Lancaster Mennonite School
|Lancaster Mennonite School|
|Lancaster, Pennsylvania, United States|
|Funding type||Private school|
|Superintendent||J. Richard Thomas|
|Color(s)||Black and Gold|
|Athletics||16 Interscholastic Sports|
|Athletics conference||Lancaster-Lebanon League|
Lancaster Mennonite School is a private Christian school with four campuses in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. The Lancaster Campus, east of the city of Lancaster, Pennsylvania, serves students in grades six through twelve. The high school on the Lancaster Campus is known as Lancaster Mennonite High School. The nearby Locust Grove Campus provides pre-kindergarten through sixth grade. To the southwest of Lancaster city, the New Danville Campus offers pre-kindergarten through fifth grade. In northwest Lancaster County, the Kraybill Campus has students in pre-kindergarten through eighth grade. Altogether, the school had a total enrollment of approximately 1,500 students at the start of the 2013-14 school year.
Each of the four campuses of Lancaster Mennonite School has a rich history. All were founded as separate schools to give parents an alternative to public schools in which students could be taught in a Christ-centered environment. Locust Grove Mennonite School was founded 1939, and New Danville Mennonite School in 1940, to offer grades one through eight. The Lancaster Conference of the Mennonite Church began the development of a Christian high school, Lancaster Mennonite School, on the site of the former Yeates School in 1942. To better serve families in northwest Lancaster County, Lancaster Mennonite School then helped to start Kraybill Mennonite School in 1949, which originally provided first through tenth grade.
Although each school was founded independently, the schools shared a common mission, values, and constituency, and eventually decided to work together as a comprehensive PreK-12 system under the name of Lancaster Mennonite School. New Danville merged with Lancaster in 2001, followed by Locust Grove in 2003 and Kraybill in 2006. Although each campus has its own unique history and flavor, the four campuses claim the same distinctives: Christ-centered, educational excellence, faith-infused opportunities, caring community, and peace and service.
Lancaster Mennonite is also closely affiliated with several other Mennonite institutions that are fairly prominent in the Mennonite circle. Christopher Dock is considered to be a sister school of Lancaster Mennonite. Eastern Mennonite High School and Eastern Mennonite University are two other Mennonite institutions that are closely connected to Lancaster Mennonite School.
- Locust Grove Mennonite School (now Locust Grove Campus) founded
- New Danville Mennonite School (now New Danville Campus) founded
- Lancaster Mennonite School founded
- Kraybill Mennonite School (now Kraybill Campus) founded in the Kraybill Meetinghouse with grades 1-10 in cooperation with Lancaster Mennonite School
- LMS builds a junior high building on the Kraybill campus
- Lancaster Mennonite School renamed Lancaster Mennonite High School to emphasize that it offered grades 9-12.
- Middle school (grades 6-8) started on the Lancaster Campus
- New Danville Mennonite School merges to form Lancaster Mennonite School, one K-12 school with two campuses
- Locust Grove Mennonite School (PreK-8) merges with Lancaster Mennonite School and becomes the Locust Grove Campus (now Prek-6)
- Kraybill Mennonite School (K-8) merges with Lancaster Mennonite School and becomes the Kraybill Campus (PreK-8)
Although the schools once served primarily Mennonite students, LMS students now represent a wide diversity of Christian families who appreciate an excellent education in a Christ-centered atmosphere that emphasizes personal faith and discipleship. While LMS is committed to the core values of Anabaptist Christian faith (e.g., adult baptism), the school wants to be seen as "warmly ecumenical."
The Lancaster Campus has a diverse student body enriched by students from several foreign countries through the school's residential program. Approximately 33% of Lancaster Campus students are from under-represented racial-ethnic groups, including more than 100 international students. Students have come from all over the globe to attend school at Lancaster Mennonite. South Korea, China, Kenya, Russia, Ethiopia, Japan, Mexico, Germany, Singapore and New Zealand are just a few of the many countries that have been represented at the Lancaster campus.
The Lancaster Campus has a residence hall, Graybill Hall, that houses approximately 60 out-of-state and international students attending Lancaster Mennonite High School. The G. Parke Book Building, renovated in 2004, is home to specialized agriculture and technology classrooms. The modern Calvin and Janet High Fine Arts Center contains an 1168-seat technologically up-to-date auditorium, music rooms and art rooms to support the school's strong commitment to the arts.
A two-story building provides classroom space for the middle school on the lower level and the high school on the upper level, along with the Alumni Dining Hall and a large library.
In 2008, the Rutt Academic Center was added, including classrooms for mathematics, business classes, sciences, and family and consumer sciences. The building also houses a welcome center and administrative offices for the Lancaster Mennonite School system.
For athletics, the Lancaster Campus has two gymnasiums, a new artificial-turf soccer and field hockey field and stadium, a lighted baseball stadium, softball diamonds, and tennis courts. The school completed a new eight-lane track and field facility in Fall, 2009.
The other three campuses contain facilities to support their common mission of providing quality, holistic education. Each of these campuses has recently undergone significant renovations to maintain a uniform standard of quality important to Lancaster Mennonite School.
The Lancaster Mennonite High School sports program competes in the Lancaster-Lebanon League (local public school league) and the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association. The Blazers regularly qualify to play for league championships, District III playoffs and state tournaments. The following high school sports are offered:
- Cross Country for Boys and Girls, Girls Field Hockey, Golf, Boys and Girls Soccer, Girls Volleyball, Girls Tennis
- Girls Basketball, Boys Basketball, Chess Team, Quiz Bowl
- Baseball, Softball, Boys Tennis, Boys Volleyball, Track & Field, Boys Lacrosse
The girls soccer team won its first state championship in 2008 and was runner-up in 2009. In 2010, the boys soccer team was the District III champion and state semi-finalist and, in 2011, the team won the District III championship and was the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association (PIAA) Class AA champion (state champion). The boys soccer team was again the PIAA runner-up in 2012, marking three consecutive appearances in the state championship game.
The Kraybill Campus offers middle school (grades 6-8) teams in the Commonwealth Christian Athletic Conference. At the elementary level, Lancaster Mennonite School formed the Mennonite Sports Organization as an alternative to community leagues for basketball, soccer and field hockey.
The school also offers football through a partnership with Lancaster Catholic High School.
Lancaster Mennonite School offers many opportunities to participate in drama, including drama classes at the high school level. Lancaster Mennonite High School produces a play in the fall and in the winter, followed by a musical production in the spring. The middle school at the Lancaster Campus also produces a play.
Music is very important in the life of the school. The high school offers classes such as concert band, jazz band, orchestra and various choral groups. Junior Chorale, Vocal Ensemble, Men's Chorus and Campus Chorale perform concerts at the school and in local congregations. LMS students may also participate in the Lancaster Catholic High School Marching Band.
Through another partnership program, students who desire a special music focus can take classes in Millersville University's Pre-college Music Division. Lancaster Mennonite School provides the residential program and general education courses for students from all over the world who wish to study music at the University. Successfully completed courses are added to the students' high school transcripts.
Chapel services provide another opportunity for students to share musical abilities as they assist in worship. The elementary and middle school music programs also provide many opportunities for vocal and instrumental instruction and performance.
Lancaster Mennonite High School offers an extensive and intensive art curriculum resulting in numerous art awards for its students. Middle school students at the Lancaster and Kraybill campuses regularly receive awards in the National Scholastic Arts competition. A foundation for this success is laid through creative, innovative art classes at the elementary level.
Lancaster Mennonite School believes that the key to a Christ-centered education is having Christ at the center of all learning and activities, not as an add-on in the curriculum. Therefore, the school maintains that spiritual life involves every activity of the school, including student and teacher behavior in and out of the classroom.
While taking a holistic view of spirituality, the school offers many specific and intentional activities to highlight the spiritual dimension of life. Elementary students receive daily Bible instruction using the Journeys with God Bible curriculum and attend a weekly chapel service at their level of understanding. Middle school students generally attend Bible class twice every week, a weekly chapel service, and have extended times for focusing on their relationship with God. All high school students attend daily chapel services and take a theology or Bible class each year. The school provides a Campus Minister and the Lancaster Campus has a committee of students and faculty devoted to cultivating spiritual life on campus. At the same time, the school expects all teachers to integrate a Christian perspective into all subject areas.
Students need not subscribe to a particular creed or doctrinal statement. Faculty need not attend a Mennonite congregation, but agree to teach in harmony with the Confession of Faith from a Mennonite Perspective. This confession of faith emphasizes a personal relationship with God through Christ, salvation through faith, and a commitment to following Christ's example and teachings through the power of the Holy Spirit. The school believes that following Christ involves having his global perspective and commitment to justice for all people in addition to personal morality.
The school's objective is to have academic parity with the best local public schools, but with a spiritual dimension in a faith community atmosphere. Therefore, the school does not have a selective admissions policy, but accepts a wide cross-section of abilities. Nevertheless, the average standardized test scores of Lancaster Mennonite School students are consistently superior to those of local and state averages for public and church-related schools. On the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT), the scores of Lancaster Mennonite High School students are consistently on a par with those of selective college preparatory schools, according to College Board reports.
The high school has a strong agriculture program with an award-winning FFA (formerly Future Farmers of America) chapter. The high school also offers a number of technology classes such as welding and small engine repair. In addition to formal classes, high school students can develop advanced practical skills through the web site team, the stage crew, yearbook staff and other opportunities.
Lancaster Mennonite School produces many publications. The Millstream is the student newspaper for Lancaster Mennonite High School. The Tributary is the Lancaster Mennonite Middle School newspaper. Silhouette is a student literary magazine that publishes the creative work of students. Laurel Wreath is the yearbook for Lancaster Mennonite High School. Both Silhouette and Laurel Wreath have won awards for their literary excellence. The school also publishes Bridges magazine for alumni, school families, and others interested in the school.
- J. Lowell Stoltzfus - Maryland state senator (1967)
- Taylor Kinney, star of Chicago Fire and Lady Gaga's boyfriend, class of 2001
- Denison Witmer, singer
- Mennonite Sports Organization
- Lady Gaga blends in during visit to Lancaster County – News. LancasterOnline.com (March 28, 2013). Retrieved on 2013-07-24.
- Kraybill, Donald B. Passing on the Faith: The Story of a Mennonite School. Good Books, 1991
- Official website
- Lancaster Mennonite School (Lancaster, Pennsylvania, USA) at Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online