Alumni Share Future Plans as High School Graduation Approaches – May 17, 2017
This spring, we caught up with a few Sioux Falls Lutheran School alumni to see what the future has in store for them as they graduate from high school. Check out their stories below!
High School: Roosevelt High School
Activities: Cross Country, Track and Field, Sports Broadcasting, National Honor Society, Outdoor Campus Volunteer
Awards: Varsity letter in Cross Country and Track and Field, Champion in Broadcast Production in State Skills USA, Academic All-State Runner
College: South Dakota School of Mines & Technology in Rapid City, South Dakota
Major: Atmospheric Sciences and Mereology
Scholarships: Minnehaha County Sheriff’s Office and Deputies Association – Kim Schoenhard Memorial Scholarship Award ($1,000); SD School of Mines & Technology – Freshman Scholar ($1,000); SD School of Mines & Technology – Athletic Scholar ($1,000)
Career goals: Broadcast Meteorologist
College activities: I will be running Cross Country and Track for the School of Mines.
My SFLS Experience: I made lifelong friendships at Sioux Falls Lutheran School that helped me grow spiritually, mentally, and physically into the person I am today. I am still benefiting from all of the memories, friendships, lessons, and experiences I had at SFLS.
High School: Lutheran High School of Sioux Falls
Activities: Basketball, Church Worship Band, 4H Shooting Club, Hunting, and Fishing
College: Southeast Technical Institute in Sioux Falls, South Dakota
Major: Automotive Technology
Scholarships: Beresford Chapter of Whitetails Forever – 4H Shooting Club ($200); Sioux Falls Community Foundation – Ralph and Doris Wallin Scholarship ($3,500); Build Dakota Scholarship Recipient
Career goals: I am blessed through the Build Dakota Scholarship to have a guaranteed job in South Dakota if I commit to working there for three years. My plan is to work in a local auto shop and work on my own toys on the side.
My SFLS Experience: I struggled academically and would have fallen through the cracks at a big public school. At Sioux Falls Lutheran School, I had smaller class sizes with more one-on-one attention and teachers who wanted to see me succeed. They made themselves available for extra help whenever I need it, and I continued to get that attention at the Lutheran High School of Sioux Falls. I constantly received positive messages, encouragement, and reminders that, even though I might have tested boundaries, I was still loved. In addition to all that, I also received encouragement to explore what I was good at and go for it – I wasn't pushed to make decisions about what I wanted to be when I grew up. Instead, I was given the time and encouragement to figure it out for myself.
High School: Washington High School
Activities: Baseball, Basketball, FCA, Student Ambassadors, Shoes and Boots (tutoring), Link Crew, Chess Club, Young Life, Lord of Life Lutheran Youth Group, Sioux Falls Youth Bowling, National Honor Society, 2013 and 2016 LCMS National Youth Gatherings
Awards: Baseball Letter (x2); Basketball Letter (x4), Team Attitude Award (x3), Best Practice Player Award, Activity Leader of the Month – February 2017; Bowling – U15 Boys SD Pepsi Tournament High Scratch Game and Series 2014 & U20 Boys SD Pepsi Tournament High Scratch Game 2015; Top Ten Freshmen (academic), Academic Letter (all semesters), National Honor Society
College: Northwestern College in Orange City, Iowa
Scholarships: Presidential Scholarship, Baseball Scholarship, Sue Kooiker Scholarship
Major: Social Work/Psychology
Career goals: Receive the best college education possible in order to obtain a meaningful degree and work in an occupation that I am passionate about.
College activities: Baseball
My SFLS Experience: My time at SFLS was the start of increasing my knowledge and skills, as well as strengthening my faith, which prepared me excellently for the transition I went through when entering high school. Washington was absolutely great, and I wouldn’t change my decision of going there if I had to choose again. However, I want to return to the Christian atmosphere I first experienced at SFLS in order to develop my career and transition into adulthood to the best of my ability. I believe the best way to do that is by partnering my schooling and extracurricular activities with my faith in order to reach my full potential in my future career and upcoming life.
Huebert Earns College Credits through Learners to Leaders Program – May 10, 2017
As a high school junior, Sioux Falls Lutheran School alumna Cassie Huebert knew that she was interested in taking dual credit courses. Thanks to the Learners to Leaders Program sponsored by Smithfield Foods, she will graduate this spring with several college-level courses on her transcript.
Huebert was introduced to the Learners to Leaders Program by her counselor at Roosevelt High School. The program allows high school seniors to enroll in classes at Southeast Technical Institute and earn credits that apply toward their high school diploma as well as a variety of post-secondary programs.
“I am so grateful to have been a part of this program, and sincerely thank my counselors and Smithfield,” Huebert said.
As a senior, Huebert has taken college classes including student success seminar, computer essentials, speech, online medical terminology, CNA, and speech and online composition. She plans to pursue a degree in nursing from Southeast Tech after graduating from high school this spring.
“I’ve always loved the human body and what it is capable of doing,” Huebert said. “I am a hunter, so the graphic parts don’t bother me at all. It is rather interesting… I might start as a traveling nurse, but my overall dream is to be an OB/GYN or a midwife. Then eventually I’d like to move to the trauma unit.”
In addition to participating in the Learners to Leaders program, Huebert is a member of the National Honor Society and the National Society of High School Scholars. She credits Sioux Falls Lutheran School for giving her the determination to pursue her goals.
“Sioux Falls Lutheran School has greatly impacted my life as a Christian and as a student,” Huebert said. “You build relationships with teachers, friends, and most importantly God. I am so happy to see SFLS growing, and knowing that I once was a student at such a wonderful school brings me confidence for my next big steps in life.”
VandeBraak to Study Particle Physics at Labs across U.S. and Italy – May 3, 2017
Before heading to college in the fall, Seth VandeBraak – SFLS class of 2013 – plans to spend his summer studying particle physics as a Davis-Bachall Scholar.
The five-week program accepts a maximum of 10 incoming university freshmen or sophomores who hail from or attend a university in South Dakota. Throughout the summer, scholars study a variety of physics and engineering topics while learning from distinguished professors at a variety of leading laboratories and universities.
In June, the group will head to Lead, South Dakota, where they will spend two weeks at the Sanford Underground Research Facility. From there, they will travel to other research labs in the U.S. and conclude with a 9-day trip to laboratories in Italy.
VandeBraak is currently a senior at Washington High School. Beginning this fall, he plans to study aerospace engineering at the University of Virginia School of Engineering and Applied Science.
“As an aerospace engineer, I want to push the limits of science,” VandeBraak said. “I want to help put men on Mars.”
Participation in the Davis-Bachall Scholar Program is just one of many accomplishments listed on VandeBraak’s resume. A few of his other achievements include earning a varsity letter and Academic All-State award in cross country, being named a South Dakota Boys State delegate in 2016, and earning the 2017 Academic Excellence Award, which honors the top one percent of high school seniors in the state of South Dakota.
“SFLS is where my desire to do my best began,” VandeBraak said. “I set a goal of being valedictorian at Washington High School after achieving that status at my 8th grade graduation from SFLS. Unfortunately, WHS does not recognize valedictorian or salutatorian, but they do rank students.”
VandeBraak will graduate at the top of his class at Washington this spring and hopes to end his senior year with a 4.52 GPA.
Bierwagen Named FCA Honor Athlete – April 20, 2017
Alyssa Bierwagen, SFLS class of 2013, was recently named one of 18 high school Honor Athletes in the state by the Fellowship of Christian Athletes of South Dakota.
Established in 1974, the Honor Athlete award recognizes high school and college athletes who use their influence to impact the world for Jesus Christ. Bierwagen was encouraged to apply for the award by Roosevelt High School cross country and track coach Jason Wagoner. She will be acknowledged at the 2017 Honor Athlete Banquet at 7 p.m. on Monday, April 24, at Gloria Dei Lutheran Church. A social hour preceding the event begins at 6 p.m.
Bierwagen began running cross country as an 8th grader at Sioux Falls Lutheran School. She went on to join the cross country and track teams at Roosevelt High School, where she was named most improved athlete on both teams during her freshman year. Throughout her high school career, Bierwagen became a two-time cross country MVP and received the athlete of the meet award. She is also an active member of the National Honor Society.
“Sioux Falls Lutheran School gave me a solid foundation in my faith while receiving a good education,” Bierwagen said of her time at SFLS. “It is a place that taught me compassion, kindness and world readiness.”
In the fall, Bierwagen will attend Concordia University, Nebraska, where she will run cross country and pursue a degree within the medical field. She has been awarded scholarships for academics, athletics and her Lutheran faith.