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History

The second St. Paul’s School building

St. Paul Evangelical Lutheran Church in Hamel, IL was established in 1856 and since the day of its inception, the church has valued the mission of educating its young people in the Holy Scriptures and the joys of a life of faith in Jesus and His Word. For over 160 years, we have maintained a strong tradition of offering Christian education as a free gift to all members of the parish.

A Christian day school was conducted by the first pastors and classes were initially held in the parsonage. In 1863, the school had grown enough that the congregation decided to call a teacher to help the pastors, at which time a separate school building was built. The congregation experienced much growth during the next 10 years, and due to the increase in the number of school children, it was resolved to open an additional school in Hamel, which operated from 1871 until 1907.

Because the parishioners were German, the German language was a prominent part of education at St. Paul’s; religion was instructed in German until 1932. Albert Brandt, a former student of St. Paul’s Lutheran School, wrote a story of his memories of the school and parish life from the early 20th century. He wrote:

“School opened daily with a greeting, ‘Good morning, dear teacher’ in German - ‘Guten morgan, Herr Laerer (sic).’ Luther’s Small Catechism and the Bible were basically taught in the German language. All Bible study was in German… only and none in English. …We did receive a good Christian education and I am thankful for that. … At the end of the school day at St. Paul’s we would sing, ‘God be with you til we meet again,’

And I would like to leave you with one last thought. …Did you ever ask yourself the question, ‘Who am I? What am I doing here? What is the purpose of my life or existence? You are you and I am I. God’s purpose for putting you and I in this world is to win souls for Christ. May God be with you til we all meet again.’”

The upper grades classroom at the current school building in 1956

In 1940, a new two-room school was built for $5000. Then, because of an increase in enrollment, the 1940 school was already too small, so an additional room was added in 1950. A multipurpose gymnasium was built in 1972. Kindergarten classes began in 1976 and in 1980, St. Paul joined the Lutheran High School Association in support of Metro East Lutheran High School. From 1989 to 2013, St. Paul School was run in partnership with our daughter congregation, Trinity Lutheran in Worden, IL.

In 2013, the school happily reclaimed the Classical Christian education model, a model that has been forged and strengthened since the ancient Greeks and through the Reformation of the Church in the 16th century. Currently, there are 58 students enrolled in PreK-8th grade. In 2019, the school became fully accredited with the Consortium for Classical Lutheran Education.

The 2019-2020 Kindergarten through 8th grade students on their first day of school