Milwaukee Lutheran High School, established in 1903, is one of the oldest Lutheran high schools in the nation. It was originally established as a joint venture of the Missouri and Wisconsin Synods.
The original association was not composed of congregations, but of individuals who had an interest in the cause for Lutheran education in Milwaukee. The first class of Lutheran High school in 1903 was composed of 21 girls who met in the old Immanuel Lutheran School on the southeast corner of North Ave. and Twelfth Street. In 1904, two full time instructors were called to serve the 48 students that enrolled. Due to the increased student enrollment, the school moved into a new location on the corner of 13th Street and Vine at the site of the former Wisconsin Synod Seminary. A permanent brick structure was constructed on the same site in 1908.
The first association of congregations assumed responsibility for Lutheran High School in 1918. At that time, the total student body was about 125 students taught by only three-full time teachers. Enrollment continued to increase from 210 students in 1923 to 327 students by 1928. This necessitated two additions to the building in 1923 and 1928.
Due to the depression, the enrollment of Lutheran High declined to a low of 265 students in 1938. However, World War II and a more stable economy allowed growth to 858 students in 1946. With the large number of students and tensions between the Missouri Synod and Wisconsin Synod, it was resolved in 1951 that the school split. Thus, out of Lutheran High were formed Milwaukee Lutheran and Wisconsin Lutheran.
The Lutheran High School Association was formed by 27 Missouri Synod congregations in 1952. The Association raised over $2 million for a new building in only a few months. Groundbreaking for construction of a new school building on the present site on Grantosa Drive was held August 22, 1954. The building opened for classes on September 12, 1955 with 806 students and 36 faculty members. By 1963, the building was over capacity with 1,250 students enrolled.
On August 26, 1997 the groundbreaking ceremony was held for the construction of the Milwaukee Lutheran fieldhouse. The facility opened in the fall of 1998.
Milwaukee Lutheran has twice been recognized as a National Blue Ribbon school by the U.S. Department of Education (1985 and 1993). In 1995, the LCMS honored Milwaukee Lutheran as a “Recognized School of Excellence”.
Currently, Milwaukee Lutheran is owned and operated by 35 Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod congregations and is accredited by the North Central Association of Secondary Schools and the National Lutheran Schools Association.
Looking back through the years to humble beginnings of this ministry, we find that the one thing that has not changed is the Gospel of the love of God in Christ Jesus. It is the central theme of Lutheran Secondary Education. For over a century, the graduates of Milwaukee Lutheran have contributed to the quality of life in their homes, churches, and communities around the world. We continue to seek young men and women of all races who desire to reach their potential as members of our high school community.
WARD ALLES . President, Core Creative Marketing and Advertising, Inc.