St. Matthew's marks its 50th year
JANESVILLE We thank you, Lord, for Christian parents
Who support the work done here.
Thank you, Lord, for faithful teachers,
Bringing us the Word each year.
Thank you for our congregation
For providing us a place
Where each subject that we learn is taught
In light of Jesus' grace.
—From a song written by Linda Moeller, dedicated to St. Matthew's Lutheran Church Pastor Mark Lindner, a strong supporter of the church school, who died in June
It's been 50 years since the St. Matthew's Lutheran congregation set up its own school in a single room.
The school has grown over the decades, and it's taking time to celebrate its 50th anniversary and the approximately 400 students who have passed through its doors.
This fall's enrollment is 88 in kindergarten through eighth grade with another nine in preschool.
The school is small but determined to let its light shine. That light is different from public schools, said longtime Principal Kevin Proeber, in that God is a part of everything students and teachers do.
"Every subject is taught in the light of God's Word. We are here to prepare our children for their lives here on earth but more importantly to direct their eyes to the life with their Savior in heaven," Proeber said
John F. Kennedy was still president when the school opened in 1962, but planning went back to 1949, according to a history provided by St. Matthew's.
The school opened with one paid teacher and a volunteer offering kindergarten through fourth grade lessons to 26 children.
Another teacher and grades 5-8 were added the next year.
The school started offering Pioneers youth groups for boys and girls in 1969. St. Matthew's joined the Lakeside Lutheran High School Federation in 1975.
A gym and membership hall as well as a new roof were completed in 1979.
Proeber joined the school as a teacher in 1987 and added the duties of principal in 1989.
A new, $1.6 million, nine-room school along with renovations to existing facilities opened in 2002.