At Lutheran South Unity School, the school mascot is the phoenix, a mythical creature who rises from the ashes to soar again. It is a fitting emblem for a school that is reviving private, Christian education on the south side of Fort Wayne.
Eleven Lutheran schools in the area have pledged help to Lutheran South Unity, committing financial resources to a sister school.
“The idea that eleven Lutheran schools decided to donate to our school—that’s phenomenal,” said Maurice King, director of development. “They stepped up to the plate and saw the need.”
In the past, Lutheran schools have joined forces to work on service projects such as Kids Against Hunger and Phil’s Friends. This year, the principal of another Lutheran school suggested supporting Lutheran South Unity as a joint project. Donations from the schools have ranged from a few hundred dollars to three thousand dollars, with many of those donations coming from students’ chapel offerings.
“Lutherans see the need for having a school on the south side,” Mr. King added. “There’s just not enough space at the other Lutheran schools to absorb all our students. Someone would be left on the outside looking in. If we develop a connection in sharing a need, then we can count on each other. That all ties into what we’re trying to teach the kids. No matter how limited your resources, you need to help someone else.”
Jon Dize, director of advancement for The Lutheran Schools Partnership said, “It has been inspiring for me to see our schools’ leadership recognize the need with a fellow school and be willing to fill it. That is true philanthropy.”
Lutheran South Unity School serves an ethnically diverse group of students of all achievement levels. Though students have in the past sometimes struggled with standardized testing, in 2016, students demonstrated remarkable academic growth and proficiency on the ISTEP test — enough to earn the school a “B” from the State of Indiana.
By joining forces and pooling resources, eleven peer schools are helping Lutheran South Unity continue to serve families in the community. Like the phoenix, the school is rising above its circumstances, continuing to provide a stimulating learning environment that fosters academic growth in all students.