Who We Are
Christian beliefs, as taught in the Lutheran Church- Missouri Synod, extends into everything that is done here at Zion.
Christian instruction is integrated into the study of every subject and students are surrounded by teachers, staff, administrators and pastors who strive to have their very presence be a testimony to the Christian faith and our Lutheran manner of expressing that faith
Education here at Zion has long-range goals, as shown in God’s Word. It is the whole education of the people of God, regardless of age, carried out under the influence of the Gospel.
We strive to accomplish that with the help of God and believe that a Christian educator is committed to provide for God’s people a complete education under the influence of the gospel, by meeting their spiritual, social, and emotional needs.
In 2002, Mr. Curt Freudenberg retired after serving 42 years at Zion, at which time Mr. Jeremy Haggitt, a lifelong member of Zion was hired as a teacher and to be the new athletic director. Also in 2002 the school developed a “junior high” concept, where sixth through eighth graders would move to different classrooms to different teachers specializing in core subject areas. Two and a half teachers were assigned to the 20 some students in these grades.
2003 was the 100th anniversary of the transfer of the school to the Zion Congregation. Much has changed at Zion since that December in 1902 when Zion acquired a school, a headmaster and a teacherage from St. Paul congregation.
There was discussion about providing an after school program, providing a safe environment for the younger children to stay while their parents worked. This after school program eventually grew into our Day Care Center that we have today. Including infants through Pre-4, our center has grown, has 2 full time workers, including the Day Care Director.
We added the Script program where people could sign up and use gift cards with the percentage of money coming back to Zion which could be used to help with tuition and other expenses. Members that no longer have students at Zion are also able to use their Scrip dollars to help those that attend.
It is an exciting time at Zion, with the hiring of Julie Glumm, our new principal. She is a loving and caring person and brings excitement back to the classroom. She understands what we need to grow as a school and church. We have hired two male teachers, one that has a passion for robotics. Mr. Jonathan Bernau has started a robotics club, which is involved in area competition. The other gentleman, Mr. Jonathan Kamin, has taken on the responsibility of Athletic Director for Zion. With the help of the Principal, there has been a new set up for our dining room for our basketball season.
Outreach and service projects have become more visible, with the children becoming excited about giving and using innovative ways to collect money that is given to various charities. Chapel money has been given to Zion’s General Fund, Heifer-International, Hearts for Jesus L.A.M.P. Ministries and Valley Lutheran Building Project. Students, staff and parents come together to work on their service project, Warm and Cozy Night.
There have been changes in the Pre-3 structure. A third morning was added to the Pre-3 structure with an option to stay all day in afternoon child care. The three days are at parents’ discretion and will better prepare the preschool children for the structured four year old program.
The Kindergarten and Pre School teachers also revamped an old tradition from the time when Diane Eichinger was the first grade teacher. The Kindergarten and grades 1 to eight invited Pre-4 to a ‘More than K for a Day’. Parents and students were given a chance to visit all the classrooms at Zion and participated in a grade level activity with each classroom. The Kindergarten teacher the weeks after the event invited the Preschool students individually to participate for the day as a Kindergarten student. The Preschool programs enable the students to get to know each other and help one another with school projects.
Planning for the 2019/2020 school year we will have a Begindergarten program. This program is a step between preschool and Kindergarten. The program is geared toward the idea that students succeed if they are always moving forward and not repeating grades.
We provide tuition support to our families and have PTL support that provides our school and staff with items needed. One of the fun spring events at school is Reading Month. Nationally, March is reading month. The school plans a reading activity for everyday of the month. We are striving to become more involved in technology, offering online payments, information, and offering more choices to our students and their parents, realizing that this is the way of the future. The school website has gone through three versions before our current site. It was a labor intensive large project.
The most important goal in today’s world is to remember Zion’s mission in Bay City. Our mission, when we became a church in 1901, remains the same 118 years later. We are here to bring the Word of God to everyone, especially the unchurched parents and students that we come in contact with on a daily basis.
During this period, our 95 teachers taught thousands of students, and witnessed our faith and the teaching of the Gospel to their families. Three buildings have served as our school. Nine men and women have served as principal. Our enrollment has gone up and down for varied reasons throughout our history from a peak in the 1960’s to the valleys of the 2000’s. As of 2019, Zion Church is still committed to the school and its mission.
In 1978 Mrs. Rita Morrill and Mrs. Jan Vogtmann developed our Early Learners Christian Center which included 3 and 4 year old preschool and our Young 5’s or Pre-Kindergarten class. This program is still in use today.
During the 1970’s and 1980’s Zion School saw many teachers come and go. Judy Yost and Jan LaRocque were called in 1981. Mrs. Yost taught fourth grade and served as an organist, keyboardist and director of many music programs. Miss LaRocque taught the upper grades, usually seventh and eighth grade, leaving in 2001 to take a call in Waterford, MI.
David E. Waltz was called in 1985 to be principal and bring back some stability back to the school. Attendance was affected by staff changes. He was able to stabilize attendance for his first few years with attendance peaking at 247 in 1987. From that point on attendance slowly dropped year after year, when he left in 1999 attendance was at 196.
After Mr. Waltz took another call, Mrs. Janice Weisenbach was called to serve as our principal and third grade teacher. Also in 1999, Mrs. Julie Glumm, a life-long member of our congregation was taught as a part-time teacher, and became a full time in 2000.
In the spring of 1999, the congregation voted for the first time to make the position of principal a half-day administrative position, while the other half-day was dedicated to teaching. Prior to this all of our principals had full-day and received release time to do administration.
There is a real cause for celebration and thanksgiving as members compare the church’s small beginning in a frame band hall to a substantial stone structure in which they worship today and the start of a parochial school in a humble frame building with a spacious and modern brick parish school that forms part of the new Zion Memorial Building.
During the next decade more students enrolled and more teachers were required. During the year 1954 Mr. Edhardt Hitzeman joined our staff as the 7th grade teacher and music director. He served Zion until his retirement and continued to substitute teach and play the organ. More students enrolled and more teachers were required. Vicar Bill Olsen was required to teach during his year at Zion in 1954 – 55. Three student teachers were employed during 1956-57 school year. Gertrude Stahling, a member or our congregation also taught that year when there were 268 students enrolled at Zion.
The school was so crowded that an addition was built during 1957, when a southern wing was added to the building. This included 3 classrooms, a teacher’s workroom and a full basement, which was used for congregational meetings, events, a recess area for the lower grades during inclement weather, and a meeting area for the Boy Scouts. A large closet under the eastern stairwell was used for a time as a small bookstore, where pencils, erasers, paper, etc. could be purchased.
Just graduating from Concordia College, Seward, NB in 1960 Mr. Curt Freudenburg was called to fill the position of sixth grade teacher and athletic director. He spent his whole career here at Zion and retired in 2002 after 42 years of service. During this time Mr. Freudenburg served twice as interim principal, once after the sudden death of Mr. Senne in 1973 and again in 1980 after Mr. Hartmann resigned.
Athletics has been a big part of the history of Zion. Our school children competed in inter-school athletics for many years. The annual “Field Day” has been a popular circuit-wide event over fifty years. Mr. Freudenburg developed a basketball program that was very competitive in the local league. His athletic program included basketball, soccer, softball, flag-football and volleyball, all which had great participation.
In 1963 we called Janet Roth, who taught second grade and spent her entire career here at Zion. In 1970 she married Marvin Vogtmann, a widower from our congregation. Retiring in 2003 Mrs. Vogtmann is still an active member here at Zion. In 1966 Rita Wood was called to serve as our first- grade teacher, and taught until marrying W. Lee Morrill. School enrollment at Zion peaked in 1960 at 340 students.
In 1975 a new Kindergarten was opened and Mrs. Karen Hoerauf, with her husband, Dennis Hoerauf was called to teach this new program, staying until 1980.
In the middle of world conflict and uncertainty, the idea of one of Zion’s greatest accomplishments was presented. On March 5, 1944 William List declared at a Voter’s Meeting that Zion lacked adequate facilities for church-centered physical recreation and social activities, and requested permission to have plans drawn up for a recreational unit in connection with Zion Lutheran School. With this beginning the plan grew and on November 5, 1944 the voters agreed that Zion should start a drive for $50,000.00 to construct a large parish hall as a memorial to the young men fighting and dying for our country in World War II. A memorial Building Fund committee was created a month later. World War II ended and in February 1947 the congregation sponsored a homecoming banquet for all veterans of the war, held at Zehnder’s in Frankenmuth. That fall, the City of Bay City was petitioned to open Kiesel Street to Osage and Osage to Raymond Avenue as a preliminary step in Zion’s further expansion. Additional property was purchased from Martin Keit in 1946, which would be the site of our present Memorial Building.
Upon the recommendation of the Board of Christian Education, the congregation called a fourth teacher in 1947. This meant that the old school building would now be used in its entirety for school purposes and that therefore, recreational and social facilities would be at a minimum.
Action on the proposed Memorial Building came on April 4, 1948, when voting members voted 82 to 35 in favor of proceeding immediately with the development of the architect’s plans for the complete building, which included school, auditorium and recreational facilities, an eight lane bowling alley, dining room and kitchen. The contract for the Memorial Build was awarded in January, 1949 to the Charles C. Englehardt Construction Co. with ground breaking ceremonies conducted on the first Sunday of March.
Zion Lutheran Memorial Building had its dedication service on October 39, 1949. At the morning service William List, chairman of the Building Committee unlocked and opened the buildings front doors. Rev. Andrew Zeile, president of the Michigan District delivered the dedicatory sermon in the spacious auditorium. A memorial service in the afternoon paid tribute to the congregation’s service men and women of World War II.
In the evening a civic program was conducted, with the principal speaker Circuit Judge Karl K. Leibrand. Other city officials who addressed the gathering included Mayor Elford A. Cederburg, Russell Smith, representing the Bay City Board of Education, and Arthur Cansfield, principal of Handy High School.
Arrangements for the observance of the congregation’s golden anniversary began to take shape during the last months of 1950 as pastors, teachers, and laymen joined their time and efforts to make 1951 a year of celebration, thanksgiving and even great accomplishments for Zion
Soon after the installation of Rev. Edward W. Bohn, Jr. was installed as Zion’s first resident Pastor the congregation built a spacious parsonage next to the church.
After practically all the members of St. Paul’s Church which formed, the school district of Salzburg had either joined or made a commitment to join the new congregation, it was logical for the mother church of Frankenlust to turn over the school property in Salzburg to the new congregation. For a nominal sum, the new church acquired a school and a teacher’s home. More valuable Zion was supplied with an able, energetic, faithful teacher, Mr. J.W. Putz. In a very short time Zion became well established, with a pastor, teacher, church, a parsonage, a school and a teacher’s home.
The early records of the congregation reveal that a tuition fee was charged those members whose children attended parochial school. The rates were as follows: $1.50 for each of the first two children of members, additional children were free; children whose parents were not members were charged $3.00 for each of the first two children and any additional children were free. In the spring of 1904 Mr. Putz was instructed to teach English as well as German in school. Miss Mary Kroenke was hired to assist Mr. Putz with the lower grades. The congregation continued to grow and soon had outgrown its church building and a spacious addition was added to the original hall.
During 1912 there were further plans for the expansion of Zion. A building fund for a new school was begun with a donation of $100 from Christopher Heitzig, Sr. In the same year; a committee was authorized to investigate possible purchase of land for the location of a new parochial school. The committee’s work resulted in the purchase of lots from the Trombley Land Company. A decision was made to build a red brick school on the corner of Ivy and Raymond Avenues by the congregation during April of 1913. Before the year ended the Ladies’ Aid Society had paid off part of the debt on the new organ and six more lots (our present playground) were purchased from Martin Keit in May 1914.
Bay City Construction Co. was awarded the job to build the new red brick school, for the bid amount of $15,665.00. The cornerstone of the school was laid October 15, 1917. The school building committee members who laid the groundwork for this important step to forward Christian education were: George Englehardt, George Boehm, George Mueller, William Mueller, Adam Arnold, J.G. Weiss, E. Deffner and Pastor Brunn.
Dedication of the school took place on August 26, 1917, with German and English services and a picnic. The new building was used during WW I for patriotic meetings sponsored by the Salzburg Citizen’s Club and the LBM.
Installation of bowling alleys took place in the basement of the school, after the congregation had given its permission to the Athletic Club in October of 1919.