“The North Wisconsin District (NWD) Lutheran Church Extension Fund (LCEF) decided that due to the incredible caliber of scholarship applications we received this year, we are offering not just one scholarship in our district but three,” said NWD LCEF VP Dennis Johnson. “Congratulations Steven Dykstra, our first recipient of three $1,000 LCEF scholarships this spring in the North Wisconsin District.” Dykstra is a senior at Lincoln High School and an active member of Immanuel Lutheran Church in Wisconsin Rapids, Wis.
“… About a year ago I discovered [Steven’s] love for teaching children and his heart to serve others,” wrote Immanuel’s Pastor Tim Ritter in his letter of recommendation. Dykstra leads Sunday School groups for children ages 3-10, has helped with Vacation Bible School, plays guitar in the praise band nearly weekly and is dedicated to be in worship each week.
“Steven is also a great athlete and he lives his faith both on and off the field. He is a role model to his teammates and to his friends. When he is not busy with school work, or sports practices, he is sharing his love for sports here at our Lutheran day school by refereeing basketball games and occasionally giving pointers to younger players. He is truly a remarkable young man,” wrote Ritter.
Dykstra expressed gratitude to have had the opportunity to attend a Lutheran school that also had various building projects over the years. As a result, Dykstra sees great value in helping others grow their ministries too. He grew up attending Immanuel Lutheran School from Kindergarten through eighth grade. It is obvious that spending his formative years in Christian education has served him well. Dykstra wrote about Immanuel L.S. as a “building filled with a faithful group of teachers that molded my life. My favorite teacher there had to be my seventh grade teacher, Mr. Voelker. He was my homeroom teacher, coach and someone that I still see today as a mentor outside the classroom. The most important thing in his life is sharing his faith with us and religion classes …. I am amazed at how he could connect the Bible. He was also good at pointing out how the Bible still fits into our lives today.”
“My life has been filled with opportunities to grow in the Lutheran faith! … LCEF is an organization that is very important to the Lutheran church to continue to grow and touch people as it has touched me through my years growing up. That is a very important mission as our government is attacking the very structure of our faith. Each year, we see religious figures being removed from town parks. And the Supreme Court making rulings that cut the moral standards that made our country strong,” wrote Dykstra.
Lincoln H.S. Physical Education-Health Chair Terri Larson had this to say about Dykstra as a student:
“[Steve] has a passion and gift for competition having lettered three years in our soccer program as well as an anticipated third letter in our track program this spring.… He has been on the Highest Honors honor roll all three years of high school and was selected to serve on the Principal's Student Advisory Council for two years. One gift that he has also been able to share with others is his involvement in the Volunteer Program. Some people are blessed with the intellectual ability to do well for themselves however Steve has chosen to share his skills with others through a variety of volunteer programs. These programs encompass youth programs as well as church groups.
Sometimes athletic skill, along with individual character go hand-in-hand ... this holds true with Steve. I have found him to uphold very solid values. His integrity, level of responsibility, and unselfishness make him a strong leader. He is held in high regard for these characteristics that he displays in academic and athletic areas. It made my heart proud to hear that he is striving for a career in education-that is a good thing. Steve is not afraid to do what is right … without compromising his basic principles. Taking a situation and looking at it through a positive light is one of the traits that his classmates & I have come to respect in Steve. … He is a hardworking, intelligent, and determined young man that will make a positive difference in all that he is involved with.”
LCEF is blessed to provide annual scholarships to our outstanding LCMS students throughout the upper Midwest districts of Iowa East, Iowa West, Minnesota North, Minnesota South, North Dakota, North Wisconsin and South Wisconsin. The online scholarship application is posted online in September. Watch our local newsfeed and Facebook page for more 2014 scholarship winners to be announced this spring.