Thursday, September 1, 2011

100 Years Ago #1


This article is part of a series written by educators from the college graduating class of 1911 upon their 25th college reunion in 1936. We are constantly facing changes in education, however you may be surprised to find some parallels between schools in 1936 and schools in 2011. I hope you enjoy some history of education, specifically Lutheran education.

The following words were originally shared via the Lutheran Education Association Administrators' Listserve by Greg Hassedahl, principal of Bethany Lutheran School in Overland Park, KS.

These words are from the graduating class of 1911 from Concordia University, Seward, NE upon their celebration of 25 years from graduation. The verbiage and punctuation is as they wrote it for their commemorative booklet from 1936. I added necessary [rough translations] from German.


G.F. Alpers placed in Altamont, IL who was then serving in Red Wing, MN.

My first call led me to Altamont, Illinois where I was installed on the last Sunday in August, 1911. I served in this place for nine years, or until 1920. During these years the enrollment was not less than fifty-six and one year I had seventy-two enrolled. My first pastor was Hartmeister [Hard master]. When Director Weller told us about our calls, he made the remark: "Hoffentlich ist er nicht so hart wie sein Name." [Hopefully he is not as hard as his name] Well, he was not. We always got along very nicely. During the entire time I have been in office, I have had four pastors. Three of these were "hart" [Hard]: first Hartmeister, second Burkhardt, third Meyer, and fourth Hardt.

On August 14, 1913 I was married to my ever faithful wife Anna, nee Hoebermann. She has shared joys and sorrows with me for the past twenty-three years. The Lord has blessed us with six healthy children, four boys and two girls. The oldest, Esther is at present assisting her mother with house work. She intends to take up studies again in the near future. Elwin, the oldest boy, is attending high school in Red Wing. He will be a Junior next year. He went though ninth grade in our parochial school and passed the State examination, so he has attended only one year thus far. Edmund and Doris and Kenneth are not as yet of school age.

In 1920 I accepted a call to my present location. The enrollment has been from thirty-one to fifty-five in the sixteen years I have been here.

My health has been quite good the entire years that I have been in office. Several times I was forced to remain out of school for a short time, but never longer than two weeks at one time.

A number of my former pupils hold responsible positions. A number are parochial teachers, several ministers, one bank examiner, business men, etc. And yet the main thing that I hope for is not that they gain prominence in this world but that they are faithful Christians, and, thank God, there are those. This the dear Lord has given us by His grace. "Die Sach und Ehr Herr Jesu Christ, Nicht unser, sondern Dein ja ist." [Special and honour Lord Jesus Christ, not ours, but yours yes is} Ja: [Yes] "Von Gottes Gnaden bin ich was ich bin und Seine Gnade an mir ist nicht vergeblich gewesen." [From God's grace I am what I am and His grace at me has not been futile].

G. Alpers


Image: School Desks, DQmountaingirl, uploaded via Flickr October 5, 2008, Creative Commons License

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