St. Paul Lutheran School celebrated Lutheran Schools Week March 3-7 by making gifts for charity.
As part of its Servant Event Day on Thursday, the school's students made blankets to donate to the Domestic and Sexual Abuse Outreach Center and Beacon of Hope Men's Shelter.
"Part of our Christian identity, our Lutheran identity, is witnessing," Emilie Woefel, St. Paul Lutheran co-lead teacher, said. "Our theme this year is 'Witness Always' and this is one way our students can reach out to those in our community."
Debra Erickson, St. Paul Lutheran instructor, works with student Sage Washington to make a blanket for charity during Lutheran Schools Week.
St. Paul Lutheran students Alexiss Tussing, left, Lydia Verschoor, Hannah Maschino, and Robbie Benson work together on a brisk March day making a blanket for charity as part of Lutheran Schools Week.
Many students, working in groups in the school's halls, contributed to the project, Robyn Kratz, co-lead teacher, said.
"We have nine blankets and 36 students," Kratz said. "We divided the third through eighth graders into groups of four, so there's a little bit of each grade in each blanket."
Staff and students observed the week with other events, as well, culminating Friday with its fourth through eighth grade students going to Clarinda for a volleyball tournament.
"We started Monday celebrating and we went, the entire school, to Family Bowling Center," Woefel said. "We had a family picnic. All the families, over 200 people with our kids and their parents, aunts and uncles, came in, brought their lunches and we picnicked in our fellowship house."
According to Kratz, celebrating Lutheran Schools Week is important.
"It's important for not only our kids to know how much we appreciate their parents bringing them here, but the parents also," she said. "We had our family lunch yesterday, and just told the parents how proud we are of their kids, and how appreciative we are that they're sending their kids here."
Woefel said it was inspiring, as an educator, to see her students' ambition to be charitable.
"They're learning lessons for life," she said. "We're here to teach them their daily reading, writing, and this is helping them to not always think about themselves, but to help out and give to others."
Even the school's youngest students, Kratz said, were eager to give.
"Our kindergarten, first and second graders went to the Villa (Care Center), and their service project was to sing. And those people, the smiles on their faces, those teachers tell us it is unbelievable," she said. "And for these kids to know that their helping adult men and women by providing blankets for their families makes them appreciate what they have a whole lot more."