From the desk of Sally Ruecking, our Advancement Director:
Greetings from Walther!
This month I have been busy doing one of my favorite things I get to do at Walther: visiting Lutheran Grade Schools to recruit future Broncos. As readers of this newsletter certainly know, Walther boasts an incredibly diverse and eclectic student body these days. Our students come from 50 different zip codes all over the Chicagoland region. While the original Broncos came primarily from the Lutheran grade schools of our Association congregations, today’s Walther students come from everywhere, and most of our high school students did not attend a Lutheran grade school.
However, about one-third do come from Lutheran grade schools. So each fall I reach out to the principals of city and suburban Lutheran schools and schedule visits to talk with their 7th and 8th graders about Walther. My favorite part is taking alumni from those schools with me to return to their former classrooms and tell their old schoolmates what it’s like to go to Walther. It is touching to see how much their former teachers love seeing them return. It is fun seeing the 7th and 8th graders’ eyes light up with delight when they realize that the guest speaker guy from Walther brought one of their old friends along. Most of all, it is gratifying to hear our students talk about how much they enjoy Walther, how great the teachers are, and how much they have learned and grown here.
The last thing I always do is invite students to come to an Open House to really experience all that Walther has to offer. We have them this fall on October 26th and November 15th at 7:00 p.m. And if you happen to know one of those 7th or 8th graders and they tell you that I bribe them to come with offers of cookies and a candy bar…I plead guilty. Come for the cookies and stay for a lifelong membership in the Walther family!
Dear Walther Friends,
October has been filled with activities! Our alumni dinner and concert held at Walther hosted nearly 100 participants! The classes of 1963 and 1966 enjoyed their reunions in private classrooms where they gathered together to reflect on their years at Walther and catch up. A delicious dinner was prepared by Chef Jayson DeVries for all. We had alumni returning representing 1958-2022 who enjoyed returning to the halls of Walther Christian Academy.
A self-guided tour of Walther’s classrooms was available that highlighted the upgrades and improvements. In addition, Room 103 was filled with Walther Memorabilia through the years. The last stop on the tour gave everyone the opportunity to view the paver walkway that was originally installed in 2021 and continues to grow each year through the generosity of donors who have purchased engraved paver bricks. Thank you!
The highlight of the evening was a concert led by Lori Boyer and Samantha Rose, who welcomed 20 alumni to participate in the concert alongside current band and choir students. Our music department is very strong, led by talented teachers who nurture our students’ interest in music, many of whom go on to major in music at the college level. A special appeal to support new choir robes, risers, and concert shells was announced and we are very grateful to our alumni and friends who have supported this initiative.
If you were unable to attend our Homecoming activities this year, please consider coming back soon to take your own journey to reflect on your years here.
Finally, the Aura Art and Literature Club which collects works of art and writing from our students throughout the year is in full swing. Enjoy a drawing from a 9th grader, featured below.
If you are considering taking the first step to donate to Walther, many alumni financially support us through a monthly or quarterly donation on our website. Just $10 a month means $120 a year that we can count on for tuition assistance and more. What could be a better way to honor your past?
I am grateful for each and every one of you. Happy Fall!
Virginia is the warm face to all of our students when they pick up their lunch. To know Virginia even a little is to see that she truly loves working at Walther and is a people person who really cares about everyone. Virginia has worked at our school for a little more than 3 years, along with her husband Earl who drives our buses.
Prior to Walther, Virginia worked as a substitute teacher and assistant teacher. She attended Mallinckrodt College School of Education, which was then a partner of Loyola University, Chicago. She has three children, Christopher, Earl Jr., and Felicia, who is married to our Assistant Principal/Dean of Students, Dr. Edmond Kelly. Felicia attended Walther during her freshman year.
Virginia is originally from the US Virgin Islands and immigrated to the USA with her parents, who wanted a better life and educational opportunities for their children. Until Virginia met Earl through cousins, Virginia wanted to become a Catholic nun. Now, she is a happy grandmother who enjoys sharing her love of Christ with all of us at Walther, especially our students.
I am always amazed at the deep roots in the Lutheran Community, and especially by the ongoing support of Walther families who have been affiliated with Walther for many, many years.
I met Mark Holstein, Class of 1970, at our last Bronco Benefit. Mark’s niece is Amanda Ziupsnys, who has helped me for the past three years with the Bronco Benefit both before and at the event as well as securing auction items that help us reach our fundraising revenue goal. Mark and his siblings attended Lutheran churches as well as St. John Lutheran School in Forest Park before attending Walther.
Mark and his wife Connie, also a Walther graduate, live in Campton Hills which is a Village outside of St. Charles, Illinois. This Village is in horse country and almost everyone has horses. Mark, however, has two donkeys and boards a horse owned by his church’s secretary. Visiting Campton Hills is a real experience, and I had the honor of visiting twice. Mark and Connie both are generous with their time and enjoy supporting the variety of causes they care about, including Walther.
So, meet the entire Holstein family, who through three generations are continuing to call Walther Christian Academy their school.
Beth Holstein, Class of 1969, parent of Amanda Ziupsnys Class of 2004, Mike Hemmann, Class of 2007, and Katie Cuuningham Class of 2007. Beth is also the grandmother to Isabella Ziupsnys, Class of 2025. Beth is retired now from her career as a Professor of Nursing. Her name is on the Doctor’s Wall at Walther.
Eugene Hemmann (Beth Holstein’s husband who recently passed away) was on the Walther Staff from 1969 to 1972 as a Guidance Counselor, Religion Teacher, and Cross Country Coach.
Mark Holstein, Class of 1970.
Carla Holstein Luttinen, Class of 1971.
Gwen Gotsch and Connie Mains Holstein, Class of 1972.
Carla (Holstein) Luttinen-Class of 1971
Gwen Gotsch and Connie (Mains) Holstein-Class of 1972
Linda (Gotsch) Johnson- Class of 1973, married high school sweetheart, Joe Johnson, Class of 1973, parent of alumni Geri Class of 2002, Ted, Class of 2004, and Lauren, Class of 2006 who is a former staff member from 2007 through 2019
David Holstein, Class of 1973
Karen Gotsch Rohd, Class of 1975
Gerianne Johnson, Class of 2002
Amanda (Hemmann) Ziupsnys, Class of 2004 and parent of future alumni Isabella Ziupsnys, Class of 2025)
Ted Johnson, Class of 2004
Lauren Johnson-Class of 2006
What an amazing group of alumni who return to Walther often to support us! If you have a family filled with Walther graduates, please email me!
Saturday, February 24, 2024
March 22, 2024
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 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.