Saint Luke Academy: PreSchool, Kindergarten, Grades 1-8, LakeView Chicago
History of Saint Luke Academy
Saint Luke Academy was founded in 1882 as a response to the northward expansion of the German immigrant community. Its first incarnation was as a "branch school" or teaching station of Saint James School. A single pastor, J.E.A. Mueller, a native of Hanover, Germany, conducted classes in German and English in a building at Hoyne and Wellington.
As German immigrants continued to pour into the area, the congregation of Saint Luke was organized in 1884 and formally assumed administration of the school. Two full time teachers were called to serve the ever-increasing numbers of children.
In 1886 a school building ("a cracker box with four rooms" according the memoirs of one of the first students) was erected on Belmont Avenue next to the church. Classes continued there and in other branch schools throughout the neighborhood. By 1890 six full-time teachers were deployed at these outposts.
In 1900 the school on Belmont Avenue was refurbished to accommodate 5 classes. Other classes were still held in buildings and storefronts around the neighborhood.
In 1905 the congregation tore down the school on Belmont and erected a school building with 8 classrooms and an assembly hall. This building exists today as the core section of our present school facility.
An eighth grade class was introduced in 1907 and the kindergarten was added in 1917. About this time English became the primary instructional language, relegating German to an optional second-language status.
The school continued to grow so that by 1934 there were 434 students. Both the main school on Belmont and a branch school on Diversey were used for classroom space.
In 1952 the congregation began a series of additions and renovations to the original school building. A new wing was added to the west end of the building and an all-purpose room with a stage (Memorial Hall) was added to the north. A large industrial kitchen was attached to the hall and the building received a fire alarm and sprinkler system. All classrooms, hallways and offices were renovated.
In 1977 Saint Luke Academy developed a PreSchool program. Classrooms were refitted to meet state and city standards for early childhood facilities.
Advancing frontiers in education demanded modern facilities for students to receive proper preparation for high school studies. Beginning in 1985 and continuing through the present, a room-by-room renovation program has been underway. New specialized instructional areas were created. A science room, media center, library and resource center were installed. The gymnasium was refurbished and classrooms were modernized. The hallways were completely redone with new floors and new lockers. A newly renovated lobby was completed in 2011.
In the 1990s Saint Luke Academy acquired the lease to two additional lots west of the school for use as a play lot for primary children. The area was landscaped and playground equipment, picnic tables and an outdoor fitness center were installed. The building of assisted living center Saint Luke Renaissance--Greenview Place provided a rooftop outdoor play area for the children at the school. Future construction plans call for a bridge between the two buildings for easy access for the early childhood division.
The working class Germans who originally populated Sankt Lucas Schule would hardly recognize the school they founded. Saint Luke today has an ethnically and economically diverse student body grouped in small classes in modern classrooms with high level technological tools. Yet today's students at Saint Luke Academy still learn and live the core values of faith and service that are the cornerstone of quality Lutheran education.