Originally, Zion Lutheran School was started as a preschool in 1973.
The germ for Christian education was planted when the
pre-kindergarten children from Redeemer Lutheran School in Peoria
sang for a pastoral conference in May of 1973. Their singing so
impressed Pastor Goldberger, then pastor of Zion in Lincoln, that he
expressed to the church's committee on Christian education his hopes
to establish a pre-kindergarten of their own. The committee agreed
and the proposal was submitted and passed by a voters' assembly on
July 19, 1973.
The fledgling school's first teacher was Mrs.
Virginia Apel, and with the help of several dedicated helpers a room
was prepared in the educational building for the first class of 10
In 1974, 10 children were enrolled in the preschool.
In 1975, Mrs. Apel moved from the area, and Donna Sauer was hired
to take her place.
In the next few years, as the children grew older, additional
grades were added. The first eighth-grade class started in 1979.
The growth of the school meant that it required a new facility.
In March of 1976 a building fund for the present Zion Lutheran
School was begun. On July 15, 1978, the church voted to build the
new school that currently is on Route 10 on the west end of Lincoln.
On April 20, 1980, the new school was completed and dedicated.
Mrs. Sauer, still with the school, wears many hats. She currently
is the assistant principal, fourth-grade teacher, librarian and one
of the school's historians.
Sauer along with Steve Schumacher, the principal at the school
for the last 19 years, explained the curriculum and values that are
taught at Zion Lutheran School.
Sauer stressed that the small school, with a current enrollment
of 132 students, depends on the parents of students present and past
to help maintain the standards of variety that the small school
offers its students. In sports, the school offers basketball for
both boys and girls, as well as track. Boys have a baseball team,
and the girls have volleyball and cheerleading, just to name a few.
And all the coaches are volunteers who donate their time with no
The school offers many other extracurricular activities besides
just sports. Every year all classes go on field trips to various
places, depending on their ages, from Starved Rock to a day in St.
The school is active in the Lutheran ACT Bowl, Bible Bowl,
Spelling Bee and Geography Scholastic Bowl for children who want to
be involved in academic activities. Zion students also excel in the
History Fair, Science Fair and the annual American Legion essay
The school offers band and choir for students who enjoy music,
and there are also several concerts and two yearly musicals, as well
as plays each year. Sauer said that although band is for fifth-
through eighth-graders, the school offers beginning band for
fourth-graders to get them started as early as possible with their
passion for music.
The school even has a speech team, which is rare in a small
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Both Sauer and Schumacher expressed their appreciation for
parents who continue to be involved with school functions even after
their children have graduated, and they call all the unpaid
volunteers' help "invaluable."
The school understands that we live in a world of modern
technology and starts the students off early on learning computer
skills. They have a computer lab and start as early as the pre-K and
kindergarten classes on learning keyboarding.
In a recent survey of both parents and students, several
consistent remarks were in the replies. Both students and parents
appreciated the varied activities and chances to broaden a child's
understanding of the world in an engaging way. That the school
offers many activities at an early age also sets the school apart
from others, according to several parents.
In several replies the children mentioned how much fun they had
attending school every day and learning more from the nurturing
environment that is a tradition at Zion Lutheran School.
Like all schools, both parochial as well as public, the school
must watch its finances in these economic times. Schumacher said
that Zion Lutheran Church is essential to the school with donations,
and Faith Lutheran helps their congregation's students afford the tuition costs
Area children's numbers have been on a decline in recent years
and that also puts a stress on enrollment, but both Sauer and
Schumacher said that parents wishing to give their child a diverse
and quality education while stressing the principles of Christian
values in their teachings should contact them to learn more about an
education at Zion.
Parents who want to know more can contact Schumacher at the
school at 732-3977. He said that the school is happy to discuss
future education plans for children and can discuss tuition fees
with concerned parents.
It is obvious to anyone entering the school that Zion is a school
where values are lived and taught by caring teachers. Zion graduates
often excel in high school and college, and in their life endeavors.
The school is open to all members of the community, regardless of
religious background and does not discriminate on the basis of race,
color, or national or ethnic origin. Zion is accredited by National
Lutheran School Accreditation and is recognized by the Illinois
State Board of Education.
[LDN; text from files received]
Lutheran School, Lincoln)