November 2023

From the desk of Sally Ruecking, our Advancement Director:

Tim Bouman

Principal and Head of School

Warm greetings from Walther!


As we enter this season of Thanksgiving, I am gratified to note that Walther Christian Academy has much for which we are thankful. First and foremost, we are thankful for our 285 students and their families, as well as our 22 teachers and 16 full- and part-time staff who serve them. I am thankful to Dr. Ed Kelly for taking the reins in organizing a brand-new group, the Walther Parents Association (WPA), which will further empower our parents, streamline communication, and increase collaboration. I am thankful to Ms. Alma Calleros for signing up the 91 students who attended our last Open House, the most in recent memory! I am thankful to Ms. Sam Rose, who directed our latest theater production (Neil Simon’s Fools) to great acclaim. I am thankful for Mr. John Franklin, who was recently named Middle School Teacher of the Year by the Northern Illinois District. I could go on!


There is one more blessing I do want to share with you. Our good friend and partner, Mayor Ron Serpico of Melrose Park, has included us in a major school safety and security initiative. Today, Walther received a check for $150,000 to improve our safety infrastructure. This generous grant will go towards upgrading our communication infrastructure here at Walther, including replacing our ancient (and ineffective) intercom system and vastly improving our security cameras, both of which will not only help us in our day-to-day operations but, critically, will make a real difference in preparing for situations we hope we never need to face. Thank you, Melrose Park and Mayor Serpico!


Happy Thanksgiving to our extended Walther family, and God bless you all!

Sally Ruecking

Director of Advancement

Dear Walther Friends,

November brings this passage to mind: “To everything, there is a season and a time for every purpose under heaven: Ecclesiastes 3:1 KJV Ecclesiastes gives us many examples of seasons we will all face in life: times of birth, death, weeping, and joy.  While it’s easy to hold onto hope in happy times, we shouldn’t let our faith falter when we are facing challenges.

Walther is on the upswing, and the real reason is because of donors like you! We could not have made all the incredible changes on our campus both inside and out, or built a new website, or secured new buses if it were not for the generosity of our alumni and donors. Thank you for believing in the work that we do every day.  I think our Vision Statement says it best….that Walther Christian Academy “will graduate Christ-centered learners from a relevant and rigorous academic environment, and prepare them for a fulfilling lifetime of purpose, learning and service.”  While we have accomplished much, there is so much more to do to ensure Walther remains here for many, many years, and the administrative staff is mindful of this in the daily work that we do.

Walther is producing future leaders! Please enjoy the photos of our talented students who are supported by our wonderful teachers who guide them to excellence in theater, math, academics, athletics, and music. It takes a village to ensure that Walther remains relevant and competitive.

Between Thanksgiving and the Christmas season, each and every one of you will be receiving our Year-End Appeal. This year’s theme is “What’s Your Why?” and I pray that you consider supporting Walther at the highest level possible. We make donating to Walther easy! You can give to our year-end appeal on our website at and you can even set up a monthly or quarterly recurring gift, too. If you haven’t supported Walther yet, please think about supporting us at any level possible, and know that your gift is helping nearly 300 students who will leave the halls of Walther academically, emotionally, and spiritually prepared for their future!

Happy Thanksgiving to all!

Meet: Jeff Carnehl
Art Teacher

Jeff Carnehl has been the Art teacher at Walther for 24 years. Prior to that he was a freelance illustrator and worked as a professional graphic designer for many years before joining the staff at Walther. 

He has been married to Janet for 48 years and has 3 sons and 5 grandchildren.  The newest granddaughter was just born this week! 

Jeff is incredibly talented and many of his former students work in the arts professionally. We are blessed that Jeff has decorated the halls of our school and produces new original art each year as auction items to support our Bronco Benefit.


Jeff told me that he enjoys Walther because of the size of our school and the Lutheran community here at Walther which he considers an extension of his family.

Giving Tuesday

Giving Tuesday is a global generosity movement unleashing the power of radical generosity. GivingTuesday was created in 2012 as a simple idea: a day that encourages people to do good. Since then, it has grown into a year-round global movement that inspires hundreds of millions of people to give, collaborate, and celebrate generosity.


While Walther Christian Academy doesn’t have a nationwide presence, you can still help on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving! . Why not consider making a charitable gift through your IRA?


Withdrawals from IRA and 401-K accounts before the age of 59 ½ are generally subject to both income tax as well as a 10% penalty. However, after age 59 ½, the penalty no longer applies, although income tax will still be owed with the exception of qualified withdrawals from Roth IRA’s. Starting this year in 2023, minimum distributions from traditional IRA’s and most 401(k) accounts must begin at age 73. 


Please ask your financial advisor if this might be right for you. ANd, you can avoid tax on qualified charitable distributions (QCD’s) of up to $100,000.


To include Walther Christian Academy in your estate plans, please note that our Federal Employer Identification Number is EIN 36-3640546. Or just consider making a special donation on Giving Tuesday through our website and choose the drop-down “year-end appeal.”

Walther Student Activities and Highlights:

Illinois State Scholars 2023-2024:

Matthew Eden, William Kuehner, Grace Giannotta, and Brian Dahlstrand.

Walther Christian Minstrels

Led by Lori Boyer

Walther’s Drama Department presented “Fools” by Neil Simon, directed by Samantha Rose

Walther Scholars won Second place at Concordia University Chicago’s MathSci Bowl led by Marcia Eberhard.

Upcoming Events:

  • Bronco Benefit

    Saturday, February 24, 2024

  • Career Day

    March 22, 2024

  • Bucking Bronco 5K Run/Walk

    Saturday, June 1, 2024.

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

Ione Heinitz, former St. Paul Melrose Park School Teacher

Dennis Zwissler Class of 1963


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 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.