Beacon Blog

Inside CA's SnoDaze Medallion Hunt

February 09, 2017
By Gary Fritz
Medallion Hunt Winners
Like with the St. Paul Winter Carnival Medallion Hunt, Concordia Academy's SnoDaze Medallion Hunt gives students a chance to try to decipher daily clues to discover where the medallion is hidden. This week, Alex Moldenhauer, Gino Yarbrough-Wright, and Charlie Tastad found the medallion.
CA teacher Mr. Gary Fritz is the mastermind behind the medallion location and clues each year. Below, you'll find the daily clues, along with Mr. Fritz's commentary (in bold italics) regarding their meaning. (Obviously, the commentary was not originally published with the clues.) Enjoy this little peek into CA student life, SnoDaze Week, and the mind of Gary Fritz!

Clue #1

The plans were all set,        
The hunt would be fine        
But things here have changed     
Now it’s my turn to whine       
The powers that be            
Decreed tomes obsolete
Their haven is dead
My plan’s met defeat
An earlier plan for the hunt that included the library had to be scrapped when the library was transformed into the “Becken Conservatory,” thus rather inconveniencing the writer.
Clue #2
Thus, stay out of there        
Why bother, why go?            
The prize that you seek        
Is elsewhere you know  
One year it was upstairs        
Last year by a pole             
Now think like it’s Christmas     
Or you’ll only find coal
So obviously, don’t bother going into the Conservatory since it has nothing to do with the Medallion Hunt. Christmas imagery is at the heart of this year’s hunt.  Anything else will prove useless, with the result being akin to coal, the “gift” left for naughty boys and girls.
Clue #3
Playing with the last line,        
Nat, Krauts, he did flatter         
When he sang with much cheer    
“wie treu sind deine Blätter!”     
To help in this verse, consider    
That Kilmer once decreed         
What God alone creates;        
But poems, from fools like me  
“Playing,” as in “word play,” connects with “coal”, or Cole, as in Nat King Cole, who famously sang “O Christmas Tree” in German. American poet Joyce Kilmer famously wrote “Trees,” which concludes: “Poems are made by fools like me,//But only God can make a tree.” So…the focus is on a tree, particularly of the Christmas variety.
Clue #4
Don’t be so dramatic            
Come join me, let’s play        
So let’s all go Into…             
You shouldn’t delay            

The way it is clear            
And when lighting is good        
You need not have fear        
To find what you should         
This section reinforces the above. “Dramatic” and “play” are references to CA’s spring musical, but not the auditorium.  “Into…” doesn’t really make sense unless you consider it’s capitalized and  Uses an ellipsis (…), thus indicating more, perhaps a title such as “Into the Woods.”  Ah, woods, another tree reference. This entire verse is simply a paraphrase of an early line in “Into the Woods”, one said by Little Red.  It’s really only here because it is a reinforcement for the play imagery, it kind of flows nicely, and doing so amused me.  Plus, Little Red is played by my kid.
Clue #5
A line of true sentries        
Keeping guard ‘gainst a foe        
Face off against Norsemen        
To here you should go  
Branch out, take a bow        
Keep your eyes to the sky        
The trinket is nestled         
In reach not too high            
Now we’re getting specific.  The trees along County Road B2 by the football field are in a nice line, like soldiers facing their foe, the Norsemen or “north men” again indicating location. Branch and bow (bough) are tree references. Look up, not down for the medallion. Nestled.  Ok, not really.  It was hanging from a branch within reach.  But, you know…nest…tree. Get it?
Clue #6
We’ve reached the fifth day    
The prize remains hidden        
But spruce up a bit            
And I am not kiddin’
It’s elementary dear Watson    
No shot in the dark            
We’re close, but not looking    
In grand Central Park     
This was the emergency last verse for the last day if the prize remains unfound.  "Spruce up"…as in spruce tree. "Elementary" and "Central Park" reference the school across the street. So, by this time, it should be obvious, even to poor ol’ Watson, where the medallion ought to be.
The medallion was hidden in a spruce tree along the north fence along B2 across from Central Park Elementary.

Lutheran Education Rocks

January 24, 2017
By Pastor Tim Berner, Principal
National Lutheran Schools Celebration

"I would advise no one to send his child where the Holy Scriptures are not supreme. Every institution that does not unceasingly pursue the study of God’s word becomes corrupt…. I greatly fear that the universities, unless they teach the Holy Scriptures diligently and impress them on the young students, are wide gates to hell."

Thus concluded Martin Luther in his 1520 treatise on educational reform, “To the Christian Nobility.”  Luther’s words may shock modern sensitivities, yet the truth of them is inescapable. The pursuit of wisdom and knowledge, untethered from the revelation of God, inevitably leads to the individual and his or her desires, being the center of the universe and the only norm and guide for what is good and right.  What Luther greatly feared for the universities of his time, has become the modus operandi for the majority of modern American schools and universities, to a degree that would shock Luther himself.  The vast majority of modern American uni-versities are anything but, they are really multiversities, adrift without any unifying values or educational goals and, at worse, dominated by contradictory values and competing goals.

Peter Keefe, a philosopher of Boston College, argues that this unmooring from Scripture is the norm not only in modern education but also in entertainment and journalism as well. He writes, “The three major mind-molding establishments in the Western world – formal education, entertainment, and journalism – are massively dominated by the subjectivists and secularists.”  If what Peter argues is even partially accurate, then the wide gates to hell confront us, and our children, at every turn of modern life.

In stark contrast to this modern spirit of subjectivism and secularism, stand Lutheran schools. Yesterday, January 23, over 1000 students converged on Concordia Academy (including students from ten Twin Cities elementary schools) to celebrate the beginning of National Lutheran Schools Week.  The theme for this year’s celebration is “Upon this Rock.”  This theme encapsulates the contrast between Lutheran schools and the “three major mind-molding establishments in the Western world.”  Lutheran schools, and all Christian schools where Holy Scriptures are supreme, are anchored on the Rock of Christ. The world around us is indeed adrift, tossed back and forth by every wind of doctrine and human cunning, and the wide gates to hell may indeed surround us, but in our schools we have set before us the straight road that leads to life. 

Lutheran schools are built Upon the Rock, Jesus, who is the way, the truth, and the life. And the joy that was evident on over 1000 faces yesterday is a testament to the power and importance of that firm foundation.

National Lutheran Schools Week

Below, view a video of part of the opening event of CA's National Lutheran Schools Week Celebration.


They Really Are Listening

November 30, 2016
By Diane Bisping, CA Learning Specialist
They Really Are Listening

It’s hard to believe that we’re nearing the home stretch of first semester. During the past few months, new friendships have been made, assignments have been completed, and rounds of tests and projects have been finished. With the coming intensity of the end of the semester, it is easy to forget the challenging hurdles and steep mountains scaled from previous years. That is, until a former student reaches out and reminds us what is really being accomplished here at Concordia Academy. This letter, written earlier this fall by one of last year’s graduates, should remind all staff and parents to never give up with their encouraging words and enforced expectations. As you can see from what she writes...she really was listening.

I ran into a former teacher today and realized how much I miss Concordia. Especially you! I have started college successfully. I am overjoyed and so blessed to be on this campus and the story of how everything played out is quite a good one. The Lord keeps surprising me in so many ways. I wanted to let you know, that I am majoring in Social Work. I have the idea that I may want to do international social work so then I can apply more of a full world perspective.

But I do know that the Lord has placed in my heart the passion to work with the Hispanic community, particularly with kids. My heart always leans toward those in urban cities, less fortunate areas, where they don't have the same opportunities. Following the Lord's call in this, in the beginning, was very difficult for me, but now, I am so grateful that I am walking in obedience. I am very excited for the things that are to come, and for the Lord to use me in the lives of others.

I am very proud of myself. Concordia was the best preparation for here. Living at the dorms is something completely new for me, and it's a very exciting experience. The Lord really did some mind-blowing, incredible things, and I see now how He was shaping my character through this whole season. Everything came together at last second, and I know the Lord did it in that way, to see if I would continue to trust Him, even to the very end of it. God really stretched and moved me, and I see now just what He has been preparing me for in the last few years. I really recognize just all that I am capable of accomplishing, because of who the Lord is in me.

I definitely learned a thing or two about persevering at Concordia. You all made sure of it!! Especially in were right. The problem was never the actual math. It was the lesson of learning to persevere through the difficulties!

I miss CA, and all the staff and I wish I could do it all over again. I miss those familiar hallways! I've gotten lost here's a hundred times, missed lunch twice, nearly lost my shoes in the middle of crossing the street, and not to mention, I somehow managed to get lost by myself in downtown Minneapolis...but that's another story!

It has really been quite the adventure. But I'll be back soon enough; seems you all won't be able to get rid of me that easily. I miss you too, and look forward to seeing you very, very soon!  


When I look back, I remember Valentina when she was a freshman.  She was insecure, lacked confidence, and found herself holding on for dear life at times.  To read this letter now makes me smile sweetly inside, knowing that in all the efforts, all the encouragements, and all the promptings, she has fully taken up the mission for her life; to be the best she can be and to not let any obstacle get in the way of God’s purpose for her life.  So remember, the next time you doubt whether they are hearing you or not…they really are listening.

From Mission Possible to Mission Accomplished

November 22, 2016
By Anika Neuman
Volleyball Team

If you had asked me in late August about the potential of this volleyball team being in the state championship game at the end of the season, if I’m being completely honest, I would have said “no way.” Little did I know, however, that the Lord had something in store for us that would not only lead us to, as we called it, “The Big House,” but also to Mission: Accomplished.

Let’s go back to our very first game at Hill Murray where we started the season out with a loss. I still remember myself and teammate Erin Fallert talking with the coaches afterwards trying to figure out what went wrong. After a long discussion, I said, “we have to remember it’s only our first game. Yes, we were like deer in the headlights, but we can’t change that, what matters now is how we respond.” And let me tell you, we responded well...

The next eleven out of twelve games we came out on top. We were undefeated in conference. We took home the Class 5AA trophy. However, this was no cake walk. We did lose 7 games throughout the season, but with each game we learned something that prepared us for where we would end up, always taking a step forward. Day after day Coach Duis would stress the importance that there was a purpose behind every single ball we touched. Every serve, every pass, every hit, every set; it was the little things that would set us apart. We were dedicated to each other and to the mission of the team.

Although we experienced success throughout the season, we more importantly found success in the why of what we were doing. Every girl on this team understood that it was not about us, but rather it was all about God and His mission for us. During the season we adopted the theme "Mission: Possible," which comes from Matthew 19:26 that says, “Jesus looked at them and said, ‘“With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.’” Our mission was to be beacons of God in all that we did, on and off the court and to carry that role for as long as we could.

This family of 13 women who shared a common goal, who were on a mission for the Lord, and whose middle name was “competitive" will remain in my heart forever. And although we may not have won the state title, we won something far greater: having the opportunity to shine God’s light while playing a game we love. I believe that is a Mission: Accomplished.

Concordia Academy senior Anika Neuman is a member of the Beacons volleyball team. On November 12, the team took second place (for the second year in a row) in Section AA at the Minnesota State Volleyball Tournament.