The virtues of Lutheran Education at St. James were displayed in a most fitting way during the month of January. Ted Barnes, a member of Lutheran Church of St. John, and former active parent at St. James, lost a very short but hard-fought battle with cancer. While his children were students at St. James, he spent countless hours coaching both boys and girls sports teams, showing tremendous patience and encouragement to all the kids, no matter what their athletic abilities may be. The current St. James students had raised over $600 earlier in the month to assist with his medical expenses.
Ted's son, Isaac, is currently a Junior at QHS, but attended St. James from pre-K to 8th grade. His class consisted of approximately 20 kids in the early years, and then tapered off, as most classes do, by the time he graduated. Although his class has moved on to new and different experiences, friends, schools, and even towns, the kids still have fond memories of their time at St. James.
Within minutes of hearing of Ted's passing, these students were texting each other, making plans of how they could support Isaac during this time of great loss. Sixteen kids, all St. James alumni, met in the school/church parking lot and rode together to the funeral home for Ted's visitation. According to his mother, the smile on Isaac's face when he saw them lit up the room! They spent the entire evening at the funeral home and then took Isaac out to eat when visitation was over.
The next day, once again, the group met at St. James and carpooled to the funeral home for Ted's service. This time, there were 18 of them in attendance, including a former classmate that drove himself from Wisconsin just to be here for the day. One of the only students that was not there happened to be on a mission trip in Guatemala. As I sat at the end of the two rows filled with this group of teenagers, all dressed in their best, my heart was bursting with pride at the amazing young people they have grown up to be. Out of the 2000 students at QHS, and many other friends that Isaac has made in the last few years, the 18 kids that were there were the ones he grew up with at St. James.
After joining Isaac at the funeral luncheon, the kids made their way back to St. James to retrieve their cars, but not before going in to the school to visit with former teachers and staff, and reminisce about their time at St. James Lutheran School. It was said that they couldn't stop by without coming “home”. They were welcomed with open arms by those who had shared their childhood with them.
In today's world of negativity and pressure for our youngsters, it is absolutely refreshing to see the bond and love that these kids have shown for a classmate and friend. They were truly “seeing and sharing Jesus!” It is imperative to remember that that bond started at St. James Lutheran School and was nourished by teachers, staff, and parents in the years that they were here. We have a treasure in our school, and I will never regret my decision to have my children be a part of such a place. It is a blessing indeed!!
Submitted by Amy Evers