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Hope School celebrates 15-year anniversary

School with just 26 students has a 9-1 student-to-teacher ratio
By: Joyia Emard, Loomis News Staff Writer
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A small, private school in Penryn has something to shout about. Students and families from Hope Lutheran School, on Penryn Road, recently spent a day celebrating their 15th anniversary with a sports day and barbecue. The school was founded in 1996 and is affiliated with 30-year-old Hope Evangelical Lutheran Church, also in Penryn. Paul Leifer is a teacher and serves as principal of the 26-student, three-classroom school. He said students in kindergarten through eighth grade are taught in multi-grade classrooms. Students study the same subjects, but on different grade levels. Older students help younger students with school work. “The advantage with this system is that we can reach kids at the level they are at academically. Students work collaboratively and the older kids learn how to be leaders,” Leifer said. Eighth-grader Lauren Heyn, 14, of Penryn, has attended the small school since kindergarten. Her two sisters, Amanda 17, and Amy, 15, graduated from Hope Lutheran and now attend Del Oro High School. Lauren’s mom, Carol Heyn, teaches junior high at Hope Lutheran. Lauren said there are a number of reasons she likes the school. “I see the same people and everyone is really nice and we have fun. We’re like a family,” Lauren said. Fifth-grader Eric Camerer, 10, recently transitioned from home schooling to Hope Lutheran. “I like being around the other kids instead of just me and my sister. It’s more fun,” Eric said. Eric said he enjoys having two recesses each day when he can play games with fellow students and looks forward to hot lunches every Friday. He also noticed a difference in the school work. “I think I’m learning a bit more here,” Eric said. Daniel Fisk, a 13-year-old eighth-grader, transferred to Hope Lutheran from another Christian school. He said the ratio of nine students to one teacher has made a big difference in his education. “We have a lot less kids. That can be a good thing. You know everybody and kids get more attention when they need help,” Daniel said. Leifer said the students all attend numerous field trips during the school year and all have a part in the annual school play. He said the students and their families also have a campout each year. According to Leifer, the school also offers before- and after-school care, choir, tone chimes, track, piano lessons, yearbook and academic competitions including a spelling bee, quiz bowl and forensics meet. Leifer said kindergartners attend the school for free. Tuition is $4,600 per year for first through eighth grade for the first child, with siblings being charged up to half off. For more information about its program, contact the school at 652-0459.