The Future of Education: Alumni prepare to impact the next generation of students

From the Spring 2023 Cadets Magazine

At Concordia Lutheran High School, we celebrate our role in preparing servant leaders. For 88 years, the faculty and staff have nurtured students who went on to find success in all sectors of life here in Fort Wayne and around the world. Trade vocational professionals, service men and women, doctors, lawyers, accountants, business owners, engineers, scientists, social workers, newscasters, entrepreneurs, and so many more all had their beginnings as Cadets. Each would have their own story of how a Concordia teacher, coach, or staff member took the time to know them personally and sparked an interest and conviction to use their unique gifts as servant leaders.

Educators make the difference. Concordia has a rich tradition of excellence in its staff that continues to this day. In my time as a Concordia student, names like Jordan, Luepke, Massucci, Lebeau, Bahr, Fluegge, Ihssen, and many others helped to shape my path. I attribute much of who I am and how I serve to the influence of my teachers and coaches. 

Which teachers influenced your story? How did they challenge you? Inspire you? Hold you accountable? Show grace?

At a time when information is more readily available than ever but truth seems harder to discern, we need teachers to prepare the next generation for a changing tomorrow. Benjamin Franklin once said, “Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.” Teachers are privileged to be part of a student’s journey toward lifelong learning. Today, we strive to develop critical thinking, discernment, character, and a nurtured faith within our students

In the face of all the challenges in education today, teachers are true believers. They believe in their students even when they may not believe in themselves. They lead and guide step by step — truly a great act of optimism. 

At Concordia, we are encouraging our students to explore the opportunities to serve in education and the church through a newly developed elective course titled, “Education Professions.” Learn more about this course on page 15. We hope to inspire those for whom this vocation might be a life calling by raising awareness and providing classroom experiences. While not everyone enrolled in the class will go on to be a teacher by profession, it is an exposure to methods of instruction and the learning process that can be valuable in any field. 

We are proud of the many teachers and church workers who are former Cadets. We highlight some of those who recently completed their student teaching experience in the following pages. These are students who are preparing themselves to mold minds and shape lives, just like the teachers who poured into them. Watching our recent graduates step into lives of service provides a great reason for optimism. 

I’m humbled and thankful to work side-by-side with the highly qualified and dedicated educators that currently serve at Concordia. Our Concordia family can be proud of how our teachers and staff continue the tradition of excellence in Christian education.  


“A teacher affects eternity; he can never tell where his influence stops.” ~ Henry Adams. 


Go Cadets!

Jacob Pennekamp ’92
Head of School 


Kennedy Trice ’19

Allisonville Elementary School, Indianapolis, Ind.

Ball State University - Elementary Education

“I love the fact that I get to learn every day and try new things. It is amazing being able to make connections with the students and learn from my mentor teacher. I feel the impact I am making on my classroom and the impact they have made on me. … Growing up, I never had any teachers that looked like me. Now that I am pursuing education, I understand the importance of representation and diversity in the classroom. I feel that I have been called to be that representation for other black students, which is why I am very passionate about teaching in a diverse community.”


Alexa Hoover ’19

Anchor Lutheran School in Anchorage, Alaska

Concordia University Chicago - Lutheran Elementary Education degree with a minor in Theology and Middle Grades Literacy Endorsement

“Building relationships with all of my students has by far been my favorite part about student teaching. Having the platform to create lessons that cater to my student’s interests as well as incorporate the skills and theories that I have learned throughout college has been amazing! In addition, I am also so thankful for the opportunity to student teach in beautiful Alaska. Even if it is 3,700 miles away from home, I have really enjoyed exploring a new part of the country that I otherwise would not have been able to experience! … Ever since I was a junior camp counselor growing up, I have always had a passion for working with kids. I love the positive impact that teachers had on me as a child; therefore, I hope to make a difference in the lives of my future students. In the Lutheran school system, I not only will help my students develop academically, socially, and emotionally, but have the privilege to guide them as they grow in their faith and teach them about Jesus and the Gospel.”


Hayley Grisez ’19

Greater Lafayette Career Academy in the Automotive Service and Motorsports Classes, West Lafayette, Ind. 

Purdue University West Lafayette Engineering Technology Teacher Education (ETTE)

“I am constantly learning something new! While working at the Career Academy fits my Engineering and Technology background, I get to grow my automotive and motorsports skills. I also love the excitement my students get when they are learning something new. You can see their “lightbulb moment,” and they make/do some pretty amazing things when you connect that to something they are passionate about. Building relationships with students and getting to be there to see them grow and get to know them every day is one of my favorite things.”


Brooke Hockemeyer ’18

Concordia Lutheran High School in Tomball, Texas
(Fall 2022)

Concordia University Chicago, Secondary Math Education with a Middle Grades Endorsement

“I enjoyed building confidence in my abilities under the leadership of my cooperating teachers while having fun with my amazing students. … I always knew that I wanted to enter a math-related field, and during my senior year I would often help my friends with their math homework. My math teachers at CLHS were incredible and helped me to realize that I could make a difference in students’ lives by being a teacher in a subject area that I love.” 


Michelle Frerking ’18

Concordia Preparatory School in Baltimore, Md.
(Spring 2022)

Concordia University Chicago Middle Grades Education: Literacy & Science and Lutheran Teacher certification
(Class of 2022)

“I loved being able to finally connect with students and learn from other teachers! Learning about teaching is nice, but nothing compared to a real-life experience with students. My mentor teachers and the other teachers at Concordia Prep were encouraging, supportive, and so helpful. … I initially didn’t want to pursue education, but God has a way of leading you to where He is calling. My parents have been a great inspiration to me throughout their career as educators, as have the teachers I’ve had throughout my life and at CLHS.”


Susan Habegger ’19

Martin Luther High School in Greendale, Wis.

Concordia University Wisconsin, English & Secondary Education with a Theology minor

“The best part is finally getting to try teaching! COVID interfered with a lot of my field experience, so I’ve spent the past three and a half years learning about what I should do in a classroom without any way of trying things out. With student teaching, I get to try things, figure out what works, and learn what I like and dislike as a teacher. … A large part of (choosing education) was my love for English and my desire to have a job. I was afraid of solely majoring in English, so I added education to make sure I could work after graduation. During college, though, I realized that Lutheran education is where my passions intersect. It’s the only place where I can talk about English, share my love for Jesus, and be involved in theatre all at the same time.”


Bethany Zeckzer ’18

Lincoln Lutheran Middle/High School (Fall 2022)

Concordia University Nebraska K-12 Vocal and Instrumental Music Education, Lutheran Teacher Diploma (graduated December 2022)

“My favorite thing about student teaching was taking everything that I hypothetically talked and learned about for the past four years into use — teaching real students instead of imaginary students is so much more fun! … Becoming a teacher is something that God has been putting on my heart from a very young age. He continued opening and closing doors, leading me to studying music education at Concordia Nebraska.”


Andy Klage ’19 

Columbus North High School in Columbus, Ind.

Indiana University-Bloomington, Social Studies Secondary Education 

“My favorite thing about student teaching is that I have been able to develop strong and positive relationships with my students. With being in the classroom full-time as a student teacher, I have such a great opportunity to get to know my students and build a strong rapport with them. I love being able to talk to them about not just U.S. History and Economics but also their extracurricular involvement, their jobs, or the latest news in the sports world. I’ve also gotten to know the other social studies teachers at my school very well and consider them both my friends and mentors, furthering that relationship-building aspect of student teaching that has been so rewarding. … I have always enjoyed school and think that having good teachers is incredibly important for students. I was blessed to have great teachers throughout my education, and they inspired me to pay that service back to others and make an impact on future students. I also have always really enjoyed U.S. History and thought that teaching was the perfect outlet for that passion.”


Eli Ernst ’18

McCutcheon High School in Lafayette, Ind.

Purdue University, Social Studies Education

“(The best part of student teaching is) being able to collaborate with several teachers from different backgrounds and gain knowledge about the work environment. … I chose education as my career path because I always loved school and the teachers that motivated me, so I wanted to learn to be like teachers that cared to push me to be the best version of myself.”