29 Jun

Congratulations to Freya Blackman, LESA’s 2023 Student Christian Leadership Award

Congratulations to Freya Blackman, 14, eighth grader at Christ Community Lutheran School (CCLS) in Kirkwood, named the recipient of LESA’s 2023 Student Christian Leadership Award.

Freya was nominated for the award by Mr. Royce Hartmann, Middle School Principal. “Freya is the embodiment of a student Christian leader.  She has a strong faith, a huge heart for Jesus, and is compassionate, kind-hearted, and driven.  Freya is so friendly to everyone.  She regularly serves others at her church and has been on a mission trip to Honduras. Freya is the type of person everyone would want their child to hang around.  She leads by example and shares her faith.”

Freya shared that “Being a Christian leader means being an example to the rest of the world of how Jesus loves all of us. In today’s culture, we are so quick to point out mistakes and focus on hatred and anger that it is easy to forget how Jesus would want us to act. Being a Christian leader means that you strive to show mercy, kindness, empathy, and spreading the love of God to all.”

Freya’s mission work is her greatest passion.  She has been involved in missions since the age of five. “My grandmother and I started writing Christmas cards to the Micah boys. The Micah Project is a non-profit Christian mission in Honduras. They take boys off the streets and give them a loving Christian home and educate them to help make an impact in their community by being amazing Christian leaders. It has been a little over nine years since God planted my love of missions in me and since then, I have become Micah’s mission ambassador, and I was able to travel to Honduras and see His work firsthand. During that trip, I learned so much about God and how he can work through the most broken people.”

Freya’s favorite school subject is history. “If people are educated in history, it can help prevent conflict. I also love to learn about people who have done amazing things to make the world a better place and inspire me and children in the future. I like to say that the Bible is a Christian’s history book. It teaches how to live, and it gives us the history of the world in one book.” said Freya.

“I will forever be grateful that part of God’s plan for me is to be a part of the CCLS community. I have developed unbreakable friendships and connections that I thought were never possible. CCLS is like no other. It is a family in Christ, there to support and uplift everyone. The love and support that I have been shown is overwhelming and I am incredibly grateful. I can’t imagine wanting to go anywhere else.”

Freya is the daughter of Reed and Annekin Blackman.  They are members of Central Presbyterian Church.  Freya plans to attend Lutheran High School South in the fall, and will receive a $500 scholarship underwritten by the Lutheran Church Extension Fund (LCEF) as part of her award.



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05 Jun

Geospatial leaders hope St. Louis teachers will bring the technology to classrooms

Photo credit: Kate Grumke, St. Louis Public Radio

Dee Leible, a teacher at Christ Community Lutheran School, has applied geospatial technology in the classroom and ignited a profound sense of alignment with her interests. This year, she took the exciting step of introducing data analysis and mapping technology to her students, a decision that has had a lasting impact. Inspired by the transformative experience, Leible is now actively advocating for other educators to embrace this innovative approach.

The integration of geospatial technology into her teaching practice allowed for engaging discussions with her students, prompting them to delve into the significance of the data and explore ways it could contribute to a better understanding of our community, classroom, and the wider world. Leible’s passion for this educational method stems from its ability to empower students to make meaningful connections and actively participate in shaping their environment. These are the type of educators who make Lutheran schools an amazing experiences for our students. Read Kate Grumke’s full article on

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26 May

Things to Consider when Choosing a Faith-Based Education

Photo credit:, St. Paul’s Lutheran & Joanna Hoeltge

As St. Louis parents consider the ideal educational environment for their children, they are presented with a wide array of school options. For some, a Lutheran or Christian school holds appeal due to its alignment with their faith. Others seek an educational context where their children can learn Biblical morals and values alongside core subjects. Additionally, some are drawn to the intimate setting of a school that prioritizes individual growth and achievement. If you are exploring this decision, consider this article: “St. Paul’s Lutheran: Things to Consider when Choosing a Faith-Based Education” from guest contributing author, Joanna Hoeltge, when selecting a school for your child. Read the entire article here.

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19 Jan

Thinking of the Future

Endowments to Benefit Lutheran Education

The Lutheran Elementary School Association (LESA) offers the opportunity for donors to establish an endowment to fund Lutheran education in the St. Louis metropolitan area.  These funds are held in perpetuity and invested for long-term growth while providing income for purposes chosen by the donor. Only earnings will be used for the designated program. Endowments ensure that LESA will continue to provide need-based tuition assistance and educational resources well into the future for our member schools and the students we serve.

Endowments are funded by individuals with a minimum gift of $25,000 which may be funded at one time or over a period of five years.  The donor may name the fund in honor or in tribute of someone.   An eligible matching gift may be available from the Lutheran Legacy Foundation, Youthbridge Community Foundation or private individuals to help offset or increase the initial investment.

Your investment and commitment to Lutheran education help build the future of young leaders in our community, and are critical to helping advance Lutheran education. Below are LESA’s Named Endowments that we have permission to disclose; all endowments to benefit LESA total nearly $11 million. We give God all glory for the blessings these endowments bring to the students LESA serves!

Building Blocks Scholarship Endowments
Jacqueline Appelt Scholarshp Endowment
Tim & Jackie Branneky Fund
John & Marilyn Brickler Endowment
Marilyn K. Brickler Scholarship Endowment
Bradley Bunte Scholarship Endowment
Robert & Lorraine Duesenberg Fund
John W. & Nancy Gerber Scholarship Endowment
Dr. Richard Graul Endowment
Dorian & Bernice Magwitz Endowment
Vernon & Joann Schroeder Fund

Programs and Operation Endowments
Dancy Family Fund
Duane & Marjorie Hingst Education Endowment
Edith A. Kalbfleisch Education Fund
John K. & Joan A. Komlos Fund
Niewald Family Fund
Roland & Hilda Pflantz Endowment
Phyllis Miller Rowold Fund
Phyllis Ann Rowold Memorial Fund
Steve & Sandy Siepman Fund

Contact the LESA office at 314-200-0797 or visit for more information on establishing an endowment or to contribute to an existing endowment.

 The Lutheran Elementary School Association (LESA) is a Recognized Service Organization (RSO) of the Lutheran  Church – Missouri Synod and is a  registered Missouri not-for-profit corporation that holds 501(c)(3) status with the Internal Revenue Service; LESA’s federal EIN is 43-1853158.

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19 Jan



Students at Green Park Lutheran School work with touch pads during the 2020-21 school year.

The Summer 2021 Tokyo Olympics highlighted not only the physical strength and skills of the athletes, but also brought to light the need to care for mental health. When our darling of the gymnastics team, Simone Biles, bowed out stating emotional issues, it made a tremendous statement to the world: the mind is a powerful thing, and without health in this area, our body suffers.

Our schools are tasked to prepare students to succeed in life, not just to do well in school. Beyond academics, Lutheran schools spiritually care for students and share the message of life-saving grace. It’s the basis of our mission.

Lutheran schools also help students develop social and emotional skills that will enable them to work with others and achieve their potential. In 2019, Forbes Magazine identified emotional intelligence as the #1 job skill for the future. Emotional intelligence is the ability to understand and express our own emotions and understand someone else’s emotions. In the past year, LESA teachers have learned about Social-Emotional Learning and the skills of empathy, self-control, integrity, embracing diversity, and grit.

One of our professional development speakers, Dr. Thomas Hoerr, shared this statement with our educators: Who you are is more important than what you know. This means students having a secure self-view. We need to be intentional in teaching students how to be caring, disciplined, honest, accepting, and resilient. Students need to develop skills in both social-emotional learning and academics to become understanding and respectful as well as skilled and productive. In a world where the only constant is change, learning these skills prepares students for success.

For Lutheran schools, the statement, “who you are is more important than what you know” has deeper meaning. We teach “who you are” is a forgiven, loved, and accepted child of God. This gospel message is taught alongside the law, to develop future citizens of heaven.

In addition to professional development, your gifts also help fund counseling services for member schools who do not otherwise qualify for any funding for student counseling services.  Last year, your gifts helped us reach 761 students who receive 2,057 hours of counseling at five member schools last year.

Amidst the ongoing challenges of routines and schedules students crave in order to be successful, please keep our LESA educators lifted in prayer this school year as they address not only academic needs, but care for students’ emotional and spiritual needs. School ministry is not an easy calling. Give thanks to those that have answered the call to help students grow in grace, knowledge, and wisdom in Christ.

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26 Oct

The Marilyn K. Brickler Scholarship Endowment Fund

(November 1, 2021) St. Louis, MO – The St. Louis-based Lutheran Elementary School Association (LESA) is pleased to announce the newly established Marilyn K. Brickler Endowment Fund established in honor of Brickler’s board service and her lifetime commitment to advancing Lutheran education.  Brickler’s strong commitment to Christian education and belief that help should be provided to families who cannot afford tuition motivates Marilyn to serve on numerous committees and boards. Past board service includes Green Park Lutheran, the Lutheran High School Association, the Lutheran Camp Association in Arcadia, Lutheran Family & Children’s Services and LESA.

“In appreciation of her board service and her unwavering passion for children to learn and grow in a faith-based Christian Lutheran school, the Board of Directors of LESA initiated this endowment with lead gifts to show our appreciaton of her steadfast leadership of LESA’s Board, and to honor her lifetime contributions in this way,” says Sue Nahmensen, CEO of LESA.
Dedicated to Lutheran education, Marilyn served as Chair of LESA’s board for three years and is in her 7th year as a board member. She has committed her life to raising four boys in Lutheran schools, while serving on numerous school boards and committees to help raise funds to advance Lutheran education.

Established in 2004, LESA has awarded more than $6.5 million in need-based tuition assistance impacting the lives of 3,882 children through its Building Blocks Scholarship Fund. LESA is blessed to hold $10 million in endowments restricted for Building Blocks Scholarships and Programs and Operations.  We invite you to continue helping children attending Lutheran elementary schools now and in the future by donating to the Marilyn K. Brickler Scholarship Endowment. Click here to learn more.

More than 8,300 children of all faiths attend Lutheran Pre-K, elementary and high schools in the St. Louis Metro Area, making it the second largest private school system in the Bi-State Region.   Founded in 2004, LESA provides educational support services to 34 member schools – including four National Blue Ribbon Schools and three National Lutheran School of Distinction – and three related agencies. LESA is a Recognized Service Organization of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod.


Katherine Auble
Director, Fund Development & Marketing
Lutheran Elementary School Association
11123 South Towne Square, Suite F
St. Louis, MO 63123

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20 Oct

Brew in the Lou Raises Record-Breaking $158,000 for Lutheran Education and Still Growing!

St. Louis, MO (Oct. 20, 2021) The St. Louis-based Lutheran Elementary School Association raised a record-breaking $158,000 for Lutheran schools at its 9th Annual “Brew in the Lou” Festival, Saturday, Oct. 9 at Francis Park in St. Louis Hills. The weather was beautiful and everyone enjoyed the festival atmosphere.  A big thank you to the 100+ volunteers who helped make the event a success!  Thank you to our sponsors, and a big thank you to the vendors who make this possible. Please support our participating vendors generously!

More than 2,000 craft beer and food fans, and a few friendly dogs, sampled specialties from nearly 100 of St. Louis’ best beer, wine, spirits, coffee, food and pop up vendors, including about forty-five local and regional craft breweries.

Guests also voted for their favorite brats, home brew and chili recipes. This year’s Battle of the Bratwurst prize went to Lucky Lola’s. Lucky Lola’s can be found in your local Fresh Thyme or Kenrick’s Meats. In the ultra-competitive People’s Choice Home Brew Competition, Rev. Mark Bangert’s “Triple Berry Saison” from Immanuel Lutheran in Washington won first place, and the top prize for chili was again won by the Salem Men’s Club.  We need that winning recipe!  Brew guest Laurie Morrison won the 50/50 drawing prize of $662.

Grand Prize Winner, Dominick Dufner (Left) and Anheuser-Busch Research Pilot Brewery’s Daren Berry

The Home Brewers Association sanctioned competition had 208 entries.  The winner of this competition with Best of Show was Dominick Dufner of the STL Brewhogs for his Trappist Single Ale, aptly named, “New Hit Single.”  The grand prize for this competition was a chance to brew the winning recipe at the Anheuser-Busch Research Pilot Brewery followed by a happy hour for 10 of his best friends.

The band Clint & Co. provided entertainment, and KPLR/Fox 2’s Jeff Bernthal, a Lutheran schools grad, emceed. Next year’s Brew is set for October 8, 2022.

You may keep the tastings going throughout the next 12 months with the purchase of the Brew in the Lou Passport.  The new 2021/2022 Passport contains more than $300 in beverages, menu items and special discounts at more than 25 of your favorite breweries, restaurants and more.  A great gift for friends, family and co-workers! Click here to purchase your new Passport now!

And, there are a limited amount of t-shirts remaining too!

Proceeds benefit the 8,300 children enrolled in 34 Lutheran schools in the bi-state area. To contribute, visit, or call 314-200-0797.

View 2021 Photos Here


Rev. Mark Bangert, Immanuel Washington took first place with a Triple Berry Saison in the People’s Choice Homebrew Competition

The Salem Affton Men’s Club are the 2021 Chili Kings!



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02 Sep

Announcing the New Duane and Marjorie Hingst Education Endowment Fund

(September 1, 2021) St. Louis, Mo – The St. Louis-based Lutheran Elementary School Association (LESA) is pleased to announce the newly established Duane and Marjorie Hingst Education Endowment Fund established in memory of Duane Hingst and in honor of his wife, Marjorie Sandfort Hingst.  Duane was recently called to his heavenly home this summer and is survived by his wife, Marjorie and his three children. His children decided that in honor of his lifetime service to Lutheran education and what would have been his 90th birthday on October 9, 2021, establishing this named endowment would be a perfect vehicle to continue his legacy and honor their parents.

Dedicated to Lutheran education, Duane who served as the Executive Director of Lutheran schools for the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod’s Missouri District, began his ministry as a Lutheran school teacher. Like many Lutheran school teachers, he also served as choir director, basketball coach and an overall champion of Lutheran education.  He believed strongly that Lutheran schools provide individualized education, which extended to extracurriculars that included sports, band, choir, field trips and more.  He was passionate that all children who wanted to attend a Lutheran school could do so; finances should not be a factor in their ability to attend.  “The benefits of a Lutheran education extend far beyond the classroom; the influence of caring teachers and pastors help shape a worldview with Christ at the center of every choice one makes,” says their daughter Dawn Anderson.

Establishing the Duane and Marjorie Hingst Education Endowment to benefit the students and schools served by the Lutheran Elementary School Association seemed like a natural choice to honor Duane’s legacy in Lutheran education.  LESA has awarded more than $6.5 million in need-based tuition assistance impacting the lives of 3,882 children through its Building Blocks Scholarship Fund. “LESA is delighted that Mr. Hingst’s family has decided to honor Duane’s ministry through the establishment of this endowment. His legacy of service to Jesus Christ and to Lutheran schools in our community will live on in the lives of the students served by the proceeds of this legacy gift,” says Sue Nahmensen, Chief Executive Officer.  “LESA is blessed to hold $10 million in endowments restricted for Building Blocks Scholarships and Programs and Operations.”

We invite you to continue helping children attend Lutheran elementary schools now and in the future by donating to the Duane and Marjorie Hingst Education Endowment Fund. Click here to learn more.

More than 8,300 children of all faiths attend Lutheran Pre-K, elementary and high schools in the St. Louis Metro Area, making it the second largest private school system in the Bi-State Region.

Founded in 2004, LESA provides educational support services to 34 member schools – including four National Blue Ribbon Schools and three National Lutheran School of Distinction – and three related agencies. LESA is a Recognized Service Organization of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod.


Katherine Auble
Director, Fund Development & Marketing
Lutheran Elementary School Association
11123 South Towne Square, Suite F
St. Louis, MO 63123


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27 Jul

LESA’s Brew in the Lou Festival Returns to Francis Park – Oct. 9, 2021

(St. Louis, Mo) July 11, 2021 – Brew in the Lou is back! After taking a break last year due to the pandemic, the St. Louis-based Lutheran Elementary School Association (LESA) is excited to announce that our 9th Annual Brew in the Lou Festival will return to the Lily Pond at Francis Park, Saturday, Oct. 9, 2021, from 1-5 p.m.

Brew in the Lou is a one-stop tasting event showcasing St. Louis’ best beer, wine, spirits and food. Proceeds support scholarships and educational services for children of all faiths at 34 member schools in the St. Louis area.

Wristbands are $40 advance/$50 day-of-event and include unlimited tastings (while supplies last) and a keepsake commemorative glass. As always, children, babies and pets are welcome! New this year: VIP tickets for $100/person. Tickets include VIP access to exclusive food and beverage offerings, private bathrooms, a special VIP glass and a Brew in the Lou Passport featuring 30 beer, food, spirits and merchandise offers valued at $300 and valid until October 9, 2022.

Wristbands are on sale now – to purchase, call (314) 200-0797, or visit at:

It’s been a long year and we can’t wait to taste and toast with you again on the banks of The Lily Pond. Our 2019 event showcased more than 100 breweries, restaurants and craft artisans – including 45 local and regional craft breweries – and raised a record $120,000 for Lutheran education. And 2021 is shaping up to be even better. Our list of confirmed breweries, distilleries, wineries and restaurants is growing by the day: Brick River CiderCrossroads Brewery, Mackenzie Brewing, Shoehorn BrewingLieferbrau BreweryExcel BrewingMain & Mill Brewing Co.Six Mile BridgeSchlaflyRockwell Beer Co.Narwhal’s Crafted Ice, Wood Hat SpiritsMaplewood Brewery & DistilleryMillpond Brewing & IncubatorAB Pilot BreweryModern BreweryJ. Rieger & Co.Center Ice BrewerySt. Louis Hop ShopPRP WineF & R Wine ImportsSteampunk Brew Works2nd Shift BrewingSouthside AlchemyBeer Sauce Shop, KomBlu KombuchaLucia’s Pizza Co.Dogtown PizzaBaetje Farms Artisan Goat CheeseDouble G Ham, and St. Paul’s Kettle Korn, plus Series SixLulaRoe Clothing BoutiqueKoala PouchesPost Pouring Co. CandlesBenton Park Prints, Gloria’s Unique BoutiqueDebbie Fenlen PhotograpyOne Life Fitness, St. Trinity Cemetery and more.

In the meantime, don’t miss our Buy 1/Get 1 Brew in the Lou Summer Passport Special to support Lutheran schools and your favorite watering holes as they rebound from the pandemic. For just $30, you’ll get access to more than $600 in beverages, menu items and special discounts at more than 25 of your favorite breweries, distilleries, wineries, restaurants and other venues through Oct. 9, 2021.

For vendor & sample provider applications, visit

Covid-19 Information: Due to the uncertainty regarding future COVID guidelines, Brew in the Lou attendees will be required to comply with any and all guidelines, regulations and recommendations in effect on October 9, 2021, the date of the event, as directed by the St. Louis Department of Health. Please note that refunds will not be issued to attendees who are unable to comply, regardless of circumstances.

About LESA

More than 8,200 children attend LESA member Lutheran schools in the St. Louis Metro Area, making Lutheran schools the second-largest private school system in the Bi-State area. A Recognized Service Organization of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, LESA represents 34 elementary and high schools and five related agencies. For more information, visit

# # #

Media Contacts:

Katherine (Kit) Auble

Director Fund Development and Marketing

(314) 200-0797

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27 May

LESA Schools Receive $65,000 Boeing Grant to Meet Covid Tech Needs

LESA has secured a $65,000 Boeing grant to help schools meet new technology needs connected to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Seven LESA schools will benefit from the grant: Green Park Lutheran in south St. Louis County, Immanuel Lutheran in Olivette, Lutheran North Middle School in Florissant, Our Savior Lutheran in Fenton, Trinity Lutheran in Edwardsville, Trinity Lutheran in St. Charles, and Word of Life in south St. Louis. 

LESA’s 35-member schools were among the first to re-open for full-time, in-person learning last August, but as schools worked to keep students safe, healthy and engaged throughout the year, they also faced unexpected expenses. Sue Nahmensen, LESA’s CEO, says the new funds will allow schools to upgrade and plan ahead for the coming year by stocking up on Google Chromebooks and adding interactive tools like Promethean Boards, SmartBoard projectors, and Google Jamboards to classrooms.

“I am always amazed at God’s grace and goodness, and this grant award is yet another example of how He provides for us in all times,” said Sue Nahmensen, LESA’s CEO. “All praise to God for this most recent and wonderful blessing for the schools and students that LESA serves!”

The grant is funded by the Employees Community Fund (ECF) of The Boeing Company, one of the largest employee-owned and managed funds of its kind in the world.

About LESA

More than 8,200 students attend Lutheran schools in the St. Louis Metro Area, making it the second largest private school system in the Bi-State Region. A Recognized Service Organization of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, LESA represents 31 elementary and 4 high schools, including three National Blue Ribbon Schools and three National Lutheran Exemplary Schools. To learn more about our schools and our mission, visit

Boeing Employees Community Fund

One of the largest employee-owned and managed funds of its kind in the world, the Employees Community Fund (ECF) of The Boeing Company has been empowering employees to make greater impact by pooling their tax-deductible donations for more than 60 years. Employee advisory boards provide combined employee donations to nonprofits in their community through ECF grants. Boeing pays all administrative costs so 100 percent of every employee dollar helps strengthen local communities.


Katherine (Kit) Auble
Director, Fund Development and Marketing

Brenda Kimberlin
Communications & Outreach Coordinator
Lutheran Elementary School Association (LESA)
314-496-1799 – cell


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