Growing up in the 80s seemed a lot less stressful than today, with more pressures being placed upon the kids of today than in 1985. How blessed we are to live in the land of the free where we can decide where our children can go to high school.
However, making a decision on that next step to high school can be a hard one for any parent.
OLu Alumni Relations Coordinator Sharon Nelson '85 - mother to one current Lancer - sat down with friend and fellow alum Bill Boezinger - father to two current Lancers - to discuss what goes behind picking a high school for their young adults.
Q: Why do OLu Alumni send their kids to their alma mater?
Boezinger: I had such a positive experience when I attended, what we called back then “Lutheran High” or “Lu High,” that I wanted my own children to have a similar positive experience for high school.
Q: How has Orange Lutheran grown from when you attended? What differences do you see?
Boezinger: The enrollment has grown, almost tripled, but what hasn’t changed is the small school, close knit community that I experienced here as a student 30 years ago. With a larger student body, there are more opportunities and more resources. A very intentional effort has been made to create an environment where students can excel in academics, sports and the arts, surrounded by a caring Christian atmosphere. Super engaged compassionate teachers and faculty is still a key component, and that hasn’t changed a bit.
I would also say there is certainly better overall awareness of the school. OLu has a great reputation for its excellence in the classroom, on the playing field, and in the Arts. The campus has much better facilities like the Nechita Center, the new student union & cafe, and the state-of-the art weight room. During my time at OLu, the Nechita Center was the quad and there wasn’t even one gym. There has been a constant effort and drive from alumni, parents and other donors to create a generous legacy, which has enhanced our school and brought us to where we are today.
Q: Why did you and your teen choose your alma mater for your his/her high school education? What were the deciding factors?
Boezinger: After high school graduation, I stayed connected in some way or another with my alma mater. I tried to keep up on what was happening at my high school, which helped in the decision on where to send my kids. I attended homecoming football games, stayed connected with classmates, and helped plan and attended regular reunions.
The decision to invest in my kids high school education at OLu really wasn’t that hard. OLu is just the right size school. It’s not too small where they would feel limited, and also not too big where they might feel lost. It is big enough to offer a lot of opportunities: college prep academics, excellence in athletics and lots of unique offers in the arts. It was a good balance for my kids’ personalities to allow them to be active and involved in high school, like I was. Most importantly, it is a Christian environment where my kids feel safe and secure with their shared faith with teachers, staff, students and families. It’s important to me to have a setting where everyone has a shared set of core common values.
Q: What does a Christian education mean to you and to your family? Why is it important? How did it pave the way for you as you went into college and adulthood?
Boezinger: Honestly, the high school decision was an easy one. We sent our children to Lutheran elementary and middle school. We choose to continue the Christian education, to further strengthen their foundation in faith, so that upon graduation they would be prepared to enter college and the secular world. Our faith is very important to our family. My parents set the stage for this tradition with me and my siblings. Their decision to send me to OLu over 30 years ago, set the foundation that helped me prepare to go on to a large college like UCLA. It kept me grounded and prepared me for a healthy college experience and beyond. I really do believe in the mission statement at OLu: To help students internalize the gospel message of salvation in Christ Jesus.
Bill Boezinger was the ASB President while at OLu and graduated from UCLA in 1990 with a BA in Political Science and a minor in Business Administration. He has worked for the Walt Disney Company since 1999. A member of St. John’s Lutheran Church, he is a longtime Life Group Bible Study leader and currently serves on the St. John’s School Board. He has also been active in the Floral Park community as well as the YMCA Indian Princess/Guides program, serving 4 terms as “chief.” Bill, aka “Boe,” and his lovely wife, Cathe, have been married for over 20 years.