Train Up a Child

by guest contributor Miss Kari Preus

Hello! I am Kari Preus, one of the new teachers here at St. John’s. I am also a former student who attended Kindergarten through 8th grade here. I grew up with four siblings who also attended here, my mother (Jody Preus) who truly can’t deny an opportunity to volunteer, and my father (Erik Preus) who has served on nearly every board at this point. It is therefore fair to say that I have spent 8+ hours a day here at St. John’s for over 13 years. This has been a good thing because St. John’s is where I learned how to do so much! From education to volunteering, sports to drama, student to teacher, I owe St. John’s Lutheran School a big “Thank you!” Here’s why:

The famous Mrs. Sue Schutte taught me my numbers and how to color. With Mrs. Volberding, I learned how to read using decodable books and that Father Abraham had many sons. Mrs. Cummins, in 2nd grade, had a classroom grocery store where I learned how to buy groceries, just like Mr. Koosman does now with his 2nd graders. In 3rd grade, I learned that I really do have to put my name on my papers for Mrs. Droogsma, and that reading chapter books is pretty cool. In 4th grade, my Aunt Julie (Mrs. Preus) showed me the importance of kindness, as well as knowing a Bible passage for every situation I may face. 

Fifth grade was one of my favorite years with the legendary Mr. Rhemer. He showed me that I might actually enjoy math and how to be a good listener because he had the best stories. Mr. Inselmann was my 6th grade teacher, and he gave me the opportunity to shoot rockets in the sky and dissect worms! Sadly, I still don’t enjoy science too much, but he tried! Mrs. Kuehne was my religion teacher that year as well, and she taught me that Bible stories are really interesting, specifically Deborah, Samson, and the Old Testament Judges!  

In 7th grade, Mr. Peterman showed me that music helps me study (because there is never a bad time for a little rock and roll)! He also taught me that I could become a teacher one day. For example, he would always sit me next to one of my classmates he thought I could help or keep focused. I hated it at the time, but it was a life-long lesson that pushed me in the direction of education.  In 8th grade, Mr. Volberding taught me math that helped me succeed not only in high school, but later when I majored in math in college. There’s also Mrs. Dolan. She became my role model, and she still is today. She taught me how to be authentic as well as how to write with passion and speak with confidence. Hopefully, this article is proof of that! 

Last, but certainly not least, are my pastors. Pastor Briel and Pastor Johnson led chapel for us each Friday, just as St. John’s still does today. (The service of Matins is now one of my favorites and probably will always be.) They baptized me, confirmed me, and were there for me when life got tough. For instance, while in school one day in 6th grade I learned that one of my cousins had passed away. Honestly, there was no better place to be to hear that news than at a Lutheran school where the joys of being a Christian are taught, along with the promise we have in the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

This staff has watched me grow up, and they have taught me the skills I need to be successful. Now as a teacher, I get to see things from their side. Everyday I am still learning at St. John’s…but now I learn from the students I teach – the ones who struggle with their homework and those who don’t, the ones who argue on the playground, the ones who ask difficult questions, and those who remain quiet and just listen. 

St. John’s will continue to be a place I am always thankful for because of the people it brought into my life so long ago and because of the new people I get to meet now. As Proverbs 22:6 states, “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.”

To read the full newsletter, click here: