in Eureka, Illinois, which is a small Christian college. Matthew came to Walther from the Westchester public schools and felt Walther was a smaller school with strong academics and many after-school activities to choose from, and feels that Eureka would offer a similar experience. His brother Michael attended Walther as well and is now attending Valparaiso University. Matt has spoken to Eureka’s representatives who visited Walther and made a campus visit that helped him make his decision. 

He will be majoring in Communication and Media Studies, focusing on Broadcasting, and hopes to double-major in Sports Management. He has received a large scholarship based on his academics and has a spot on the Baseball team with an additional scholarship. Matthew is working hard on a 4.0 GPA that will allow him to apply for the Ronald Reagan Scholarship which will waive his entire tuition if he is accepted. President Ronald Reagan attended Eureka, graduating with degrees in Economics and Sociology.

Matt already is looking at graduate schools to work on an MBA after Eureka! All the best to Matt and all of our 2023-2024 graduating seniors.

Upcoming Events:

Bronco Benefit Saturday, February 24, 2024, at Maggianos in Schaumburg, IL. Registration is now OPEN! 

Career Day, March 22, 2024. This year, we would like to encourage more participation from alumni who graduated in the past 20 years and have never participated in a Career Day. If you have wondered about the ways that you can support the students at Walther by sharing your “story”–this opportunity might be for YOU!

Our Career Day features Walther alumni who speak about their jobs and the steps they took to get to where they are today. We also have a College Fair featuring traditional colleges and universities, as well as trade schools. 

If you are comfortable with public speaking and work in the following fields, please email me at Sally_Ruecking@WaltherAcademy.org. Fields we are seeking include:

  • Education
  • Church Work
  • Science
  • The  Arts (music, graphic design, journalism,  etc.)
  • Medical fields (including Veterinary Science)
  • Sales and Marketing
  • IT
  • Environmental Studies
  • Philanthropy
  • Trades  


Bucking Bronco 5K Run/Walk, Saturday, June 1, 2024. Come to walk, run, or even stroll through the Melrose Park neighborhood and our field. Enjoy a fun event filled with music, food, and friendship! Please put this on your calendar and invite your friends and family to join in on the fun!

Alumni Dinner and Concert, Reunions, and more! Spend the weekend of October 25 and 26 with Walther Christian Academy. On Friday, October 25 we will be hosting our annual Alumni Dinner at the school. You will be treated to a self-guided tour of Walther, a great dinner, a band, and a concert that you can even participate in…and private reunion classrooms to kick off your reunion weekend! Last year we hosted two class reunions that enjoyed wine and light appetizers in private classrooms, giving classmates a chance to reconnect. 

On Saturday, October 26, join us for a brief Chapel service, and then please cheer on the  Bronco Football Team led by our new coach. Broncos Vs. Westmont! Most reunions gather on Saturday evening at a local restaurant or hotel….start planning now! If you need contact information for your classmates by year, please email me and I will get the list to you.

Purchase a Paver!

Do you want to support Walther and leave your mark? Or, purchase a gift for someone you love?

The time is NOW to become a permanent part of Walther by purchasing an engraved paver. You can purchase one on our website by choosing the paver purchase option to honor your time here at Walther, thank a parent for sending you here, thank a teacher, honor a memory, or give recognition to your business!

The pavers are $200 each.

Walther Memorial Corner

Psalm 116:15: Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His faithful servants.


Please email any death notices to:

To Our Donors...

Walther would not exist without you!
To all ALUMNI: We are asking every one of you regardless of where you are in life, to consider including Walther Christian Academy in your will.
Leaving a legacy at Walther means that more students will experience the joy of attending a school that truly cares about them and that your legacy will be helping students tomorrow.
Please contact Sally_Ruecking@WaltherAcadamy.org to discuss your wishes.

Our Mission Statement 

Walther Christian Academy is a culturally diverse and inclusive Christian middle and high school, rooted in the Lutheran tradition. Walther nurtures and prepares learners to fulfill their unique
God-given potential through academic excellence, spiritual growth, and service,
leadership and enrichment opportunities.

Non-Discrimination Statement

Walther Christian Academy is operated for the purpose of providing Christian Education at the secondary level for the families of Lutheran congregations. However, it admits students of any race, color, national and ethnic origin, and religion to all the rights, privileges, programs and activities generally accorded or made available to students at the school. It does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national and ethnic origin and religion in administration of its educational policies, scholarship and loan programs, and athletic and other school administered programs.