Altamont Lutheran Interparish School    

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Altamont Lutheran Interparish School History

God’s grace has provided the means through which Christian Lutheran education has been provided to the youth of Bethlehem, Immanuel, St. Paul and Zion since their establishment. For the last twenty-five years Altamont Lutheran Interparish School has continued the tradition of providing this type of education for the youth of these congregations. We pray that the Lord will continue to bless our efforts as we work together in providing a quality Christian Lutheran education for a the children of Altamont. We hope that you enjoy reading the histories of the schools of Bethlehem, Immanuel, St. Paul, Zion and finally Altamont Lutheran Interparish School.

Bethlehem Lutheran School

In 1861, the congregation of Bethlehem Lutheran Church erected a building which served as both a church and a school until 1867 when the present church building was built. In 1873 the school enrollment was 123 students. Enrollment was so large by 1880 that the school was divided into two classrooms with confirmation class being taught in the attic. Two teachers were engaged to teach at that time. In 1884, one teacher again took over the entire school. At this time the upper grade room was enlarged and the lower grade room served as the confirmation class room.

In 1940, the English language began to be used in quite a few subjects as well as religion classes. In 1953, a second teacher again was hired and it become a two room school. The teaching of the German language was discontinued in 1954.

In December, 1958 the school building failed an inspection by the State Fire Marshall. Voters decided to make the most necessary improvements in order to keep the school open, hoping to build a new school soon. Immanuel Congregation approached Bethlehem in regards to school consolidation. In 1960 it was decided to drop the school consolidation idea and build a new school. In 1961 enrollment showed 51 students and the congregation decided to build a parish hall in connection with the new school.

On August 26, 1962, Bethlehem Congregation dedicated their new school building which contained three classrooms, office, restrooms, parish hall/gym and kitchen.

Twenty-five years later, in May of 1987, the Bethlehem Lutheran School closed and students began attending ALIS in August. In 1988, Bethlehem became a member of ALIS.

Teachers who served at Bethlehem Christian Day School:

Mr. George Wolf Mrs. H. W. Hoemann
Mr. R. H. Trieber Mr. G. Faster
Mr. C. F. Rosseau Mr. Heiko Hicken
Mr. J. Lenz Mr. Theodore Deffner
Mr. H. W. Hoemann Mr. Walter Buethe
Miss A. Bohde Mr. C. F. Niewedde
Miss Minnie Will Mr. Fred Eberhard
Mr. Henry Kiehl Mrs. Ruth Zahnow
Mr. Walter Baden Mrs. Walter Baden
Mrs. Margaret Flachsbart Mr. Elmer Mueller
Mr. James Russell Mrs. Beth Gefaller
Mrs. Cathy Frailey Miss Gladys Haack
Mrs. Charles Leider Miss Doreen Betterman
Miss Marilyn Hesse Miss Brenda Mundt
Miss Beverly Friedrichs Mrs. Mary Zumwalt
Mrs. Barbara Hudgins

Immanuel Lutheran School

Immanuel Congregation has been a strong supporter of the Christian Day School from its very beginning. At first, the pastors also served as the teachers. The first house of worship also served as the school building. In 1905, a school building was erected behind the church. Later, in 1928, a school building was purchased for $250, rebuilt, and added to the existing school for a second room. The first called teacher was Teacher George C. Alpers, who was installed on August 27, 1911. A second teacher was added with the addition of the second building. Another "first" in the history of the congregation was that Miss Berniece Roberts was the first woman teacher in Immanuel School, being engaged to teach in 1928.

The Cornerstone for a new, modern school building was laid on July 26, 1959. This building was dedicated on Sunday, January 31, 1960. The total cost of this project, including land and other items, was approximately $200,000. The final payment on the school was made in 1966. In 1973, Immanuel Congregation entered upon an arrangement with St. Paul Lutheran Congregation (Blue Point), Altamont, to support a joint-school – the Altamont Lutheran Interparish School. St. Paul Congregation added two new classrooms to the structure.

Immanuel Teachers:

George Alpers 1911-1920 Paul Schmandt 1920-1943

Temporary Teachers from 1928 through the 1930’s

Miss Berniece Roberts Miss Irene Nevendorf
Ewald Shuricht Emil Geistfeld
Urban Ewald Elwood Tolch
Erwin Fechner W. J. Flachsbart 1943-1955
Mrs. Ernest Heiser 1955–1956 Sandra Rohrbach 1955–1956
Eric Rotermund 1942-1957 Mrs. Karl Jesquarz 1956-1980
Mrs. Harold Muchow 1957-1958 Richard Popp 1956-1975
Elroy Heimsoth 1958-1965 Mrs. Rose Popp 1960-1974
Mrs. Erwin Moehring 1961-1963 Mrs. Jacob Ousley 1962-1963
Bruce Blakelock 1963-1964 Nancy Geiss 1963-1964
Verlin LeFevere 1964-1965 Judy Rieck 1964-1965
Robert Collin 1965-1966 Herbert Becker 1965-1986
Valerie Voight 1967-1969 Mrs. Donald Sheely 1969-1970
Frederic Lams 1970-1972 Mrs. Monica Leschke 1972-1974

St. Paul Lutheran School

On October 31, 1869 a constitution was adopted officially establishing St. Paul Ev. Lutheran Church of Blue Point. One of the congregation’s first actions was to start a Christian Day School to be taught by their pastor, J. Heiniger.

In 1910, a school was built which served as a one room school until November, 1962, when the congregation resolved to divide the school into two classrooms, grades 1-3 and 4-8.

With the beginning of the 1963-1964 school year, the congregation decided upon a hot lunch program sponsored by Herman Wachtel.

In early 1973, St. Paul Blue Point and Immanuel, Altamont formed Altamont Lutheran Interparish School in Altamont. St. Paul paid for the addition of two rooms to the school at a cost of $40,000. The school at St. Paul was discontinued and the students were taken to the Interparish School. Teachers Lowell Janssen and Jeri Larson were also called to the new school. The old school building was used for Sunday School classes until it was demolished in 1995 to make room for the new parish hall which was to be constructed.

A Christian Day School has been provided for the children of the congregation for the entire 129 years the congregation has existed.

Until 1918 the pastors served as teachers of the school. Since that time the following teachers have served either as called teachers or interns:

Mr. B. Rueben 1918-1919 Mr. J. E. Bartels 1919-1927
Mr. Otto Mueller 1927-1940 Mr. Fred Eberbach 1940-1942
Mr. Herbert C. Rathe 1942-1943 Mr. Arthur Opfer 1943-1949
Mr. Walter Flachsbart 1949-1950 Mr. Laird Ehlert 1950-1952
Mr. John Nickerson 1952-1953 Mrs. Gladys Heiser 1953-1954
Mr. Norman Venz 1954-1963 Mr. Richard Stamm 1963-1967
Mrs. Joanne Stamm 1963-1967 Mr. J. Thomas Waldkoetter 1967-1969
Miss Carol Gerth 1967-1969 Mr. Lowell Janssen 1969-1973
Mrs. Linda Janssen 1969-1973 Miss Sharon Wegner 1971
Miss Ruth Hueman 1971-1972 Miss Jeri Larson 1972-1973

Zion Lutheran School

Zion Lutheran School was organized in 1887, before the Congregation had been formed. On April 16, 1893, Zion congregation formed and held worship services in the school building. In 1920, Albert Will gave new benches to the Zion school. In 1922 the Zion Church building was dedicated so the school was now used exclusively for school classes. In 1931, the Ladies Aid started a fund for a new school. The new school was dedicated in 1938, complete with electricity, which was also installed in the church parsonage at that time.

The school was closed for a period of time but reopened in 1956 with Gladys Heiser as teacher. Pastor Rozak taught the religion classes. That same year, an outlet from the school basement was built on the north end. In 1972 Zion school closed and children began attending Altamont Lutheran Interparish School. Zion became a corporate member of ALIS in 1989.

Teachers at Zion Lutheran School were as follows:

Teacher Wishop Emma Campe 1887 Pastor Karl Mende 1893-1901
Pastor H. W. Endeward 1901-1910 Pastor R. Herman 1910-1917
Pastor P. A. Wagner 1917-1920 Pastor Karl Krotke 1920-1930
Pastor Kloehn 1930-1944 Pastor Weinrich 1944-1955

Went to other public or parochial school

Gladys Heiser 1956-1957 Rose Popp 1957-1960
Gladys Heiser 1960-1973  

Altamont Lutheran Interparish School

When the four Lutheran churches (Bethlehem, Immanuel, St. Paul, Blue Point, and Zion) were established in and around Altamont, they provided for their children’s Christian education by establishing grade schools.

Immanuel Lutheran operated a school with three teachers. The enrollment was high. Since they had to build larger facilities, it was decided to try to consolidate the four schools into one system. Altamont Lutheran Interparish School became a part of God’s work in July 1972. Immanuel, Altamont, and St. Paul, Blue Point, were the original members of A.L.I.S. This union was the result of many years of meetings among the area Lutheran churches (Bethlehem, Immanuel, St. Paul (Blue Point), and Zion). As early as the late 1950’s there were discussions held among those four churches. In 1964 the Central Illinois LC-MS District conducted a survey of the area about the possibilities of forming A.L.I.S. In April, 1967, representatives of the four churches formed the Interparish School Committee. After many meetings two congregations (Bethlehem and Zion) asked to be dropped from the Committee with the option to come in later.

On October 17, 1971, a joint Voters’ meeting was held at Immanuel, with representatives from Immanuel and St. Paul. Monthly meetings were held by the Interparish School Committee and at the July, 1972, Voters’ meeting of both churches the Constitution of A.L.I.S. was approved. It was agreed that Immanuel would contribute their current building and St. Paul would contribute the addition of two classrooms to that building.

The first meeting of the Board of Directors was February 27, 1973. Members of that Board were President Harry Beccue, Vice-President Willard Kopplin, Secretary Leo Stuckemeyer, Treasurer Jewel Jenne, and members Harold Campe, Ron Hoffmeister, and Clem Wendling. During the April 12, 1973 meeting calls were issed to the teaching staff for the 1973-1974 school year. The faculty in 1973 was as follows:

Kindergarten Mrs. Rose Popp
First Grade Mrs. Ruth Jesgarz
Second Grade Miss Jeri Larson
Third-Fourth Grade Mrs. Monica Jeschke
Fifth-Sixth Grade Mr. Lowel Janssen
Seventh Grade Mr. Richard Popp
Eighth Grade-Principal Mr. Herbert Becker

Two teachers were added to the staff. Florence Duckwitz was hired as cook. A budget of $58,000 was proposed for the 1973-1974 school year. The first classes began in August of 1973 for the 170 students from the two churches.

In June of 1975 Richard Popp announced his retirement after 40 years in teaching. He spent 20 of those years at Immanuel and A.L.I.S. Herbert Becker accepted a new call at the end of the 1986 school year. He had served as principal since A.L.I.S. was formed. He had also taught at Immanuel since 1965. Richard Stamm accepted the call as the second principal of A.L.I.S.

Even in 1975 there was discussion with Bethlehem and Zion about entering A.L.I.S. With the start of the 1988-1989 school year Bethlehem became a full member of A.L.I.S. Zion next joined A.L.I.S. at the start of the 1989-1990 school year.

To accommodate the additional students from the Bethlehem and Zion congregations a major building project was undertaken in the summer of 1989. Four classrooms were added to the north end of the building and two classrooms, teacher lounge, and storage at the center of the building. The exterior looks were completely changed with the addition of a pitched roof (that doesn’t leak). Each grade now has its own room plus a computer lab and a band room.

In 1990 A.L.I.S. accepted the offer of Dr. D. G. Huelskoetter to donate the Frog Pond Pre-School to A.L.I.S. Frog Pond is not operated as part of A.L.I.S. rather it is rented to three ladies to operate. These ladies have done a lot to promote A.L.I.S. and Christian education to their students. Frog Pond is quite an asset to A.L.I.S.

During the summer of 1997 the kitchen area of the school was extensively remodeled and a small addition was added to the southeast corner of the building. The addition contains storage and a walk-in freezer-cooler. With new counters, cabinets, and stove it is quite an improvement.

During these 25 years of A.L.I.S. many church organizations and individuals have given generously of their time and money. The Ladies Aids and Men’s Clubs have purchased many items for A.L.I.S. The PTL has organized or helped with fund raisers for meeting the students’ needs. The PTL Dinner Auction has become an annual event since 1974. These funds and additional matching funds from AAL have purchased new computers, playground equipment, etc.

In 1998 Altamont Lutheran had ten teachers for one hundred seventy-seven students plus three pastors for confirmation instruction. They were as follows:

Pastor of Bethlehem Rev. Geoffrey Robinson
Pastor of Immanuel Rev. Fred Muenchow
Pastor of St. Paul Rev. David Speers
Kindergarten Mrs. Jana Deadmond
First Grade Mrs. Connie Mathias
Second Grade Mrs. Ruth Ann Spilker
Third Grade Mrs. Elaine Kopplin
Fourth Grade Mrs. Mary Zumwalt, Asst. Principal
Fifth Grade Mrs. April Stuemke
Sixth Grade Mr. Carl Benning
Seventh Grade Mr. Garry Wolff
Eighth Grade Mrs. Judy Milleville
Principal Mr. Robert Kassel

We also had one secretary, Carolyn Hankins, two cooks, Joann Koss and Rosie Rexroad, custodiams, Rev. Ron Crank and family, and many volunteer helpers.

During the 25 years of A.L.I.S. 409 students have graduated. We have had 30 teachers. There have been 10 different pastors involved with A.L.I.S. from the four member congregations. Also 70 men have given many hours serving as members of the A.L.I.S. Board of Directors. The work of the Lord has been promoted by the giving of these workers in Christ.

In response to the forgiving love of Jesus Christ and through the work of the Holy Spirit, the philosophy of A.L.I.S. is to equip God’s children to serve as responsible Christians here on earth and prepare them for life eternal in heaven.

We thank the Lord for allowing us to provide a Christian education to our students. May our students and graduates continue to serve and praise their Lord!