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.
P. Gabbert placed in Kalispell, MT who was then living in Brighton, CO.
Nineteen hundred eleven, what a memorable date in our lives twenty-five years ago. How confidently we looked in the future! To some, I hope, it brought their realization of their dream; to others, the opposite. Some are with their Savior whom they served faithfully, but a short time.
I pause and pay my respect to the memory of John Noerenberg. I had the privilege to seem him a few years before he passed into "The Great Beyond." I am living now in the congregation where years ago , our sainted classmate Rudolph Leuthaeser labored. I can see the fruits of his labors. His pastor once told me that he was all teacher, and one of the best they had. Such a remark brought tears of gratitude to my eyes. His scholars, now members; all speak of him as a good Christian teacher and leader. Hoping that, after we leave this vale of tears, the same can be said of us. "Blessed are the dead, which die in the Lord, for their works follow them." I visit his grave quite often. Asleep in Jesus, a blessed sleep. "Eia waren wir da." [Aha! There were we.] Others, like myself have left the ranks and joined the "Have Beens".
The greatest event in my service was the World War from 1917 to 1919. It was the undoing of my service, although I hung on until the Lord saw fit to take me from actual service and put me on the retired list, via a serious illness.
At the aforesaid time I was stationed at Stilleville, Illinois (perhaps Steeleville?). Up to that time all was well "On the Southern Front". At the time when war was declared we had dropped the German. But we were surrounded by Italians, who were miners in the neighboring villages. To make a long story in short, they marched in front of the teacherage on May second, 1917 and ordered me to close the school. They even tried to sing "America," but I was the only one who could sing. The congregation saw fit to send me out "West" to gain strength. This they did. Coming back in autumn I began to teach. I taught with a revolver in my hip pocket. No protection. One night they laid for me, but the ex-teachers heard about their shady dealing and without telling me, took me away where they couldn't get me. This delayed their ogre dealing. The fateful date came October 10, 1917. I had sent my family away and was staying at the home of a school-board member.
While preparing my Bible History on "The Beauties", they surrounded the house and gave me twenty-four hours to get out or to be tarred and feathered and hanged. As no protection was forthcoming from the government I was forced, 'midst tears and lamentation['] of officers of church to leave. At this time I had contracted "The Flu". I should have been in the hospital, but I could not. While very ill on the train I contracted a weakness of the lungs and asthma. I consulted a doctor. He did not know which sickness I had contracted. He gave me some medicine which resulted in making me nearly blind. Finally after a consultation, they decided to send me partly West[.] I accepted a call to Kansas. As the years went on I became worse, and finally after a most trying service, the doctor, at my last charge, advised me to go to Colorado.
As I could not serve under trying conditions I reluctantly accepted the Lord's bidding. I am feeling fairly well now, but must stay here. Stay out-of-doors and keep away from excitement & worry.
This, dear classmates, is in short the high light in my career. I deeply regret that I could not serve twenty-five years or serve the Lord forever in this world.
The Lord has blessed me with ten healthy children. Two are preparing for the ministry, one will begin preaching next year. I have a dear loving spouse who has faithfully stood by me and helped me fight the battles of life. May God reward her bountifully for it some day.
To those who are active as yet, I hope that they can round out another twenty-five years of service. May God grant it. Also, to our dear instructors who are still active may I wish the same. May God reward them bountifully for their blessed work. I pause also to respect the memory of our President, Director Weller and Professor Strieter and Professor Schuelke. To the rest, God bless and protect you and give you a peaceful evening of life. To one and all "Deo Duce" [With God for a leader], our motto (the class motto). Keep up the good fight and keep faith and yours be the crown of life at the close of the day's battle.
Image: School Desks, DQmountaingirl, uploaded via Flickr October 5, 2008, Creative Commons License