Why St. James

  • Photo for Nancy Sattler
    Nancy Sattler
    Public School Teacher
    As I grew up, although I was an ELCA Lutheran, I never knew Lutheran schools existed. I majored in elementary education at Purdue. I became an elementary teacher in the public schools. I married my husband, Dave.   He, his siblings, his parents, and grandparents all attended St. James School. Fast forward to our first child ready to enter kindergarten.  I was unconvinced.  I was a skeptic.  I was armed with every argument in the book for our children to attend public school.  After all, that was "who" I was. Then...........I met the staff.  Then.........I felt the love.  Then..........I saw the faith.   A combined 36 school years later (4 children x 9 grade levels) I am one of the school's most outspoken supporters.  I currently serve on the St. James school board, 1 of my daughters is a Lutheran school teacher, and 6 of my grandchildren have attended Lutheran schools.  After a dedicated 30 year career in public education, I still strongly believe in the mission of St. James school. Faith, community, personal attention, unparalleled opportunities in music, drama, sports, and academics, and life-long relationships are all the characteristics that make St. James such a special place for children.   Thank you, Lord, for the blessing of this special Christ-filled school that guides and nurtures young minds, bodies, and souls
  • Photo for Grace Gillespie
    Grace Gillespie
    Public School Teacher
    I went to St. James School myself, and my husband and I sent our 3 children to St. James Lutheran School also.  I have been asked many times if I see a conflict between teaching in the public schools and sending our children to St. James.  I had to grapple with the decision when teachers and administrators questioned me.  I am a strong proponent of the public schools.    I strive to be a role model for my students.   For my own children though, I wanted the best possible education for them. That education would be focused on Jesus Christ.   I wanted them to be steeped in the Lutheran theology, Bible verses, and a faith that is unshaking when times are tough.  I wanted Jesus Chris taught throughout the day, in all subjects, in all applications. I am pleased that St. James is even more than that for its students.  The academics are proven with many, many students going into honors classes in high school.  The well-rounded student can be involved in many activities including choir, band, scouts, drama, and sports.  Going to school with the same class throughout grade school and junior high builds a camaraderie between students and families that continues into adulthood.    I know that we made the right decision to send our children to St. James Lutheran School.  We are blessed to have a school that strives to be the light of Jesus’ love in our community!
  • Photo for Brandon & Desiree Keiper
    Brandon & Desiree Keiper
    Parents of Students who Transferred from Other Area School
    It was a tough decision to move all three of our children to a new school and our oldest child was really unhappy about the change.  However, we knew we made the right decision the day we met with the teachers at St James.  They were warm and so understanding of the emotions that children experience when going to a new school and they made our kids feel welcome and safe.  The entire staff made the transition much easier for us all and I am happy to say that all of our children LOVE school.  The quality of Christ centered education they are getting at St. James is exceptional!   In our current society where violence and hate seem to be the focus, it is nice to know that our children are surrounded by caring people of faith and high moral values in safe loving environment.  St. James has been such a blessing and has strengthened the faith of our entire family in ways we never expected! 
  • Photo for Daniel R. Sunkel, M.D.
    Daniel R. Sunkel, M.D.
    Parent of St. James Students
    After moving to Lafayette several years ago and starting our family, my wife Helen and I were faced with deciding into which school we should enroll our children. We were members of St. James, but both my wife and I had attended public schools and were uncertain about the benefits of a parochial school. We worried that St. James might not offer the depth and breadth of educational experiences that we wanted our children to have. We chose St. James, and all three of our children completed their education at St. James. We can state without reservation that our concerns have been dispelled. St. James offers a strong program across all age groups. First, the excellent pre-school programs make for a comfortable transition into the primary grades (K-2) for both students and parents. Teachers get to know the students and their families very well, setting a strong educational foundation. Second, in the middle grades (3-5) get opportunities in science, computer technology, and music that other schools cannot match. In addition, these students benefit from daily contact with upper grade students who can serve as academic and Christian role models. Finally, the upper grade (6-8) students are challenged academically. The classroom and extra-curricular program builds confidence, spiritual maturity, and leadership skills that serve them well as they progress to high school and college. We hope your family takes the opportunity to learn and grow at St. James Lutheran School.
  • Photo for Kristy McCain
    Kristy McCain
    Parent of St. James Students
    Here are the 5 fabulous things, I share when someone asks me why St. James School was the right choice for our children’s education: God’s Word being shared every day, throughout the day at school, helping children grow in their faith and personal relationship with Christ. Amazing staff who personally know and care about each child and are committed to helping each child reach their potential. Community of families working together to help each other raise Christian children.  It does take a village to raise a child, and SJS is a village with families of similar values who support each other in this awesome responsibility. Excellent academics that prepare children for high school, college, life, and eternity. Numerous opportunities that develop the whole child including choir, band, sports, scouts, cheerleading and drama.  With a “no-cut” policy all children are encouraged to participate in all activities they are interested and find their passions and talents.
  • Photo for Joy and Jason Plassard
    Joy and Jason Plassard
    Parents of St. James Students
    We send our children to St. James for so many reasons.  Yes, the small class sizes are great.  Having a Christian community of families to lean on is wonderful.  The music and athletic programs at St. James have given my kids an opportunity to not only participate, but thrive.   We know the teachers love the students.  They continually go above and beyond to help our kids succeed.  How many schools can boast that!  The most important reason we send our kids to this school is peace of mind.  Let us explain:  We KNOW our kids are being taught by teachers who share our beliefs.  We KNOW that everything is being taught in light of God's Word. We KNOW that our most important responsibility is to equip our son and daughters to follow Christ and live their lives for His glory.  More than just having academic excellence, this school provides an atmosphere we crave for our kids  - a place where they are encouraged to love and serve their Lord while learning, growing, and living in this crazy world!     The most important thing that we as parents can pass on to our children is faith in God. In the end, nothing else really matters. We are so thankful the Lord has provided St. James Lutheran School.  It is a blessing we would not want to be without in this God-given, awesomely wonderful, and sometimes scary task of raising the children with whom He has entrusted us. 
  • Photo for Lisa and Tim Werth
    Lisa and Tim Werth
    Parent of St. James Students
    Our St. James!! Seven years ago our decision for our children to attend St. James Lutheran School was made for two main reasons.  First, we wanted our kids to attend a Christian School and, secondly, we were uncomfortable with our public school options.  We are not members of the congregation of St. James Church so we decided at that time we would take each year as a new beginning and re-evaluate our options.  The experiences of our children at St. James have made our evaluation process easier and easier with each passing year. A Faithful Experience The faculty at St. James has done a wonderful job of teaching the Word and helping our children grow in their understanding of their Christian faith.  Whether it be in the classroom, weekly chapel or in the many extracurricular opportunities, both Ben and Sarah, have shown growing confidence and interest in growing in their walk with the Lord. The Classroom Ben and Sarah are very different in their approach to school yet both have flourished under the direction of the St. James Faculty.  Small class sizes, up-to-date learning tools and faculty that is dedicated to their development have made the difference.  Whether it was extra tutoring in Math or improving confidence and leadership in classroom activities the faculty has been a large contributor to Ben and Sarah’s growth as people. Extra-Curricular Activities Whether be on-stage for a performance or on the basketball or soccer field the classmates, families and coaches from St. James improve the experience of the kids on a regular basis.  There are opportunities for our kids to grow in drama, choir and sports that have helped each improve their confidence.  Even through St. James is small there have been just the right amount of opportunities for our kids and we look forward to even more opportunities in the future. The St. James Family One of the most impressive attributes of the St. James experience are the families and children we encounter daily.  Our children have made great friends and we, likewise, have made great friends over the past years.  We have been welcomed into the St. James family while not belonging to the Church congregation.  We encourage any family, Lutheran or otherwise, to look at St. James as a great place for not just the growth of children but of the entire family.  We no longer re-evaluate each year but rather look forward to the upcoming year to see what new growth and challenges will be presented to us and how the St. James Family of faculty, students and parents will work together to do Gods will.
  • Ted and Carrie Hovermale
    Parents of St. James Students and Public School Teacher
  • Photo for Darrel and Stephanie Bossung
    Darrel and Stephanie Bossung
    Parent of St. James Student
    2 years ago, my husband and I were in panic mode as the school year was about to start in a week and our public school district informed us they might not have room for our young kindergartner.  We had several close friends who sent their children to St. James and they urged us to looked into the school "just in case".     At first we were unsure if St. James would be a fit for us, as we are not members of the church or even of Lutheran faith.  However, after meeting with a few staff members, we quickly decided that regardless if there was room at the public school, St. James was a better choice for our family.   There were several factors that went into the decision, with the most important dealing with the quality of education.  Our designated county school holds an A rating from the state, so quality wasn't something we were willing to compromise.  Having that distinction was almost like a seal of approval, the first hurdle in our quest to find a school. We soon found that everyone we encountered at St. James, from the lunch cooks to the teachers and other families---everyone places a high value on education.     Another appealing factor of why St. James, comes in the form of class sizes.  At first this was appealing from a practical standpoint--less students = more attention.  However we quickly learned that having small class size not only benefits the teaching of math, reading, science, but also allows for a more nurturing educational atmosphere.  It has also allowed our child to form bonds with her classmates, whom come from families who share the same values as we do.     I'd be re-missed if I didn't mention another factor that played in our decision, no matter how small it may seem.  As two working parents, the fact that school starts before the typical workday begins, was important to us. Having a start time of 7:50 allows us to get everyone where they need to be on time.   But more importantly, this allows us to walk our child into the classroom, interact with her teachers/classmates and have a pulse on what's happening at the school. We're grateful for that little time to get to know the St. James family and see first hand the spirit of school--- something we wouldn't be able to get from just reading a newsletter.     Many families have different stories, each one unique, of how they came to their decision. This is our story of why we initially came to the school, but it's a story that isn't finished, as we continue to add reasons of Why St. James.  
  • Photo for Stephanie and Donnie Fahler, M.D.
    Stephanie and Donnie Fahler, M.D.
    Lutheran Parents of St. James Students
    Growing up, I attended Woodburn Lutheran School in Woodburn, IN from Kindergarten to 8th grade.  Then, instead of attending the local public high school, my parents made the decision to send my siblings and I to Concordia Lutheran High School in Fort Wayne, IN.  I became the odd-ball-out in junior high because of this (2 out of our class of 18 went to CLHS), or at least that's the way I felt.  In turn, I became convicted in my Lutheran faith. I was prepared to defend my faith against the popular beliefs of the world.  I am thankful for the foundation laid by my parents and the 9 years of Lutheran grade school education for building that principle.   When my husband (Donnie) and I contemplated moving to Lafayette for Donnie's job, we had a 1 year old daughter, Evelyn.  Even at that point, we weren't thinking about what school district we would need to live in because we knew there was a Lutheran school in town. Without visiting the school, it was an unspoken between Donnie and myself that in a few years, Evelyn would go to school there. Now, some may say we were crazy for thinking this way.  In today's culture and expectations of the educational system, how could we choose a school without knowing much about it?  Would it provide the competitive edge our child "needs" versus other schools? What about the extracurricular activities?  How many stars or other accolades did it have? This simple answer is, it didn't matter to us.  We wanted our child to have a LUTHERAN education.  And there isn't another Lutheran grade school within an hour of Lafayette.   We were hopeful that St James would provide everything our child needed to be successful for the next phase of her life, including those things listed above.  But our priority was to "train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old, he will not depart from it." Proverbs 22:6 This includes what we teach her at home and what is then reinforced at school. What have we come to know about St James now?  Just ask my socially active kindergartener!  She will tell you about all her friends from her own class through the 8th graders.  She will tell you about the Bible story her teacher taught in class that day or who led the Wednesday chapel.  She will sing for you (over and over again :) the songs she's learning in her music class and now our whole family knows!  She will underline nouns and circle verbs in a sentence.  She will explain in detail who did what in gym and will show you what she typed in computer class.  She will put her hand on her heart and recite the pledge of allegiance.  Whether in public or at home, she frequently offers to lead our family in mealtime prayer and can be heard from the back of the church when saying the Lord 's Prayer on Sunday morning. I have no doubt that St James Lutheran School will prepare my child for high school, both in the educational realm and by laying the foundation of faith. Who knows if she will end up playing an instrument, performing theater, singing in a choir, playing multiple sports, or achieving valedictorian of her class.  What I do know is that she will HAVE THE CHANCE to do any of those at St James and more importantly, she will know that BY GRACE, she is a baptized child of the Lord and won't be afraid to share or defend it!  "Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is - His good, pleasing and perfect will." Romans 12:2