LESA Extends Scholarship Application Deadline

LESA Extends 2020-21 Scholarship Application Deadlines due to COVID-19.

A message from our Scholarship Program Director

With all the unprecedented changes in our daily lives over the past week and weeks to come, due to COVID-19, LESA feels it is in the best interest of our schools and families to extend the scholarship application deadline to allow families time to complete the application and extra time to get their taxes done and documents submitted to their scholarship application for 2020/2021.

We understand some families may not have access to a computer and we would encourage schools to assist these families and allow them access to the computers at school by appointment only. LESA staff are available by phone (numbers listed below) to assist with application questions and FACTS customer service is available as well. The FACTS customer service number is 866-412-4637.

Family Information:

April 10, 2020 – Scholarship Application Deadline

April 30, 2020 – Application must be Complete/Verified (Compete/Verified = all documents have been submitted, FACTS verified all documents, and application status is complete/verified on April 30). LESA only reviews applications for a scholarship award that are complete/verified.

School Information:

April 30, 2020 – LESA School Comments Form deadline:

  • The LESA School Comments Form is now open and available for principals to complete for each student that has a submitted application. I encourage all principals to complete the LESA School Comments Form on a weekly basis from now until April 30. The Comments Form needs to be completed for every student, whether they have a complete or incomplete application. So if you could take time each week to view the applications on FACTS from families at your school and complete the LESA Comments Form frequently, the LESA Scholarship Award Committee will be able to review more applications during our award committee meeting in May.

Notifications – LESA will notify the school and families of the scholarship award determinations via email by May 31, 2020.

LESA understands the challenges and difficulties facing our world today and we pray that everyone will continue to lean on their faith and put their trust in our Lord Jesus Christ.

Maureen Gersman
Office Manager & Scholarship Program Director
314.200.0790 – Main Phone & Voicemail


LESA Volunteer Spotlight

Auction Action with Deb Hofmann & Jackie Roedel

If you’ve ever stopped by our LESA office in the months and weeks leading up to our annual Cooking for Kids Tribute Dinner-Auction, you might have noticed two of our busy volunteers, Deb Hofmann and Jackie Roedel, putting together the 60-80 unique gift baskets that fill our Silent Auction tables at the event (or in the case of this year’s virtual “Cooking for Kids” – your computer screen!). Like all of our volunteers, Deb and Jackie are a vital part of LESA’s mission to serve our families, teachers and member schools. Read on to learn more about their contributions. 

What do you do at LESA?

Deb: We organize and procur items that come in for LESA’s Annual “Cooking for Kids” Dinner-Auction and also Brew in the Lou, to a lesser extent. We put them together artistically and then catalogue and keep track of what went over well the year before. And the day before the event, we help set everything up. All the little things that have to be done behind the scenes. 

Jackie: We get all the supplies and everything out, and then we decide what would go well with what in each basket. Then we build the basket, and then we complete the basket. The better the job we do, the more LESA can do for our students and schools. 

How long have you volunteered for LESA?

Deb: This is my third auction. I started volunteering after I retired from working in healthcare administration at the St. Louis College of Pharmacy, Barnes-Jewish Hospital and Washington University. 

Jackie: I started in 2009 after I retired from working as a physical therapist at St. Anthony’s (now Mercy Hospital South) Acute Care division. However, when I was still working, I helped set up the tables when the dinner-auction was held at Royale Orleans. And then when I retired, I didn’t know how to do baskets, I’d never done one in my life! But my good friend Linda Lehr, another longtime LESA volunteer, recruited me. 

How many hours a week do you volunteer? 

Jackie: When we’re really going strong, five days a week, 9-3 pm, basically a full work week. 

Deb: We start working on the baskets the first week of January. And then after the event, we clean up and then we start again in August for Brew in the Lou.  

What’s the secret to a successful auction basket? 

Jackie: Teamwork – we decide on the items together, we put it together, we build it together. We each have our own niche. We bounce ideas off each other. And then I will usually do the shrink-wrapping and Deb bows them, she is so good at bows! She picks out the color and what kind. And so it works well that way. 

Why do you volunteer for LESA? 

Jackie: Oh, I enjoy it. My husband was born and raised Lutheran and he always says his daughters received a good Lutheran education (at Word of Life Lutheran School in south city and Lutheran South). I’m not actually Lutheran, but they’ve welcomed me and they appreciate us. There’s never a day that people don’t say thank you and they mean it. 

Deb: Well, Jackie actually asked me to help! But I’m also a product of Lutheran elementary and high schools – Lutheran South and Word of Life Lutheran when it was called Ascension Lutheran School, and my step mom taught in the Lutheran schools for 40 plus years. In fact, she taught Laura Montgomery (LESA’s Director of Educational Resources!) My husband went to Hope Lutheran and Lutheran South, and my kids went to Word of Life and Lutheran South.  

What’s your favorite part of what you do for LESA?

Jackie: I think shopping for items to add to the baskets. Everybody works so well together and it’s fun. And I have to say the best part of it is that we’re appreciated. 

Deb: I would say being able to have some creativity in how we display the items but the biggest thing is the people there. Sue (Nahmensen, LESA’s CEO) was the secretary at Word of Life Lutheran when my kids went there! We have a lot of fun. You don’t get a paycheck, but the benefits are way beyond that. And I feel fortunate that I can do it. 

What do you do when you’re not at LESA?

Jackie – I also volunteer for the American Czech Hall in south St. Louis, where I grew up. I’m the Animal Booth Lady – Deb helps me with that too! I also work the festival and help make all the pastries and dumplings for the festival, like kolache and all kinds of things. And then we make the dumplings for the Pork & Dumplings and the Duck & Dumplings. (You can taste Jackie’s cooking at this year’s Czech Festival, which has been rescheduled for Fall 2020, date to be determined.)

Deb: I like to work on home projects and I also have gotten into looking up my family tree. I’ve traced my family’s roots back to Germany, Scotland and the Alsace-Lorraine area of France. In terms of volunteering, I also co-chair of the Decorating Committee for our home church, Ascension Lutheran. We decorate the facility for Christmas and other holidays as well as for the Vacation Bible Study we hold every summer. I’m also co-chair the Fundraising Committee for Ascension’s Capital Campaign, which includes coming up with various projects and events to help raise funds for the school and church so we can continue to share Christ’s love now and in the years to come. I wanted my children to know that belonging to a church meant more than just sitting in the pew for an hour or so each week.  In addition to that, volunteering has blessed us with many great memories as well as good friends.

Thank you, Deb and Jackie, you are a blessing to LESA’s ministry and those we serve!

2020 Lutheran Student Christian Leader

Green Park Lutheran Student is St. Louis’s 2020 Lutheran Student Christian Leader

Ella Arbeiter, 13, would have been honored Saturday, April 18, at LESA’s cancelled “Cooking for Kids” Dinner-Auction to support Lutheran schools

(St. Louis, MO) April 20, 2020 – Ella Arbeiter, a graduating eighth-grader at Green Park Lutheran School in south St. Louis County – and future Lutheran South freshman – has been named Lutheran Student Christian Leader of the Year by the St. Louis-based Lutheran Elementary School Association (LESA). The award, which includes a $500 scholarship underwritten by the Lutheran Church Extension Fund, recognizes Lutheran elementary schools students who demonstrate courage, compassion, leadership, academic achievement and a commitment to their community. (Click here to see a video interview with Ella.)

Ella, 13, had been scheduled to receive her award Saturday, April 18, at LESA’s annual “Cooking for Kids” Tribute Dinner-Auction at Orlando Gardens South. The dinner, which was cancelleddue to the COVID-19 crisis, has since been converted to an online auction event to support scholarships and services for students at 31 Lutheran elementary schools in the St. Louis area. Bidding begins Saturday, April 18, and runs through May 3 at www.lesastl.org.

Ella was nominated for the award by one of her teachers, Mr. Joshua Dixon. “Ella has been instrumental over the past few years in the operation of our yearly food drives and donation drives for missionaries and other church work,” said Mr. Dixon. “She’s the first to volunteer, the first to comfort, the first to try new things and the first to jump into action when action is needed. She leads by examples and encourages others to follow her example.”

Last year, Ella and her mother Emily participated in a mission trip to Hong Kong, where Ella helped students read and speak English. “It was so cool to be over there and to share our faith,” said Ella. She says her desire to help others is inspired by her mother, who raised Ella as a single mother after having her in college. “I look up to my mother as a leader because she did it by herself,” said Ella. “She moved to St. Louis where she didn’t know anyone. I see her as a huge role model in my life.”

In addition to her service work and studies, Ella is an active athlete. At Green Park, she played basketball and ran track and cross country. She also swims competitively year-round. Her favorite subjects are English and math, and she hopes to work in business or accounting someday. In the meantime, she’s looking forward to attending Lutheran South in the fall. For Ella, being a Lutheran Christian Leader is a way of life. “It means that you try to be the best role model – when someone is looking and when someone is not.”

LESA hopes to honor Ella in person at a future date, in cooperation with public health guidelines.

“Cooking for Kids” is LESA’s largest annual fundraising event to support and sustain the future of Lutheran Christian education in the St. Louis Metro Area. Bidding will open April 18 at www.LESAstl.org for hundreds of items, including jewelry, art, autographed sports memorabilia, tickets to see Hamilton at the Fox, Blues and Cardinals tickets, golf packages, and season passes to the St. Louis Zoo, among other prizes.

About LESA

More than 8,300 children of all faiths attend LESA member Lutheran schools in the St. Louis Metro Area, making Lutheran schools the second-largest private school system in the Bi-State Region. A Recognized Service Organization of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, LESA represents 31 elementary schools, three high schools and three related agencies. Since 2004, LESA has awarded more than $5.5 million in need-based scholarships to 3,488 families in the St. Louis area. Visit www.LESAstl.org, or follow us on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/brewintheloustl/.

About Green Park Lutheran School

Green Park Lutheran School is a nationally accredited JK-8 school located in south St. Louis county. For over 55 years Green Park Lutheran has served as a destination and a pillar in the community, offering academic excellence in a Christ-centered environment. Located at Union on Green Park Road near I-55 and Reavis Barracks, Green Park is a ministry owned and operated by Christ Memorial, Gethsemane, Peace and Resurrection churches. For information on enrollment for the 2020-21 school year, or to schedule a tour, visit https://greenparklutheranschool.org/, or call 314-544-4248.


Katherine (Kit) Auble
Director, Fund Development and Marketing

Brenda  Kimberlin
Media Coordinator
Lutheran Elementary School Association (LESA)
314-496-1799 (cell)