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New high school accepting students

The St. Paul Lutheran High School Association has started accepting applications for students for the 2012-13 school year.

Duane Giesselmann, head of the steering committee and former St. Paul Lutheran school principal, said the school will be holding three open houses next week for students and parents interested in the high school. They will have a video, applications available and be answering questions for anyone interested.

The open house events will be March 27 at 7 p.m., March 29 at 7 p.m. and March 31 at 10 a.m. They will meet at the front office at St. Paul Elementary.

Giesselmann said parents can either attend the open house or contact him individually to meet about getting an application.

He said the school has already had some families taking applications for the high school but is not sure how many students they will have when they start in the fall. They are anticipating nine students but can handle up to 20 to 25 without making too many adjustments. Saxony Lutheran in Jackson had seven in their first year, and Calvary Lutheran had eight their first year.

The long-term goal is about 100 to 125 students. The Farmington school is not expecting to ever have 1,000 students like Farmington High School.

“This is not just for students who have attended St. Paul Lutheran through the years. This is for anyone who wants to attend a Lutheran high school or send their child to a Christian high school,” said Giesselmann. He said plans call for the high school to begin classes in August 2012. They will have both freshmen and sophomore classes and grow to junior and senior classes as the initial students progress.

For the first couple years the high school students will be on the same campus as the elementary students. There are a couple of extra classrooms in addition to space in the current school building that could be used during part of the school day. They will have to hire some additional teachers and a principal.

Giesselmann went on to explain the goal is to be separate from the elementary school. Right now the plan is to make the white house by the old church office the main building for the high school and use some of the classrooms in the elementary building.

The first class will graduate in 2015. By then the high school should be accredited with the National Lutheran School Accreditation and Missouri Non-Public School Accrediting Association.

There will be three sources of funding for the high school. The congregation will be asked to pay fees for the association, a $10 annual fee for each adult member of the congregation. Second, tuition would be $6,500 for non-association students or $6,000 for association students. The third funding source will be an annual funding drive.

According to the school’s mission plan, there is no Christian high school alternative in St. Francois County. Students need to be academically challenged to reach their God-given potential. Christian students with similar values will encourage one another to set high goals and attain them.

Students would be required to participate in activities and school officials are hoping to have some sporting events. They know they will not have a football team, but they are hoping to have a smaller junior varsity golf, basketball, volleyball or track teams.

The high school will also have a rigorous college-prep curriculum. The goal is for 100 percent of graduating students to continue their education at either a two-year or four-year college or university, military service or trade school. The use of technology will be a strength of the high school, building on the programs already available at St. Paul Lutheran School.

Specialty classes, such as the highest level of math classes and foreign languages, that can not be provided locally, will be available by using the online curriculum available through Orange County Lutheran High School/California, one of the premiere Lutheran high schools in the United States. Qualified students will be able to complete college/university credits while in high school.

The school will differ from other existing schools by incorporating scripture in all areas of a college-prep curriculum presented by Christian instructors. A small school atmosphere will continue to provide students with the family feeling they have experienced in a Christian grade school. Students will be able to participate in academic teams, music competitions, athletics, National Honor Society and Student Council as part of their extra curricular activities.

“Offering educational choice is always a benefit to communities that want to grow. Parents and their children have such a variety of interests, needs, and values that just cannot be addressed except through educational diversity and choice. This high school will provide families in and near Farmington with the choice of academic excellence with meaningful, lasting personal relationships guided and nurtured by the Christian faith.

“Those school qualities will not interest everyone, but our studies showed that they are of great interest to some families who understand the need for them,” said Paul Brandt, who worked with the steering committee on the marketing plan.

Currently St. Paul Lutheran School has students from Farmington, North County, West County, Perryville, Ironton, Arcadia Valley and other outlying areas. The target coverage area for the high school is greater St. Francois County area, or anyone who would be interested in sending their child to a parochial high school.

Giesselmann wanted to thank all those who participated in the commitment dinner and showed their support for the high school.

Anyone interested in inquiring about a student in the high school can call 756-2249 or visit

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