2022 Auction was a Great Success
The annual auction dinner is the largest single fundraising event at Lutheran High every year. This year’s event was a long-awaited return to in-person bidding and comradery. We are proud to announce that more than 330 people attended, joined in fellowship, and contributed to raising $169,000 for Lutheran High School.
Part of the auction includes a Fund-A-Cause which is a freewill live gift to contribute to a project the school greatly needs. This year’s project was to renovate the commons to bring all students back together for lunch. During the Covid lockdowns and return-to-school efforts students were separated into two spaces on opposite ends of the school to provide ample space for distancing. Well, the time has come to bring everyone back, and the students are excited.
Surpassing the intended goal of $30,000, the commons project has been funded and the renovation began by relocating the walk-in freezer and refrigerator. New flooring, ceiling tiles, and additional tables are being added to the commons to provide enough space for the 200-220 student body.
On behalf of the staff, faculty, and students we extend our most enthusiastic thanks to everyone in our community who contributed through donating items, services, money, and bidding on items to make this an incredible success for all of us to enjoy.
Mr. Ken Witte holds graphing calculator in his classroom. Photo by Tom Kind
The Numbers Add Up - 46 Years in the Ministry
By Chuck Benedum
For 46 years, Ken Witte served the Church and several schools in the classroom and on the field. He is a Christian example and humble in all that he does.
Ken came to Sheboygan Lutheran High in 2001 thanks to the influence of Dr. Cary Stelmachowicz, a fellow professor at Concordia Wisconsin, and the lure of a Distance Learning Center (which used to be in the
back hall). Ken helped supervise the lab.
Once at Sheboygan Lutheran, he taught Advanced Algebra, Pre-Calculus and Calculus, Statistics, Personal Finance, and Transition to College Math. He’s overseen the National Accreditation of the school, and coached Varsity Girls’ Basketball and Girls’ Soccer.
Living in Fredonia, Ken calculated that he has traveled more than 245,000 miles just driving to and from school daily. Now, if you multiply that by the price of gas... Ouch.
When asked about the biggest changes in math over the last few years, Ken responded with the need to innovate and get creative as math became more visual using new instruments and other devices. Yet he says math has become more purposeful in its application. There is less supervised homework now, and much more done in the classroom, but his mantra still stands true, “Communicate what you are thinking.”
David Jabs, LHS alumni & teacher at Cleveland Lutheran East
In retirement, Ken looks forward to a break from teaching, but as a life-long learner he will continue to look for opportunities of personal and professional growth.
Looking back at his favorite memories from Lutheran High, he remembers his children’s achievements in and out of the classroom, the Ozaukee carpool, and seeing his students return after their graduations to share their stories of success.
Ken, you have been a true blessing from God to Lutheran High, its faculty, students, and parents. Your Christian example and your teaching expertise are treasures we will never forget. You will be missed in the Math Cave! God’s blessings to you and Cindy as you begin a new phase of your life.
Georgeann Joins the Crusader Nation as New School Secretary
This month marked the transition to our new school secretary, Georgeann Walecka. Georgeann and her husband, Mark, are recent additions to the Crusader Nation through their daughter, Claire, a sophomore. They also have an older son at UW-Green Bay and another son who attends Christ Child Academy. They are members at St. Peter Claver. Prior to working at Lutheran High she was the secretary of the Sheboygan South Catholic Parishes.
During Claire's freshman year, Georgeann recalls countless times where she has been impressed by the students, families, and community. She loves how the students are supportive of their peers, cheering them on, and encouraging them to be their best.
Georgeann is looking forward to seeing the students as they mature into the prepared adults they need to be for their futures. She wants to know they are ready for their next stage in life, strong in faith, and confident in their education.
We are blessed to have Georgeann with us. She will be a great asset to our school and our mission of Preparing Christian Leaders - One Student at a Time.
Make sure to stop by, introduce yourself and say hi! She is looking forward to meeting everyone.
Sheboygan Lutheran & Sheboygan Christian Girls Win Regional Championship
For the first time in school history Girls Soccer has won the regional title. The Sheboygan Lutheran & Sheboygan Christian girls have made the co-op program proud with their work and great successes. They will be taking on Kiel for the first sectional game on June 9th at Kohler.
All Conference Recognition:
Ambryn Diener: 1st Team
Alexis Beger & Taylor Batt: Honorable Mention
The Lutheran/Christian co-op held the score at 0-0 until halftime and prevented goals from Kiel's leading scorer who is among the best in the state's history. While the season for these ladies ended during the sectional semi-finals with a final score of 0-4 they can be extremely proud of what they accomplished.
In Christ is the Victory.
An Experience that Cannot be Replaced
Band and choir students have an opportunity to go on the Music Tour every other year, and this year they traveled to sunny Florida. This trip included several concerts for grade schools and churches and a fun-day at Universal Studios. At the home concert, Director Matthew Thiel recounted several conversations with their hosts in each city. Some said that they only came to be supportive, but they found themselves mesmerized by the incredible talent of Sheboygan Lutheran High School’s students.
Ambryn Diener, a senior, said “Music tour was an amazing experience for many students including myself. It was awe-inspiring to see how God can work through the gifts and talents He’s given us so that we can share His Word with people across the country.”
Asa Diener, a sophomore, said “Music Tour is an experience that can never get replaced because of everything we were able to do. Whether it's bonding time with friends or making new friends on the bus, it's a great and memorable experience. In addition, being able to play and perform beautiful music in front of congregations across the country is just amazing.”
Above: Dr. John Egan, former superintendent for the Kohler School District, served Lutheran High School as the interim executive director during a time where his leadership was greatly needed.
The Right Man for the Right Time
By Chuck Benedeum
Many have found a person who comes into his or her life and makes a difference —a big difference — a truly lasting impression. Often times, this relationship happens over time. It happens only rarely that such a difference is gained from a short time or experience.
That is what happened to the LHS family in 2003 over a relatively short period with Dr. John Egan. Toward the end of summer, 2003, Lutheran High School had a vacancy at the leadership position of the school. Timing was such that it would have been difficult at best to call a new principal. LHS needed an administrator who could model Christian leadership, maintain the quality of the educational experience and to “calm the waters” from a difficult time in our school’s history; to restore unity. An interim administrator seemed like the best option.
Dr. John Egan’s name was submitted to Rev. Darrel Bergelin, Chairman of the LHS Board. Dr. Egan had recently retired from the Kohler School District as their Superintendent. Subsequent interviews with Board and Faculty were held. Dr. Egan came across as a very competent, proven school leader, a clear-thinking individual, proficient in school administration, very willing to listen and learn about LHS. It was difficult not to instantly like him and feel a clear comfort level with him.
Were there concerns? Dr. Egan was an active Catholic. LHS was a Lutheran school. How would that fit? Dr. Egan immediately assured Faculty and Board he would not interfere with anything religious in nature. He would confine his work to the school administration and support Faculty and Staff in the theology areas. He shared his thoughts and his philosophies and won people over quickly.
It became obvious, Dr. Egan was the answer. Pastor Bergelin shared his thoughts on Dr. Egan. “Dr. Egan was warm and friendly, eager to meet students, parents and faculty. He never came across as knowing the only way to do things; he was a team player yet led with authority by putting his viewpoint across quietly. He learned students’ and parents’ names easily; visited regularly with faculty; it just seemed like he had been here for 20 years. It was a great year for LHS!
Dr. Jim Pingel, the Administrator who followed Dr. Egan, shared his thoughts on working with and following Dr. Egan. “No matter how long it’s been since you’ve seen John, you feel like you can pick up and talk just like close friends. Usually when you have an interim administrator, he or she just works hard to make sure the trains run on time. John did way more than that. He helped a faculty and staff heal and come together as a team. He built a smooth runway for me when I came to serve as LHS’s Executive Director. I will always remember him for his kindness, support, and warm advice. He helped make me a better administrator and leader, and he did it in a most humble and selfless way.
Dr. Egan’s legacy in that short one school year’s time frame would certainly be that he successfully advanced LHS through some troubled times while restoring integrity, school spirit and unity. Upon his conclusion to the school year, at graduation, Dr. Egan was awarded a standing ovation of thanks and presented with an honorary diploma. God knew our needs at LHS and provided a servant in Dr. Egan. We are thankful for his time with us and will forever call him “Friend of LHS”.
Dr. Egan—In His Own Words
How were you made aware of the Opening at LHS?
The 2003-04 school year was beginning – and I had retired from the Kohler School District on June 30, 2001, as the Kohler School District Superintendent. In August of 2003, Pastor Darrel Bergelin contacted me and inquired if I might be interested in helping at Lutheran High for a brief time as their Board of Directors conducted a search for a new Administrator. He thought they would need my help until January, 2004. I recall telling Pastor Bergelin that being a Catholic was no conflict for me if it was no conflict for his Board of Directors. Obviously, this quickly became a mute issue. To my recollection, I began at Lutheran High with the beginning of the 2003-04 school year.
What challenges did you see facing you as you began?
I feared that the biggest challenge would be cementing my relationship with the staff and students. Most, if not all, were seasoned employees of Lutheran High. Guess I feared the ‘territorial’ aspect the most. And, of course, the inner feeling that they might view me skeptically – not being a member of the Lutheran Church. Needlessly, this insecurity never came to fruition. They welcomed me openly and integrated me quickly into their group. Once one has the support of the employees, the other pieces fall into place.
What was it like being an administrator working with faculty, staff, students, and boards in a different environment after so many years at Kohler?
There are more similarities than dissimilarities. The bottom line is that both settings are there to help students move on successfully into life.
Your impression of the students, staff, parents, atmosphere:
One could not ask for a more welcoming group. Mrs. Kathy Van De Kreeke, my personal secretary, was a gift from heaven, along with Mrs. Laska. Mrs. Pederson and Mrs. Sabrowsky. They were key to setting the positive tone for the high school students. Mr. Chuck Benedum, administrative staff, was key in assisting me with multiple duties and working effectively in the area of curriculum, development and recruitment. Mr. Jason Zielinski, principal, was also a significant part of my time there.
The Lutheran High students were impressive – in my brief time there, I got to know most of the students by name. Sure, there were challenges in handling typical negative teenage behavior…yet how exciting when a student turns the negative behavior around and realizes that you were there as a ‘helping hand.’
One thing unique about LHS was the time before school started each day. When students arrived earlier, they would spend time together at their lockers and stand around or sit on the floor, etc., until the bell rang for going to their classrooms. It was therapeutic for me to walk through the halls and get to know the students by name. Also, getting to know than by name was important – so I had a large poster on my door with their pictures on it – helping me to cement their faces and names into my memory.
The LHS parents could not have been more welcoming. At art shows, music programs, basketball games, etc., I was able to learn who they were – and connect them back to their daughters/sons. Many parents thanked me for assisting at LHS until a permanent administrator was hired. How easy it was for me to say: “Thank you – I am the lucky one.”
Previous work experience prior to LHS:
Received my bachelor’s degree from St. Meinrad College, St. Meinrad, Indiana, education credits from UW-Oshkosh, Master’s Degree from UW-Milwaukee, Specialist Certificate in Educational Administration and Doctor of Philosophy Degree from UW-Madison.
My work experience includes teacher in Catholic elementary schools, elementary school teacher for Waukesha School District, junior high principal for Adams-Friendship School District, Principal-District Administrator for Stone Bank School District, Superintendent for North Fond du Lac School District, and Superintendent for Kohler School District. Adjunct instructor in Educational Administration for Lakeland College and Marion College – Fond du Lac.
Post work experience after LHS:
Did adjunct teaching and actively involved in ‘Human Concerns-Social Justice Committee’ work for various organizations.
Karen and I have two daughters and four grandchildren. One lives in Madison and the other one lives in New York. Respectively, one works for the State of WI Pharmacy Organization, and the other is a Bi-Lingual Speech Therapist for Nazareth College in Rochester, New York.
What prompted you and your wife to create the John and Karen Egan scholarship:
Education has been a priority in our lives. Both of us have our advanced college degrees and our daughters, too, have received their advanced degrees. Knowing how important advanced education is for the youth of today and the importance of helping others, we decided to annually recognize a student from LHS and a student from Kohler High School who best exemplified the words of Mahatma Gandhi: “You must be the change you wish to see in the world.”
An earlier version of this article published in the Spring 2022 Leader's Guide mistakenly excluded Mr. Jason Zielinski as principal during Dr. Egan's tenure. We apologize for the mistake and have included it in John Egan's first impressions.
Jackson Holzheimer, is an active and involved student at Lutheran High School. He is involved in the technology department, lunch crew, pep club, and assists the athletic director when he is not playing basketball, football, baseball and golf.
When asked if he has any advice for a student considering Lutheran High School, he responded saying, “It’s like a family second to none, the people here are amazing. Having teachers that care for you daily, not just about your school life but also for you as a person.”
To those who are unsure if Lutheran High School is the place for them, Jackson believes that Lutheran offers opportunity for you to be involved in more programs than any other school in this area. He said, “you can be involved in anything you can imagine.”
Four years ago, Jackson was quoted in the Junior Crusader saying that teachers are friendly and “encourage you with your God-given talents,” and that he was surprised that the teachers were more focused on hands on learning in real-time than just teaching from a book. He responded to his past quote by saying he still believes it. It’s “even more accurate than before. I would like to add that being here for the past three-and-a-half years, Lutheran High has had and will always have a positive impact on my life. Not only educationally, but spiritually as well.”
Lake Country Academy’s Marcus Larsen is another example of a student who is making an impact on his community. He is involved, is a leader, and is well-known in the school. Marcus is involved in Band (and formerly jazz band) in every drama that takes place, Forensics, National Honor Society and serves as the President of Interact Club, an affiliate of the Rotary. “Every morning, I’m excited to begin a new day at Lutheran High, to have a chance to interact with all of my teachers and friends. I am always happy to be in Band where I get to play beautiful music with a group of peers. I also love studying the Word of God and learning about the universal Church in Theology. And of course, being able to solve problems with the Tech. Dept. is a great way to end each day before I return home,” Marcus said.
Marcus says that Lutheran High is a great decision, “from the college-prep curriculum to the extracurricular opportunities, you will be well-prepared for whatever you pursue beyond high school. And, of course, Lutheran High establishes for you a firm foundation in God’s excellent Word, a basic and essential way to let His grace pour into your life for the rest of your life.”
Ambryn Diener, who was home schooled before attending Lutheran High School, has been heavily involved in both athletics and other extracurriculars. “I am involved in Cross Country, Soccer, Student Council, National Honor Society, Band, Konzertchor, Chamber Choir, Pep Club, and the Spring Musical.” Her energy, she says, comes from the opportunities to be this involved and use her God-given gifts to share with others.
When asked about advice she would give to someone considering Lutheran High School, she said, “DO IT! Lutheran High is a high school that welcomes students from a variety of backgrounds. As a homeschooled student in middle school, I came into Lutheran High not knowing many people, but people welcomed me right away. If you are thinking about attending Lutheran High, I encourage you to get involved in extracurricular activities. These groups within the school will become your second families and will become your peer support system the rest of high school.” If you are not sure she says, “Pray about it. God will lead you where he sees you fit. Before saying no to Lutheran, I recommend taking a tour and shadowing a day during school hours. Students and teachers can also speak confidently and personally from their expereinces at this school.”
“I realized how thankful I was for [those who graduated before me], for their welcoming attitudes toward me. Now that I am a senior, I see it as my job to be the welcomer to newcomers.” And even when there is a lot of homework, “it all comes down to time management and how much effort you are willing to put into school.”
Matt Walz, is involved in Chamber Choir, National Honor Society, Soccer, Basketball, Track, Konzertchor, Chamber Choir, Spanish 4 and has gone on the choir tour. He believes that being involved is one of the greatest ways to get energy from the Lutheran High experience because of the supportive community.
When asked about advice for someone considering Lutheran High, he said, “Lutheran High is a great school and the most important part is being able to talk about God. Everyone has that in common and it is very beneficial. Faith really is the difference and it makes high school better.”
Four years ago, Matt noted the high academic standards and the expectations in choir. And even now, as a senior, he doesn’t dread going to classes, he’s energized for the challenge. “The community [in high school classes and extracurriculars] is much more apparent. Community is often hard to see while you are experiencing it, but looking back, you know it was there.”
Mike Scheele poses with family at celebration for 100 wins
Mike Scheele, celebrated 100 wins as girls basketball head coach in January. He said, “It was a special moment achieving 100 wins as varsity head coach. Although number 100 focused on that particular night, it was for all of the players that I have coached during my career. And although the wins have been special, the relationships that I have, and continue to have, with my past and current players are more meaningful to me. To God be the Glory."
This is Scheele's tenth year as the Varsity Head Coach. He began coaching varsity when his daughter, Ashely, was a senior.
Alumni came to the event to celebrate with Coach Scheele
Coach Nick Verhagen poses with his family during a celebration for his 200th win as varsity coach.
Nick Verhagen Boys Varsity Basketball coach recently passed a new milestone as the Boy's Varsity Head Coach. After 200 wins he stated, “I am fortunate to have been supported by hardworking assistant coaches [and] many talented student athletes who have committed themselves to our program the last ten years.”
Verhagen, who has now been the Boy's Varsity coach for 10 years, began coaching at Lutheran High School 15 years ago. He noted that it was Coach Todd Dekker who asked him to join his staff in 2006. He replied, [it is] "one of the best decisions I ever made and I am thankful to Coach Dekker for the opportunities I have had since joining the school and program."
Verhagen's son, Casey Verhagen, also reached a milestone by becoming the 3rd Crusader to reach 2000 points this season. Casey will be playing for Norther Michigan University next year.
On January 28, 2022, the Chamber Choir was one of only three groups asked to perform at the Annual School Choice Day event on the final day of National Lutheran Schools Week and National School Choice Week. This year, the event was hosted at Lambeau Field featuring UW System President and former Gov. Tommy Thompson as the keynote speaker with hundreds in attendance.
“The students and I were very honored to be a part of a great event," said Matthew Thiel Director of Sheboygan Lutheran High School's Band and Choir. "The Wisconsin Parental Choice Program has provided opportunities for many families to have their children receive not only a great education from Sheboygan Lutheran, but receive the Good news of the Gospel every day of their lives for four years. Being able to share what Lutheran High is about both as a way of saying 'Thank you' to those who started the program and as a way to promote the arts and Sheboygan Lutheran High School was wonderful."
The choir sang three songs including “Ride On, King Jesus”, “In Dulci Jubilo”, and “The Lord Bless You and Keep You” under the direction of Matthew Thiel. The event was held to encourage more schools to enter the Wisconsin Parental Choice Program, show legislators how the movement is growing in the state, and recognize the accomplishments of schools, parents, and children working together for the future of education. Serving children during these challenging times has revealed the importance of empowering parents with educational options.
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Big East Honors Band & Choir
The Big East Honors Band and Choir selections were made just before Thanksgiving. A dozen LHS students were chosen to participate in the Honors Concert held at the Capitol Civic Center in Manitowoc on January 6.
Choir members included: Ambryn Diener, Ruth Eatherton, Jaidyn Poth, Hailey Schimberg, Matt Walz, John Kakuzi, Tony Schmitz, and Andrew Dirkse.
Band members included: Caden Solle, Jacob Schuh, Everett Poth, Ambryn Diener, and Ruth Eatherton.
Senior, Ruth Eatherton and Junior, Caden Solle, were also selected to perform with the WI State Honors Choir and State Honors Band respectively at the WSMA WI State Music Educators Conference in Madison in October.
Christian-Lutheran Co-op Team - State Champions on November 6th
The co-op team of Sheboygan Lutheran/Sheboygan Christian provided a lifetime worth of success—all in one season! The team finished with a sparkling 16-2-3 record under Coach Dan Oppeneer. Playing the home games this year at LHS, the schools combined to bring great fan support. The team’s defense was legendary with 80 saves in goals, only 13 goals allowed all year.
A season tie with Oostburg for the Conference Championship led to a State Championship rematch which would break that tie, once and for all. Who could forget the game summary: 0-0 at halftime; 0-0 at game’s end; 0-0 at the first overtime; 0-0 at the second overtime; a tie score at the overtime shootout and finally a 1-0 sudden death shoot out goal scored by LHS player, Tony Schmitz (who also played in goal and stopped the first Oostburg attempt in the sudden-death shootout). The first ever State Championship for the co-op team! Pep rallies, a County Board Honor appearance and of course the “gold ball” all highlighted the Championship.
Post Season Honors:
1st Team All Conference: (players from LHS) Nathan Richardson (who suffered a
late season broken leg) and Tony Schmitz
Honorable Mention: Caden Solle