History of Nebraska Lutheran High School

Interest in a Nebraska WELS “academy” goes back to the 1940s.  Efforts were unproductive, but the idea of Lutheran secondary education never died.  The Nebraska District established a Standing Committee on Secondary Education in the June 1974 convention.  The goal was to establish an area Lutheran high school.  An association of individuals who contributed support incorporated and organized Nebraska Evangelical Lutheran High School Association at Grand Island, September 13, 1975.  This group began issuing calls for an administrator and first instructor in the fall of 1976.  During April of 1977, the Waco school facilities were purchased at public auction for $38,500.  A new gym floor was promptly installed at a cost of $14,000.  A switch from an association of individuals to a federation of congregations occurred at the annual meeting in 1980.  The original three-story classroom building (never used by NELHS) was demolished in the summer of 1991.

Mr. Karl Blauert accepted the call of administrator, and he and his family arrived in Waco in January of 1979.  The doors opened August 28, 1979, for nineteen students in grades nine and ten.  Four full and part-time instructors served them.  The students boarded with association families near Waco and in Geneva while the dormitory was being constructed.  Second year enrollment shot up to forty-four, bringing about plans for construction of a second dorm and the calling of two additional teachers.  The junior year curriculum was also added.  The third school year included senior classes, and enrollment topped eighty students.  Each successive year has found enrollment varying from the high eighties to a little over one hundred.  While most students reside in Nebraska, many are from other states, provinces and countries.  Mr. Blauert served as administrator for six years.

In August of 1998, the decision was made to remain in Waco, Nebraska, in spite of some encouragement to move to the Omaha and Lincoln area.  During a special association meeting on July 25, 1999, a 3.2 million dollar facility expansion program was unanimously approved when the funding permitted to do so.

On April 30, 2000, the NELHS Association revised the expansion program to include a 2.8 million dollar expansion program.  The Board of Directors was authorized to arrange financing, and upon completing such arrangements, directed Administrator Pasbrig to sign a contract with Ayars & Ayars, Inc. of Lincoln, Nebraska.

A new chapter in the school’s history occurred at the start of the 2002-2003 school year as the faculty and students moved into the new facility.  The total area available tripled.  Current staff included eight teachers, a maintenance staff, a secretarial staff, four dorm supervisors and a complete food service staff.  

In the summer of 2008, renovations in the dorms began.  This four year plan led to updating the lavatories, replacing AC/Heater units, and making other repairs as necessary to remodel these areas of campus.

On March 22, 2009, NELHS kicked off it 30th Anniversary celebration with a debt drive aimed at reducing its capital debt in half.  This is critical as the school looks to the future mission and vision of its ministry.

Throughout its history, NELHS has become well known for an excellent program of Christ-centered education, an outstanding academic program and a well-rounded, diverse extra-curricular program.  NELHS assists parents and congregations to train loyal disciples of Jesus Christ for time and eternity.