Nearly 800 students in Jackson and Bartholomew counties came together Friday to celebrate National Lutheran Schools Week by demonstrating their faithfulness in God.

Students in fourth through sixth grade from five different schools spent the day at Trinity Lutheran High School in Seymour, where they participated in a variety of activities designed to bring them closer together in their faith.

Trinity students served as leaders, helping younger students build birdhouses, learn worship music, make and launch rockets, create an art project and collect and package donations for Clarity Pregnancy Services. There was also an assembly in the morning featuring guest speaker Pastor Travis Hartjen of Allen, Texas, and a worship service to conclude the day.

Participating schools were Immanuel Lutheran and St. John’s Sauers Lutheran, both in Seymour, Lutheran Central in Brownstown and St. John’s White Creek Lutheran and St. Peter’s Lutheran, both in the Columbus area.

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“The National Lutheran Schools Week celebration is an impressive display of the shared mission of the area Lutheran schools — to provide an excellent, Christ-centered education for the students in our care,” said Trinity Principal Ben Stellwagen.

“The dedicated staff and faculty at these schools benefit from a day of fellowship with their local colleagues, and we trust that the students are inspired to be proud of their school and thankful for the opportunities it provides,” he said.

Students, teachers, faculty and administrators of Lutheran schools in the area have much to celebrate and for which to be thankful, he added.

“The heritage of Lutheran education is a storied one, and this is a chance to be thankful for the visionaries in this community who established these schools and for the supporters who continue to make their mission possible,” he said.

Lutheran Central School seventh-grader Addie Shelton was glad for the opportunity to help wrap diapers and fold baby clothes to give to families in need. The students wrote out Bible verses to include with the diapers.

“You can spread God’s word even using simple stuff like the Bible verses on diapers,” she said.

The activity was the largest of the day, and each grade was assigned a specific item to bring, including diapers, pull-ups, wipes, towels, blankets, soaps, lotions and other childcare products. Clarity serves Jackson, Bartholomew and other counties in south central Indiana.

“This project last year produced Clarity’s largest in-kind donation of the year,” Stellwagen said. “We were told that Clarity just recently distributed the final donations from last year, so the new gifts are a timely way to restock their shelves. We are grateful for the generosity of our schools’ families in making such a large impact for the servants at Clarity.”

Addie said participating in National Lutheran Schools Week is important and something she looks forward to each year. She hopes to be able to serve as a leader when she’s in high school.

“If you have friends at the other schools, you get to see them, and even if you don’t, we can worship together and spread the good news of God,” she said.

This year’s theme was “Great is Thy Faithfulness,” and each activity was centered around building, singing, exploring, serving and showing God’s faithfulness.

“Much of the joy of the day is summed up by its sounds — the laughter of the morning assembly, the ding of hammers in the agriculture building, the voice of our song leaders, the pops and bangs of rockets in the science lab, the shuffle of organizing charitable donations and the quiet focus of the art project, all capped by 800 voices united in praise and thanksgiving at the closing worship,” Stellwagen said. “What a time to rejoice.”

Flossie Cooper, an eighth-grader at Immanuel Lutheran School, said being able to spend the day with other Lutheran students out of the classroom is a good way to change up their regular schedule and do something different.

“The activities have been fun and God-based,” she said. “We should be thankful we have these opportunities to come together and talk about God.”

Flossie said she has participated in National Lutheran Schools Week since she was little and has fun every year.

She said her favorite activity was the art project she worked on this year, which involved coloring in crosses and gluing them onto a poster with this year’s theme written on it.

Although she wasn’t a part of the project benefiting Clarity this year, she has helped in the past.

“It’s important to give back because God gave so much to us, and we should be grateful and give back because people could need it more than we do,” she said.

Emily Thompson, a junior at Trinity, said she spent her day helping students with the art project and directing them where they needed to be.

“Art is one of the most involved, and then you put it together as one,” she said of the activity. “It shows how everything can come together.”

The day required a lot of planning and work by all involved but was worth it for the end result, she said.

“It brings all of the schools together for one big event and shows how the community can become one,” she said. “Being able to see a day like this reminds us that things happen in a way you don’t always understand or see but God can make happen.”

Thompson said she is proud to attend Trinity and glad she can worship God with other Lutherans.

“This is a close-knit environment,” she said of the school.

Trinity junior Abby Moses said she also appreciates that she goes to a Lutheran school.

Although she helped with the eighth-grade art project, Moses said those students helping package donations for Clarity were truly serving God in faithfulness.

“As Christians, we are called to serve others, so collecting stuff for Clarity gives us a chance to show our love to others and what Christ is really about,” she said.

As an eighth-grader, she attended National Lutheran Schools Week for the first time and thought it was great to be able to worship with so many other students, she said.

“I think that it’s really great we bring all of the schools together,” she said. “In Christ, we are all united as one, and if we didn’t get together, we wouldn’t use that opportunity to grow and expand.”

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Aaron Piper is a photographer and reporter for The (Seymour) Tribune. He can be reached at or 812-523-7057.