St. Paul Lutheran School students Olivia Reps, Ethan Ruskell and Ana Ruskell show off some of the auction baskets that will be sold during the school's annual auction, this year slated for Sunday, May 19.
St. Paul Lutheran School students Olivia Reps, Ethan Ruskell and Ana Ruskell show off some of the auction baskets that will be sold during the school's annual auction, this year slated for Sunday, May 19.
Area residents will have a chance to check out the big red barn, the potholders, cookies, shampoo and other baskets of goodies during the upcoming St. Paul Lutheran School's basket auction on Sunday, May 19.

The parochial school is marking its fifth year of operation, and the school family is hosting a basket auction once more on Sunday, May 19, to ensure that a sixth year of proud Christian operation is possible.

"This year's basket auction has lots of donations from local businesses, such as Dave's Barbershop, Kappers' Big Red Barn, Shear Hair Design and more," said St. Paul Lutheran School preschool teacher Shawn Reps. "We appreciate all the local support - and we also get baskets from individuals. So far, we have a cookie basket, a hair product basket, a homemade canned goods basket, one with 'Hello Kitty,' one filled with potholders and kitchen towels and one from Kappers' that has dairy products in it."

Local auctioneer Paul Gathje is donating his services to the school once again as the baskets are sold to the highest bidders who wish the pre-K through eighth grade school and its students well.

Reps related, "We raised $11,000 last year for our general operating expenses for the school. That covers books, curriculum, school supplies, salaries and more."

St. Paul Lutheran was established in order to support Christian parents in their God-given vocation of raising their children in the Christian faith. "We are committed to educating children in the faith as it is taught in the scriptures and as it is confessed in the historic confessions of the Lutheran church," Reps explained. "Because of this, we desire to train faithful, discerning and responsible students."

The school had its first graduation this past spring and five kids graduated from the school.

"Obviously, they and the other students have the chance to learn about Jesus in every subject, and that's great...being able to talk about Jesus," Reps said. "It's a small school with a small student-to-staff ratio, and it functions more like a family, because almost all the older kids help the younger kids at times."

Its staff is comprised of principal and head teacher Rhonda Dedor, teacher Sharon Meyer, Reps, music teacher Sarah Paul, administrative assistant Barbara Pentico and the Rev. Preston Paul.

Throughout the year, students enjoy one-room schoolhouse learning, visitors such as IBMers who bring Engineering Week projects to challenge their mechanical skills and Commonweal Theatre actors who share their dramatic talents with the students. They also go on field trips to the local care center to sing Christmas carols to residents.

The auction, which also features a hot dog and barbecue lunch with chips and root beer floats, shows the generosity of St. Paul Lutheran Church's parishioners and of the community.

"I think it's just the spirit that people have. They come to have fun and raise money for the school," Reps added. "It's just a real fun event. It's the spirit of giving. It's definitely contagious once people are there and bidding on baskets and other items."

Reps observed that the school is still accepting baskets for the auction, right up until a few days before. "We always need more baskets. Kids' items always go great. Unusual things interest people, and people always love chocolate. But we'd definitely like people to come and have a good time."

St. Paul Lutheran School's basket auction is slated for Sunday, May 19, at St. Paul Lutheran Church in Chatfield, 128 Fillmore St. SE.

The auction's item preview begins at 11:30 a.m., lunch starts at 11:45 a.m. and the auction itself, at 12:30 p.m.

For more information, contact St. Paul Lutheran School at (507) 867-3038.