On Tuesday, August 23, 2022, Lutheran West held a special dedication service and ribbon cutting to officially mark the opening of its new middle school.
Middle school parents were welcomed after student drop-off for donuts on the lawn outside the school building.
A Chapel service, the very first middle school Chapel service to ever be held at Lutheran West, took place in the Jochum Performing Arts Center. In attendance were Lutheran West's 80 students in grades 6, 7, and 8, along with school administration and middle school faculty members. They were joined by community leaders including the Mayor of Rocky River, Pam Bobst, and a group representing the Rocky River Chamber of Commerce. Mr. Kevin Creutz, Superintendent of Schools for the LCMS Ohio District and now current Lutheran West parent, as well as longtime Lutheran educator and pastor -- as well as former Executive Director of the CLHSA -- Rev. Dr. David Buegler spoke during the dedication service, as did Mr. Chris Steinmann '00, Superintendent & CEO of the Cleveland Lutheran High School Association and Mr. Michael Waugh '02, Lutheran West Principal.
In his remarks, Principal Waugh encouraged the middle school students to try something new this year -- to get out of their comfort zone and get involved with one or several of the many opportunities Lutheran West provides to its students.
Pastor Buegler officially installed new middle school faculty members (Mr. Dale Lehrke, Mr. Josh Pingel, and Mr. Brandon Buskirk), as called workers in the educational ministry of the Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod (LCMS) and prayed for all of the faculty, staff, and students entering the new middle school together.
Following the dedication service, the ribbon was officially cut by Mayor Bobst and Principal Waugh. The mayor took a moment after the ribbon was cut to candidly address the middle school students, encouraging them to write an email to her to tell her what they would improve in the community, and generously offering to have them contact her as a resource in their social studies courses.
Classes have begun Lutheran West's very first middle school students, with the eighty 6th, 7th, and 8th graders joining the 557 9th-12th graders in the high school, for a total of 637 -- the largest student body in the school's history.
Alumnus Mr. Jacob O'Hara '07 is serving as Dean of the Middle School. Lutheran West has served grades 9-12 since 1958, and has a long history rich with traditions. The middle school, O'Hara says, will build upon the identity of the high school, with the school pride, mission, and traditions of the high school evident in the culture of the middle school. Lutheran West will truly become a 6th-12th grade school. "Middle schoolers, however, says O'Hara, "have different needs, are at different social and emotional levels, and have countless other differences as compared to high schoolers. In planning the middle school curriculum, social events, and school culture, we've been very cognizant of these differences. The middle school will have its own uniqueness -- a culture and traditions just right for 6th-8th graders. The most important goal in developing the middle school's culture will be to build a community of kids who love and respect God, and also show that love and respect to one another and in their communities. If we achieve that -- which I know we can because I've seen it achieved at the high school for a long, long time -- we will only add to the many blessings our school and community already have."
Lutheran West's school administration is currently in the process of developing exciting plans for the future expansion of the school's campus and facilities. More news regarding future initiatives will be shared later this fall.