Zion Lutheran celebrates 50th anniversary
By Rachel Galvin
It was 1964 and all eyes were on a new Christian school being built in Deerfield Beach. The school was Zion Lutheran and it still stands today, but during those 50 years it has changed everything from the diversity of the population it serves to the curriculum it teaches, but its sense of tradition has never faltered. Teachers who have taught here for over 20 years serve as witnesses to the many changes in the Zion community and the foundation that has kept them coming back year after year.
Chief Operating Officer Beth Loren started here in 1992, but has been a church member since 1988. Her two daughters attended here.
“I have seen a lot of changes with the curriculum. We have gone to Common Core. But we still go to weekly chapel, still have P.E., art, music – things a lot of public schools have had to curtail. We have a bell choir. Students are getting smarter younger. What they are learning in first grade I think we learned in third. It has changed the face of the classroom and what teachers are teaching. It used to be that you would learn things like how to tie your shoes in Kindergarten. Now, you can’t get into Kindergarten unless you know how to tie your shoes. The students have a lot more demands on them then we ever did,” said Loren, adding, “Our student body is very supportive of one another. If a student is struggling, the other students gather around and want to help them to succeed. I think that is very unique and makes us stand out. Our population now is reflective of the Deerfield community, more diverse. We have had different pastors come through, principals, headmasters – new ideas. As much as has changed, even more has stayed the same.”
Students here no longer are working with chalkboards, but have Expo boards, Promethean boards and laptop and iPad carts. The high schoolers have their own iPads.
“This year,” continued Loren. “We have online enrollment. If a parent tries to hand me their check, I say they have to go online, and add … have your child show you how to do it. They know more than we do!”
The age of children the school takes has grown. They now take six weeks up through 12th grade. Kathy Lamb, who began teaching here in 1989, was the one who started the infant program.
“It began with the 3-year-olds then toddlers then infants. My room is 6 weeks to 1 year.
We roll a ball, read to them, sing lullabies, take them on a buggy ride or swing on swings on the outside [porch area]. Most childcare centers do not have place to take them outside.”
Lamb added, “All three of my children went here. When my second son was here, they started the football team. This has always been a very special place to us. I always felt safe here. I knew what was going on. If the children, when they got older, went to parties, we knew the parents. The teachers and staff work together. It is a team effort. I notice the dads are more helpful with the children now. Moms and dads work together, which is wonderful.”
Debbie Post, who has taught 1st grade for the last three years and Kindergarten and Pre-K before that, says the staff is one of the reasons she has stayed here for 20 years.
“The curriculum is more advanced now. It is tied to the Promethean board and is interactive and cross curriculum. We have a small classroom size. I have 16 children and an aide to help out,” she said, adding, “We have Jesus time in the classroom (besides going to Chapel) two to three days during the week. We read lessons and sing songs from a children’s Bible, give worksheets, word search. At Christmas time, we do manger scenes and make ornaments for the Christmas tree.”
Gail Schmidt, who has been a principal and a teacher here, has graced the Zion’s halls for 26 years.
She added, “I love my job, love working. My son went here through eighth grade and now he teaches here. I came in 1988. I started as a sub and got a job a couple months later. I have been a church member for 30 years. A lot of our success has to do with having a Christian environment.”
Schmidt is excited to be celebrating the 50th anniversary and looks forward to seeing alumni, many with children of their own. The anniversary officially is on Sept. 12, but the festivities have already begun. Cummings said the goal is to remind people of what Zion has to offer, to get the community together and help Zion grow.
50th Anniversary Calendar of Events
January 18, 2014 – Lutheran Pastors’ Luncheon
January 26, 2014 – National Lutheran Schools Week opening at 10am worship service and School Open House 11:30 – 1pm
January 26 thru February 2, 2014 – National Lutheran Schools Week
Friday, February 21, 2014 – Alumni & Friends of Zion Social
Friday, March 14, 2014 – St. Patrick’s Day Social
Thursday, March 20, 2014—Spaghetti Dinner
Friday, April 11, 2014 – Family Bingo & Dinner
Saturday, May 10, 2014 – Family Fun Day with Alumni & Friends Activities
June / July 2014 – Pastor’s Masters
Wednesday, August 8, 2014 – Teacher & Staff Back to School Social
Tuesday, August 19, 2014 – 50th Anniversary Kick off Party at Meet the Teacher Night
Thursday, August 21, 2014 – Ribbon Cutting Ceremony
Friday, Sept 12, 2014 – School’s Official 50th Anniversary Birthday Celebration
Sunday, October 12, 2014 – Homecoming begins
Friday, October 17th – Homecoming Football Game & Alumni Event
Saturday, October 18th – Homecoming Dance with Alumni & Friends of Zion Event
Wednesday, December 3, 2014 – Tree Lighting
Friday, December 5, 2014 – Christmas Social
Tuesday & Wednesday, December 9 & 10, 2014 – Christmas Musicals K -12 and Preschool
January 25, 2015 thru February 1, 2015 – National Lutheran Schools Week Activities
Thursday, March 26, 2015 – Academic Fair, Zion Historical Exhibit & Spaghetti Dinner
Sunday, May 31, 2015 – Commencement & Gala