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COT Begins Third Yr of Service

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This year marks year three for Lincoln Lutheran’s Community Outreach Team. Formed by teachers and students, and funded by a series of grants, this group impacts community organizations in the Lincoln community.

A typical event begins with a student-led devotion, then continues with a unique service outing, and concludes with a donation to that agency. For each outing, there is at least one student, one parent and one Lincoln Lutheran staff member.

“We spend so much time in our roles as teacher-student-parent,” coordinator Joel Stoltenow said. “Sometimes it’s nice – and important – to spend time together as fellow believers serving in God’s Kingdom.”

Executive Director Scott Ernstmeyer appreciates how students have engaged in the COT. “The COT has allowed some students to embrace leadership roles while all who’ve had a chance to serve have discovered an appreciation for the true needs within our community.”

Last year 179 individual volunteers served 789 hours in 17 different outings (see list below). This year, we are at it again. Each year, the goal is 1,000 hours and 20 outings. However, we have had limited interest or involvement from families. If this group seems like something you might want to join, please contact Joel Stoltenow ( at 402-770-3927.

Our next outing will take place on October 1st with Jacob’s Well at First Presbyterian Church (18th / F Streets). Other upcoming events include: City Impact, Habitat for Humanity, People City’s Mission and Veteran’s Affairs.

Opportunities to Serve:

Habitat for Humanity, People’s City Mission, Streets Alive!, Friendship Home, City Impact, Veteran’s Affair, The Arbors, Jacob’s Well, Lighthouse, Salvation Army, Lancaster Manor, Barnabas Project, F Street Community Center, Partnership of Healthy Lincoln, NonProfit Hub, Big Brothers Big Sisters, Safe Quarters, 8th Grade Community Witness Project

2016 Homecoming King and Queen & Court

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Congratulations to the six seniors elected to the 2016 Homecoming Court.  Final voting took place in AP on Wednesday. The King and Queen were announced on Friday at the pep rally. Congratulations to Allen Lacroix and Rachel Garbe on being named 2016 Homecoming King and Queen!  The 2016 court members are Amber LeGrande, Isaac Zager, Hope Bassett, Joel Stennett, Rachel Garbe, and Allen Lacroix.

HS VB Coach Sue Ziegler recorded her 300th career win with a three-set sweep over Auburn

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Lincoln Lutheran coach Sue Ziegler recorded her 300th career win with a three-set sweep over Auburn 25-15, 25-17, 25-22 on Tuesday.

The Warriors recorded 13 ace serves as a team in Ziegler's milestone, led by Hope Leimbach (five) and Lexie Kriezel (four). Leimbach added 31 set assists, as the Warriors totaled 30 digs as a team.

Ellie L'Heureux and Josie Puelz had three blocks apiece, and Amber LeGrande led the offense with 12 kills.

Ziegler, a former Journal Star girls coach of the year, has spent 26 years at the school, coaching a total of 19 years. She led the Warriors to the 2004 Class C-1 state title and spent 15 years as the head coach before taking seven-year hiatus and returning in 2013.

Bryan Health Awards $90,000 to Future Health Care Providers

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Lincoln, NE (September 8, 2016) – Bryan Health today awarded $90,000 to Lincoln and Crete schools to assist students pursuing careers in health care. The event served as the capstone of Bryan’s 90 Acts of Kindness this summer, in celebration of its 90th anniversary.

Schools receiving gifts today include:

·         College View Academy, $5,000

·         Crete Public Schools, $10,000

·         Lincoln Christian, $10,000

·         Lincoln Lutheran, $10,000

·         Lincoln Public Schools, $40,000

·         Parkview Christian, $5,000

·         Pius X, $10,000

“Our 90th Act of Kindness is focused on the future, for students who want to join us in caring for the region,” said Bob Ravenscroft, vice president for Advancement at Bryan Health.

Bryan’s Acts of Kindness served to salute unsung heroes, surprise community champions and serve other local organizations as a thank you for the difference they make. To see photos and a video recapping this campaign, please visit


6's last kicks: The last Soenksen son takes the field for the Warriors

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There were 15 years of soccer tradition on the sideline to witness Lincoln Lutheran’s game against Columbus Lakeview on Friday. You may know them as the Soenksens. Five brothers stood next to their mother to offer support and encouragement for their youngest brother, Uriah, as he played in his final home game. After a left-footed shot by Uriah was corralled by the Lakeview goalkeeper, family members either grimaced or brought their hands to their cheeks. At one point, a suggestion to “look up the middle, it’s open” was met with a thumbs-up from the senior midfielder. While his jersey may not have listed his name on the back, all you needed to see was his number to know he was a Soenksen. “It’s been a tradition, the No. 6,” Lincoln Lutheran coach Nathan Bassett said. “The first one wore it, then the second one wore it, and I didn’t give them a choice after the second wore 6.” The soccer tradition started when Jesse was a talented freshman on the Warrior team and has carried on with five more brothers over the last decade-and-a-half. Sisters Wendy and Esther, now a sophomore soccer player at Concordia, were the only two of the nine siblings that couldn’t make it to the game. “We’ve always been super close and we play soccer with each other all the time,” said Kevin Soenksen, the fourth-oldest of the six brothers. “It’s great. Especially with him (Uriah) being the last one here and I know it means a lot to him to have all of us watching him.” When Uriah dribbled into the side of the box and his shot was blocked, the family saw a potential game-winning goal disappear. But the ball deflected off different legs before landing at the feet of fullback Cayden Bregt, who slotted it in with less than three minutes remaining to lift the Warriors to a 1-0 win. It came after more critiques and notes were directed toward the youngest brother. “I do feel bad for him, because we do have very high standards for him,” Kevin said. “So we hold him up there really high and sometimes we come down on him a little hard.” After the game, the brothers lined up on the goal line, wearing their old jerseys that Bassett provided. All No. 6. “I wanted to do something special,” Bassett said. “So I thought I’d take a picture so they have it and then I can have it.” In those pictures are 15 years of Lincoln Lutheran soccer, with the family at the center of it all. “I think that’s a really special thing,” Kevin said. “Just about everyone except for Uriah has had one of our brothers playing with them. It’s cool to be such a part of this program for so long.” If you think Uriah’s upcoming graduation means the end of the Soenksens in soccer, think again. Youngest sister Grace is a freshman at Lincoln Lutheran and the older siblings still play whenever they can. The love of the game is cemented at the core of this family. “It’s a bittersweet moment,” Bassett said. “But I’ll see them again. All I have to do is go out to a soccer field.”


Spring Cleaning at the Lighthouse

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Have you noticed the several light bulb sculptures around town? They are in recognition of the Lighthouse’s outstanding work, helping Lincoln’s youth with graduation and vital life skills training. For 26 years the Lighthouse has been a beacon of hope for high school students. For three hours on Saturday, the Lincoln Lutheran Community Outreach Team shared in that mission with some "spring cleaning" for the after-school organization.

Senior Paige Steinbauer began the day with a meditation on how Moses learned from God how to accept help from those who wanted to help him. As such, Lighthouse, which needs help every month to keep its property tidy, received help from the COT members.

In small groups, the community outreach team vacuumed floors and sofa seats, folded clothes and scrubbed floors, organized camping gear and sports equipment; ultimately, the goal was to serve the Lighthouse staff, which daily serves the youth of Lincoln. It was a beautiful day to open doors and give a thorough cleaning of the high-traffic facility.

“Going to Lighthouse really showed me that there are people that come from all different walks of life that are working toward goals just like me,” said junior Abigail Lofgren. “Seeing all of this made me realize that sometimes I take my education resources for granted. It felt good to help other teens, just like me.”

“I enjoyed serving at the Lighthouse because I know that there are so many different students that benefit from this facility,” said teacher Lindsey Morris, who served with her husband David and daughter Nora. “When something is nice and well cared for, you make sure that you also take care of it. Every kid deserves a place like this to do things that will help them in school and their future.”

In addition to the service of cleaning and organizing, the COT donated $100 to the scholarship program, which helps Lincoln graduates pursue post-secondary goals at college. This event marks the 11th event this year, with nine more outings planned in the 2015-2016 school year. For more information on how you might connect with an outreach event, please contact Joel Stoltenow at 

Reflections on our 1:1 Initiative

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Lincoln Lutheran Middle and High School implemented a school-wide 1:1 Bring-Your-Own-Device initiative in the 2014-2015 school year. Now, more than halfway through its second year, Principal Matt Heibel has been impressed with how well the transition has gone and with the willingness of classroom teachers to integrate a variety of instructional technology into lessons. “We did everything we could to be prepared. What has helped make the change so successful is the leadership of our teachers and the willingness of our students to embrace the change.”

Lincoln Lutheran senior Kate Staab has grown to appreciate technology innovation in her classes. “The ability to quickly annotate a document and have all of our resources in one place has helped us as students. We can record documents from our teachers and the software we use creates an easy process for turning in assignments and retrieving them later if needed. Our teachers (and students) can easily project examples on the screen during the learning process. All of these changes have helped us learn more efficiently.”


Instructional technology resources have changed drastically during Staab’s seven years at Lincoln Lutheran. During that time the school has:

1. Installed LCD projectors in every classroom .

2. Adopted a learning management system to give students anytime/anywhere access to course material.

3. Installed more than a mile of new ethernet cable, making wireless access available school-wide.

4. Installed fiber optic cable to increase Internet speeds ten-fold.

5. Adopted software so students can receive, complete and turn in homework online as well as view grades and receive teacher feedback online.

6. Provided each teacher with an iPad, allowing them to teach multimedia lessons from anywhere in the room.

7. Installed an Apple TV in every instructional space which teachers and students can use for class presentations.

8. Adopted a 1:1 Bring-Your-Own-Device initiative so every student has a device to facilitate and enhance learning.

Lloyd Sommerer, the school’s technology coordinator, appreciates the array of resources available in Nebraska to help schools and teachers as they implement and increase the use of instructional technology. “Technology coordinators throughout Nebraska are always willing to help each other. Learning from other early adopters has allowed Lincoln Lutheran to stay ahead of other Lincoln schools when it comes to instructional technology. We were also able to avoid some common mistakes as we rolled out our 1:1 initiative because of the experience of other early adopters.”

During an AdvancED accreditation visit last spring, the visitation team, comprised of experienced educators from several states, was impressed by the use of instructional technology in the classroom. The team noted that Lincoln Lutheran scored higher in the area of digital learning than any school they had visited. Based on the accreditation process, Lincoln Lutheran has adopted a school improvement goal that focuses on next-level use of instructional technology, called the SAMR Model. Teachers are focusing on moving from “Substituting” technology for traditional methods of instruction, to “Augmenting,” “Modifying,” and “Redefining” instruction using educational technology.

Investing in the continued professional development of teachers will be key to identifying ways to further strengthen the students’ learning experience. Over the past several years, teachers have attended state, national and international technology conferences. The annual Nebraska Educational Technology Association (NETA) conference has been an invaluable source of ideas for technology integration in classroom instruction.

Prepared for future

Senior Kate Staab is looking forward to college with confidence because she knows her experience at Lincoln Lutheran has exposed her to some of the best educational innovation found in schools today.

“My teachers have been willing to try new things and challenge us as students. When I talk to peers at other schools they are amazed by the fact that we turn everything in and receive everything back electronically. I am so thankful for all those who’ve supported Lincoln Lutheran so we could make the most out of our educational experience.”

Men of Faith Tournament

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WHAT:  20th annual Men of Faith Basketball Tournament.  Two divisions..."Open Division" (all ages) and "Classic Division (31 & over).  Each division will be limited to the first eight teams that register.

WHEN:  April 9-10.

WHERE:  Lincoln Lutheran Middle/High School. Click "view" for more information!

WHO: Men who enjoy Christian fellowship with other men while playing some semi-competitive basketball.


TEAMS:  Ideally teams are made up of at least a nucleus of Lincoln Lutheran alumni and/or men who worship/fellowship together.  However, there are no team restrictions EXCEPT that all players participating on teams in the "Classic Division" must be a minimum of 31 years of age.   This is not a tournament for the's a tournament designed to highlight fellowship among Christian men who enjoy playing basketball.  

Each team must have a roster of no less than 7 players (preferably 8 or more).

GAMES:  Each team is guaranteed a minimum of 3 games.

PRIZES:  There are no team "prizes."  BUT, a complimentary lunch is provided on Saturday and each player also receives tournament "swag."

PROCEEDS:  Proceeds from the tournament benefit Lincoln Lutheran's Community Outreach Team (COT) and are literally given back to the community through monetary gifts to the charitable entities the COT serves during the year.

RULES:  Nebraska High School Rules Applied.  15-minute stop-clock halves.

TOURNAMENT SUPERVISOR AND CONTACT INFORMATION:  If interested in entering a team in the tournament, or if interested in learning more about the tournament, please contact tournament coordinator Lyle Ziems.  402-417-8241;

REGISTRATION:  Communicate interest, division, and a tentative roster via email to Lyle (  Registration fee will be collected during the tournament. 

Remember, the tournament is limited to EIGHT teams in each division (first-come-first-served).


$615,000 Science Renovation Creates New Opportunities for Students

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When Lincoln Lutheran students start school next fall, they will be welcomed with three new classrooms dedicated specifically to science education.  A $615,000 renovation project will re-purpose two different areas within the building.  Two current high school science classrooms will be transformed into one larger life sciences classroom, a prep room and a guidance center. The other part of the project will re-purpose currently unused space into a chemistry and physics lab, a science lecture classroom and a prep room.

Lincoln Lutheran Executive Director Scott Ernstmeyer says the new space and resources are long overdue. “We have outstanding teachers who have been creative and innovative with undersized classrooms and limited resources. Because so many of our graduates transition into post-secondary fields of study connected to the sciences, we felt it was important to expose students to resources and opportunities that would fully prepare them for their future.” Ernstmeyer and other school leaders took tours of area public and non-public schools to determine best practices and ensure the new space will meet or exceed the quality of resources within the community.

In the late 1990’s Lincoln Lutheran transitioned from offering a 7th-9th grade junior high program to a full junior and senior high school.  Due to budget limitations at the time, a planned science wing expansion was cut from the building project. Ernstmeyer says science classrooms have been on the school’s wish list ever since. “Schools have many needs and we’ve been blessed to work on a variety of projects over the past fifteen years that have had a positive impact on the educational experience our students receive. We are thankful to have been blessed with some wonderful financial gifts allowing us to make this important upgrade to our facility. It will open up new opportunities for learning by our students.”

The renovation was able to start moving forward when the school secured a $300,000 matching gift. Director of Ministry Advancement Lloyd Wagnitz has been researching and writing proposals to secure grants ever since.  These efforts have generated additional grants and donations totaling $252,000 with awards ranging between $2,000 and $100,000.  Wagnitz is thankful that the process has largely stayed clear of the school’s traditional donor base. “We know how gracious our donors are and how much they sacrifice to help us pursue our ministry.  It has been a real blessing to connect with area foundations who are excited to be a part of our project.”

Construction on the project will begin this spring with a scheduled completion date of mid-July.  The guidance center will include an office for the Guidance Director and provide space for a small student lounge. New classrooms will be outfitted with all new equipment and furnishings.

Lincoln Lutheran Middle and High School provides faith-based education for students in grades 6-12.  For more information about the science renovation or other programs and offerings contact Principal Matt Heibel at

Singing Valentines on Sale Now

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Singing Valentines are a tradition that has been around our school for over 15 years.  Not only are they a main fundraiser for the choir but it is the choir member's favorite time of year. The high school choir spends all day on Friday the 12th going around Lincoln and Seward surprising and serenading the recipients. Taking the day to travel and sing has been one of senior Nick Schmeling's favorite memories from all four years of choir. He stated "It's such an amazing experience seeing all the different reactions people have and knowing that you've made someone's day." There are always new and interesting places that are traveled to including, banks, office buildings, schools, churches, malls, factories, rehab facilities, retirement homes and swim schools.

Numerous fond memories have been made on the journey of delivering singing valentines. Senior Hallie Hohbein said that her favorite memory happened sophomore year. "We were all excited because we were singing in the mall food court so right after we would get to eat lunch and the idea of singing in the mall just sounded fun. Shortly after we started the mall security came up and made us stop because it was actually illegal, something about disrupting the peace. We didn't get kicked out but we all laughed and it was defiantly memorable." Lizzie Moore who is now a sophomore agreed that Singing Valentines were the highlight of her first year of choir. She retold her story of her fondest memory of the day. "We were singing in a bank and this guy came up to us and asked us if we took orders that day. He told us about how he completely forgot it was valentines day and didn't have anything for his wife. Since we were doing so good on time we got to go to his house and surprise his wife. We were so surprised when he gave us 100 dollars just to go sing but when we saw the mansion he lived in it made more sense. I loved being able to not only surprise his wife but save the guy from having nothing to give."

This year the student's will be selling Valentines for $30. It is a great experience for all involved, whether you are receiving, giving or a student delivering. Valentines can be purchased through the Lincoln Lutheran office or a choir student (form attached). You can purchase them for anyone, whether it's romantic, for your mother or even a joke to embarrass your friend. We would love for you to support our choir in such a fun and memorable way and on Friday February 12th, our choir would love to spread some Valentines day spirit to whomever you want it delivered too.

Article by Madison Schmeeckle, Class of 2016