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The Mannings: Our CA Story

April 29, 2020
By Concordia Academy

The Manning family learned about Concordia Academy from family friends, but they were far from certain that it was the place for their son LJ instead of the public school to which they had always planned to send LJ. But now LJ is a freshman at CA and his father, Len, is a Beacon baseball coach. Below, Len describes their journey to CA and how the school is not only a great fit for his son, but for him and his wife, as well.

A couple of years ago, our family found ourselves at a crossroads with faith, ideals, and the political agendas in the public-education environment.  The problem was that this public high school is where LJ’s dad went, where his uncles and aunts went, where his sisters and cousins went, and was where he was destined to go.  His sports, which are very important to him, were all set at the “family” high school he was ready to attend, with all the coaches knowing him.

That was the plan...and it was set.  

Only now do we laugh when thinking about it.  It reminds me of the saying, “If you want to make God laugh...tell Him your plans!” Well, God is laughing now, because in less than two months we went from a guarantee of LJ attending the family tradition to registering for classes at a high school that we knew nothing about two years prior.

I was sitting in an auditorium with my wife, listening to a Catholic speaker talk about how God wants us to give back.  That He wants us to not bury our talents in the ground, but to utilize them in a way that makes God proud, because He was the one who gave us those skills. I truly believe I heard God’s voice that night.  This timing was right in line with the possibility of LJ going to Concordia.

On the drive home that night, I told my wife, “God spoke to me tonight.” She asked me what he said.

I told her, “I think LJ is supposed to go to Concordia, and I think I am supposed to coach there as well.”

We Christians always say, “Trust in God.  Put your lives in His hands, because He knows what is best, even though sometimes it may have seemed as the least-likely thing you may have wanted.” Well, that is the Mannings at CA right now.  We prayed….and then prayed some more about it...and let Him have the last say.

So, we made the leap of faith.  LJ is nearly done with his freshman year, and CA has brought him the understanding that education and his faith in God do not have to be independent of each other.  Both, together, actually make the high school experience more fulfilling. He looks forward to going to school every day and has told us that, “It is really nice that God can be talked about in class as a normal thing.” Both of those things working in unison is what has started LJ’s high school experience with a solid foundation, with three more years to grow in these feelings!

His mother has enjoyed every part of establishing new relationships with her son’s peers, their parents, and school staff. And I never thought that at the age I am, I would make new friendships with a couple of individuals I coach with and that those new friendships would head in the direction of being stronger than ANY in my life thus far. 

The quality of the character of the students I have coached, the friendships with those student athletes, and the relationships to their parents have been second-to-none in all my years of coaching!  Add to this the continued strengthening of a long friendship with the family that introduced us to CA in the first place. 

Look at how it has all come full circle. It is simply the Lord’s work!

#OurCAStory lets families describe, in their own words, how they discovered Concordia Academy and the way the school has impacted their lives.