St. Paul Lutheran School began its 2014-2015 classes Monday, and announced its theme for the year: "Proclaim His name."
Following the traditional raising of the flags and prayer, the school's students, grades kindergarten through eight, were brought to the Lutheran Church's chapel.
The Rev. Al Henderson greeted the students, staff and family members, and led them in a cheer of the theme.
"Powerful, and yet simple," he said. "Today we celebrate the beginning of school."
Henderson explained the importance of the day to the students.
"Beginning school is a gift to you. What a gift. Thank you very much," he said. "Don't we get excited when we get gifts?"
Henderson asked what are some days they get gifts, and the students responded with Easter, birthdays, and Christmas.
"Today, I thought I would share with you the very first Christmas gift," he said.
Five volunteers were brought before the audience, and each given a letter from a bag to spell out the name of this gift.
"Jesus is the first Christmas gift," Henderson said. "Jesus is such an important gift."
This gift, though, Henderson said, did not belong in a bag.
"It doesn't belong to you. It belongs to everyone. Proclaim his name," he said. "We share by proclaiming his name."
He added, "I hope and pray you have a really great school year. And hope you, as students, enjoy all the blessings God has intended for you."
Julie Mann, St. Paul Lutheran School principal, who started in the position in June, introduced herself to the students and families, and concluded the morning's ceremony.
"I am so excited to start our school year," she said. "I officially declare our 2014-15 school year open."
After wishing everyone a nice day, the students headed toward the first classes of the morning.