“Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” Proverbs 22:6

It started with a very sweet email request from the St. Matthew graduating class of 2018 who are now graduating from high school, asking if they all brought their high school caps and gowns from their various high schools, could they get a photo with the staff?

What evolved was endearing conversations and the reminiscing of special memories from a wonderful group of alumni.

As their former principal, I realized that I had an amazing opportunity to seek their reflective feedback, so I took this opportunity to ask the group for their input. Listed below are insights from various students as they looked back and reflected upon their high school journey as well as their experience at St. Matthew Lutheran School:

How did your experience at St. Matthew prepare you for high school?

"St. Matthew prepared me for high school in the best way possible. While my peers were struggling with homework loads and the course material, I found high school classes to be a breeze. This is largely due to the study habits that St. Matthew instilled in me at a young age, as well as the ability to handle larger assignments, such as Mrs. Weston’s research paper. Without the education that I received at St. Matthew, and specifically the research papers, I doubt that I would be able to deliver a fifteen minute memorized speech based off of a thirty-page research paper that I wrote earlier this year." Mya Kutz

"By attending St. Matthew from preschool through 8th grade, I was able to walk into high school with a strong foundation in Christ as well as be put in advanced classes thanks to the amazing teachers at St. Matthew." Katelyn Yeskie

"St. Matthew has prepared me so much for high school. I felt confident in all of my high school classes and understood most of the things that others were learning for the first time. For example, during my freshman year, everyone was just starting to learn about essays and outlines for research papers. Yet, I already knew that from middle school." Natalie Miller

“St Matthew did not only give me an advantage academically for my next four years but also spiritually. Even in my senior year I was still leaning topics I learned in my St. Matthew days. (To this day I still won’t use the “dead words".) It gave me the foundation of my faith that I really needed in a public school setting and taught me to turn to God when I really needed it.” Jessica Duff

"My experience at St. Matthew was truly an amazing one! Growing closer to God while also receiving an incredible education truly developed me all around. I can say with confidence that my education at St. Matthew over-prepared me for what I needed when I first started public high school, and that my transition was academically very smooth. The learning and skills that I had acquired were beyond that of most all of my fellow public school friends. The St. Matthew education that I received was truly the best of both worlds! I am so glad and thankful that my St. Matthew’s education allowed me to develop academically and spiritually, and I hope that St. Matthew’s can continue to do this for every student who walks into the building." Matthew Latzke

What is one piece of advice you would share with students at St. Matthew?

“Pay attention to Mrs. Weston’s class, especially the research paper! You will need these skills in high school and her explanation of everything is key for success!” Ryan Toss

“Don’t take anything for granted; you’ll miss the times you had with everyone. Show up to school everyday; do your best. Play in every sport because the time you have with your teammates will mean more than anything to you.” Jayden Brewer

“My advice is to join a club like Robotics or DECA as they prepare you more for college than most classes you will take in high school.”  Anthony Quittscheiber

“Strive to take the highest math class so that you can take Calculus in high school."  Alan Golden

“A piece of advice I would like to share is to not take the time spent at St Matt’s for granted. Not everywhere is going to be openly loving and as caring for their students as that place was for me.” Drake Wesenberg

“Participate in all the extra curricular activities you can, whether it’s playing a sport or getting involved with the musical.”  Zach Adams

“Enjoy every moment you have because it really does fly by. Feels like just yesterday I was walking the halls of St. Matthew.”  Caroline Dooley

“Don’t be afraid to try something new. If you have an interest in something, go for it! Expand out of your comfort zone and never be afraid to do so.” Lydia Veenstra

“Stay in touch with your friends that you make at St. Matthew. Besides God, they will be a constant in your life!” Reegan Rohman

God’s richest blessings, Class of 2018, upon the successful completion of your high school requirements! God has special plans for each of you, and it will be very exciting to watch Him continue to guide your individual journeys.

Love always in Jesus,
Mrs. Palka

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