Editor's note: This is one in a series of stories highlighting Concordia's May 2019 graduates.

Morgan Marnholtz only started her student teaching experience this academic year, but in many ways the imminent Concordia University Wisconsin graduate has been in training for her future vocation since she was a little girl.

Already in Kindergarten the eager young pupil was taking cues from her mother, who has more than three decades of tenure under her belt at Trinity Lutheran School in Merrill, Wisconsin. One of Laura Marnholtz’s ongoing and most anticipated classroom activities is called “Star of the Week,” in which a rotation of students in the first grade is highlighted throughout the year. Each week, Mrs. Marnholtz gives the designated “star” the honor of performing certain classroom responsibilities and presenting a self-constructed poster focused on his or her likes and interests.

A scene from the "Star of the Week" poster Morgan Marnholtz made in kindergarten.
A scene from the “Star of the Week” poster Morgan Marnholtz made in Kindergarten.

At 5 years old, Morgan parroted her mother’s methods and made her own “star” poster. Though she misspelled most of the words, the sentiment was clear: Morgan wanted to be a teacher.

She’s held steadfast to that desire throughout her school-aged life, and soon, she’ll finally and officially step into her calling as a Lutheran teacher after she crosses Concordia’s commencement stage on May 18.

Morgan has accepted a call to teach 6th grade homeroom and 5th-8th grade math at St. James Lutheran School in Shawano, Wisconsin. With a maturity and dedication to her studies that far surpasses her stage of life, Morgan has been ready for the call for some time, her professors will attest.

“Morgan is one of the strongest Lutheran education student teachers we’ve had,” says Dr. James Pingel, dean of Concordia’s School of Education. “She’s charming, kind-hearted, humble, and so pleasant to be around; and yet, she is also very talented, brilliant, hard-working, and has a love for her Lord. She will undoubtedly be a blessing in ministry.”

Morgan’s all-around talent and winning personality shone through in numerous aspects of her life at Concordia. She participated on Concordia’s track and field team all four years and contributed in significant ways to the overall success of the program. She also started her collegiate tenure as a double athlete, playing on the women’s volleyball team her freshman year. All the while, she maintained excellence in the classroom. Admittedly a bit of a perfectionist, Morgan says athletics helped provide an additional outlet for her to push herself to her full determination.

She’s thankful to have a mother who can continue to “coach” her through her first years as a teacher. Morgan says she’s already taken advantage of brainstorm sessions with her mom throughout her student teaching experience.

“My mom has been a huge inspiration to me—just being able to see behind the scenes in her classroom growing up and to see firsthand how you can change lives through your dedication to your students.”

It’s been a long time coming and, understandably, Morgan is excited to begin her vocation as a Lutheran school teacher and perhaps encourage another young learner to follow in her shoes someday.

“One of my favorite verses is in Matthew 9, where Jesus is talking to his disciplines and says, ‘The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few…,” says Morgan. “I think God has called me to be a harvester of children in the classroom and I’m excited to be able to guide them as they learn to live out their vocations through a Christian perspective.”

Learn more about Concordia’s School of Education by clicking here.

— This story is written by Kali Thiel, director of university communications for Concordia University Wisconsin and Ann Arbor. She may be reached at kali.thiel@cuw.edu or 262-243-2149.

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