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Lake County Lutherans try again to open new school

New pastor charged with promoting the school

After a disappointing enrollment in 2016, leaders of an initiative to open a new Lutheran School in Gary have postponed that opening to August 2017. The Rev. Richard Boshoven, pastor of Trinity Memorial Lutheran Church in Merrillville and counselor to the Gary Circuit of Lutheran Churches says, “This year, the Lutheran School Corporation is working to achieve a 25 student registration for its kindergarten class and another 25 students for the first grade.”

From the fire sale of Hope Lutheran Church in Cedar Lake, Lake County pastors have released over $182,000 to form the Ascension Lutheran School in Gary. This will be the first Lutheran School in Gary since the Gary Lutheran School closed in the mid-1970’s. Boshoven added that the new school will start with kindergarten and first grade, and will add additional grade levels beginning in 2018.

Dr. Jon Mielke, superintendent of Lutheran Schools in the Indiana District of the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod in Fort Wayne, says, “We have been planning this project for nearly five years and it is exciting for the planners to finally see the school initiative come to fruition.”

The Rev. John Albers, who served for a time as pastor of Our Saviour’s Lutheran Church in Gary and is now president of the new school corporation, says, “Last year, the school corporation focused on how to create and organize a strong and successful school. This year, we are focusing on how Ascension Lutheran School can help build a great and successful community.”

The new school will be hosted by Our Saviour’s Church, 1150 West 49th Avenue at Pierce Street, which was once the building that was home to the former Gary Lutheran School. That school closed in 1976.

Mielke adds, “The idea of bringing a new school to Gary was based on a need to bring a high quality Christian education to that community.” He also says that the new school is unanimously encouraged and supported by all Lake County area Lu-theran Church-Missouri Synod congregations.

Named Ascension Lutheran School, the proposed new Gary institution has received significant boosts and accolades on several fronts. First, it has recognition and accreditation from the National Lutheran Schools, which arguably has a tougher standard of education excellence than does the Indiana State accreditation. It is also recognized as an Indiana Choice school, which allows parents to use state funds for the education of their children in parochial and private schools.

The Rev. Delwyn Campbell was installed as pastor of the historic St. John’s Lutheran Church at 10th Avenue and Taft Street in the Tolleston area of Gary on, January 8. Pastor Campbell is the mission development director for the Indiana District of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod. Pastor Campbell will also assume the role of pastor at St. John’s and a promoter of the new school.

Albers says, “The Gary area already has a lot of successful pre-school programs and Ascension is opening so these students can matriculate into a new level of high-quality education.”

For additional information and student enrollment, call Dr. Susan Zientara, principal at Ascension Lutheran School, at 219-887-5031.

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