Then and Now
The Lutheran High School Association of St. Charles County was incorporated in 1980 by six churches of The Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod. The congregations shared a dream to begin a high school as an extension of their own Lutheran elementary schools. Mr. Ron Holtmeier was called to serve as the school’s first administrator and given the task of opening the school. That vision became a reality in September 1982 when Martin Luther High School welcomed 12 freshmen and 5 sophomores to its temporary facilities at Holy Cross Lutheran Church in O’Fallon.
The second year started with 27 students and a new location at a vacant Catholic school adjacent to Duchesne High School. It was during this time that the first graduating class of 5 students received their diplomas in 1985, and the name of school was changed to Luther High School. In 1987 the Association entered into a purchase option agreement for a 20-acre truck farm on the present Mexico Road site. Mr. Holtmeier accepted a call to California, and Mr. Richard Craven was called to be the new principal of the school and its 78 students.
1988-1989 proved to be challenging years for the young school, which had now officially become Lutheran High School, St. Charles. The school was also informed that their lease on the current campus would not be renewed, so the Association exercised its option to purchase the Mexico Road property and secured an architect to design plans even before the land deal had closed. Classes for the 91 students were held at First Baptist Church in St. Charles until the new building was completed. Mr. Robert Storm accepted the call to become the school’s first Executive Director.
On January 14, 1990, the new campus of Lutheran High School of St. Charles County at 5100 Mexico Road was dedicated–just 360 days after closing on the purchase of the land. Later that year, Mr. Larry Marty was called to serve as principal. September 1991 marked the beginning of the 10th academic year, and the school enrollment reached 115. By 1995 enrollment had doubled, and the school began planning for the next stage of growth under the direction of the new Executive Director Mr. David Schlesselman.
Fall of 1996 marked the next phase of campus expansion with the groundbreaking on the new Commons and additional classrooms that would increase capacity to 400 students. By 1999 enrollment topped 300 students and construction was finally completed on the new addition. As the new millennium began, Lutheran High School continued to grow. Work on a new stadium and athletic field complex began in 2004 and was completed in 2006. Enrollment now surpassed 350 students.
From 2009 to 2013, Mr. Schlesselman, Mr. Marty and Athletic Director Mr. Gordon Bredow all retired. These three faithful workers served LHS since the early 1990’s and guided the growing school through many changes. Dr. Craig Ernstmeyer, Mr. Jon Bernhardt, and Dr. Doug Kuhlmann now serve in these positions. Two major changes occurred in 2011 when LHS became the first school in the area to introduce the use of iPads in the classroom, and the 4×4 intensive block schedule was implemented.
Nine Lutheran churches are now part of the Association, and students come from 28 different zip codes and 58 different churches. Lutheran High School has earned a reputation for excellence in preparing students for college and their careers. Over the years, the extracurricular program has grown to include 22 athletic teams, Robotics, drama, choir and orchestra, and a variety of clubs.
Although Lutheran High School has seen many changes since its beginning in 1980, the one thing that has not changed is the Christ-centered environment. Nurturing the spiritual growth of students through chapel, devotions, religion classes, prayer and a one-to-one relational community is and always has been the mission of LHS. As one alumna described Lutheran High School, “There’s a little bit of Jesus in everything they do.”