Staying a Cat

Staying a Cat

What really endures after graduation? We live in a disposable society. Many things don’t last. You may have fond high school memories now of sporting events, plays, dances, classes and friends, but will they stand the test of time? What has LHN prepared you for in life? You may even be wondering if you will ever step on the campus again.

Much has changed since my graduation 32 years ago. We had typewriters, not computers; albums not CD’s; a war in Vietnam not Iraq; and gas being pumped for 33 cents a gallon not $3.00. A mouse was hopefully not in your work area,and cable was a metal wire not a television service with hundreds of channels. Things change and much has faded from my memory, but not the good and meaningful times at Luther North.

On the lighter side of life, I remember pep rallies, the walks across the bridge to get to class, and clothing Martin Luther with a Christmas scarf. I look back on an English department that recruited me for a play when someone left the role, failing to tell me that it would involve a soft shoe dance, solo, and learning numerous lines in 2 weeks – the price for getting excused from class to perform. My tuxedo for Luther Singers had a purple ruffled shirt and my prom tux was a green and white checkered jacket. We were cool in the 70’s. Great memories, but that isn’t what has made me a lifelong Wildcat?

The teachers at Luther North are to be remembered for changing my life, and making me a lasting cat. I will be forever grateful to them, and this thank you is long overdue. I was a quiet, awkward 14 year old when I first entered the halls of North. Most students are fortunate to have one outstanding and favorite teacher; at LHN we were blessed with many unforgettable teachers, too many to name them all. They prepared me well for Northwestern University and my education career. Any good school can prepare you for the academics and a career. What sets LHN teachers apart is their enthusiasm for content coupled with their daily Christian witness. They live their faith, and share their faith with students, one person at a time. Ann Rundio shared a book a week with her sophomore class, and encouraged us to use our God-given talents. Gordon Borcherding effortlessly wrote numerous college references, never complaining but always affirming me in Christ. Bertha Tjernagel spent time grading my college composition on the Vatican’s architecture but spent hours chatting about God’s impact on me and how He is our architect. I recall chapel services with teachers like Jeff Daley, Nat Grunst, Richard Miller, Karl Helkamp, Marge
Wallace (Mack), and Lydia Robbert sitting with the students in the bleachers and singing praises to God. During hard times, I visualize the worship experience at North and am inspired. In fact, it was the teachers who planted the seed for me to help Lutheran schools today. I want others to experience the love for Christ that they shared with us. LHN teachers give lasting memories, and I thank them.

You may not know what your future brings after graduation. But the love of Christ is with you always. In Matthew 9:37-38, we read ”Then he said to his disciples,’ The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.’” Luther North prepares you to be Christian ambassadors and that stays with you. Graduates have done much in their workplaces and churches for Christian witnessing. As a recent article stated, Matthew Zbiec graduated from LHN in 2003 and returned to campus in December 2005 never expecting to be Marine Cpl. Matthew Zbiec, a war hero and Purple Heart recipient. After a near-lethal explosion, he was reminded of prayer and the life-changing support of his Alma Mater, including memories of his teachers. Some day, I hope to meet Matthew Zbiec and thank him for defending our country and remembering the teachers at North.

So what lasts? It probably varies among individuals. Memories of teachers last. Many friendships have lasted. Rhoda (Sorokie), my wife of 25 years, and I met at Luther North. Our maid of honor and best man at our wedding, Carol (Lipanot) and Don Guther, are classmates and life-long friends. Two classmates, Dave Fasshauer and Dale Salzman are congregation presidents of their childhood churches in Chicago. These things last and grow. Think of your own memories of North. Stay a fan of the Wildcats, and remember your teachers in your prayers. Don’t wait 32 years to thank them.

Blessings on your graduation, memories, and memories yet to come.

-Charles Asche, Class of 1974