A DREAM, A PRAYER….A BRIEF HISTORY OF GREAT PLAINS LUTHERAN HIGH SCHOOL
Once the decision was made to open Great Plains Lutheran High School, the Great Plains Lutheran High School Association, under God’s guidance, recommended opening GPLHS in Watertown, SD, for the 1996-97 academic school year. Through much prayer and the dreams of many people to commit their time, talents, and dollars to the successful operation of a Lutheran secondary school, the Great Plains Lutheran High School Board’s recommendation to open GPLHS was voted upon by a group of delegates. The dream of opening a small school in Watertown became a reality by an overwhelming vote.
The purpose and mission statement were finalized. In short, the mission was and still is to provide a well-rounded Christian education to educate the whole person in a caring Christian environment. Currently GPLHS serves students and their families living in other states and other foreign countries. In August of 1995, the first administrator of GPLHS was installed. Under the leadership of the first administrator, Reverend Wayne Fischer, GPLHS saw its beginnings. Under Pastor Fischer, GPLHS had many firsts. The first building was erected, the first day of school, the first Christmas concert, the first graduation.
In the year 2000 Pastor Fischer accepted a call to become the superintendent of Minnesota Valley Lutheran High School in New Ulm, MN. By now the school was established and growing, and God saw fit that a new administrator would lead the school through the next transitional phase. Pastor Daniel Myers accepted the call and became the Dean of students and the acting Administrator. Ultimately he was asked to serve as the school’s full time administrator. Pastor Myers, like Pastor Fischer, had dreams of a bigger enrollment. GPLHS started with an enrollment of twenty three students, but Pastor Myers’ vision was to grow the school to 100 students before the tenth year of the school was completed. By God’s grace that goal was accomplished and surpassed.
In 2006 God then saw fit that Pastor Myers should serve him in Africa. The GPLHS board assigned Mr. Bert Falak the duties of Principal at GPLHS. A new Dean of students was called, Pastor David Maertz. Pastor Maertz continues to serve GPLHS today as the Dean of students and the acting Administrator. When GPLHS initially opened its doors, it only had four full-time faculty members plus part-time teachers and staff. Currently GPLHS has 12 full-time teachers, a part-time teacher, and many others on staff. The Lord continues to bless the faculty, staff, and students on a daily basis.
GPLHS continues its mission statement today. Student enrollment as of this writing is at 103. May God continue to gather up his lambs and lead all of us to shine like stars.