LPS is a four year preparatory high school owned and operated by the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod (WELS). Its primary purpose is to train and encourage young people for the pastoral and teaching ministry in the WELS. In carrying out that purpose, LPS offers a curriculum that focuses on history, mathematics, science, English, foreign languages, music, and religion. LPS also offers a wide variety of co-curricular activities in music, performing arts, and athletics.
The WELS has long recognized the importance and value of Christian education in general, and of a thorough training for future pastors and teachers for the public ministry of the gospel. For that reason the WELS also operates three other schools besides Luther Prep. The other schools are Michigan Lutheran Seminary (MLS), Martin Luther College (MLC) and Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary (WLS). MLS is a boarding high school in Saginaw, MI. Martin Luther College in New Ulm, MN, is the WELS College of Ministry. The mission of MLC is to prepare students as candidates for the preaching, teaching or staff ministry. WLS is the final training school for pastoral candidates. It is located in Mequon, WI.
The curricula of MLS and LPS includes subjects in the fields of religion, social studies, English, foreign languages, science, mathematics and music. The purpose of this type of curriculum is to prepare students for future study at MLC and, for the pastoral candidates, eventually at WLS.
The names you will often see and hear used at LPS are as follows:
9th grade (freshmen): The Sexta class - Class members are "Sextaners"
10th grade (sophomores): The Quinta class -Class members are "Quintaners"
11th grade (juniors): The Quarta Class -Class members are "Quartaners"
12th grade (seniors): The Tertia Class -Class members are "Tertianers"
These class names reflect a desire on the part of students, faculty and administration of LPS to retain class names that stretch back to 1865 when Northwestern College was founded by the WELS in Watertown. At that time, the school was modeled after schools of higher education in Germany. The institution had six levels of classes, the equivalent of four years of high school and two years of college.
Each class at that time was given a Latin name which designated the level of study. The youngest class on campus (9th grade) was the "sixth" from the top; therefore it was given the Latin name "Sexta" which is derived from the Latin word for 6. The 10th grade class was the fifth from the top, and therefore was called the "Quinta" class (Latin for 5). The 11th grade was fourth from the top ("Quarta"), 12th grade was third from the top ("Tertia"), the following year was second from the top ("Secunda"), and the graduating class was the first, or "Prima."
Sometime after Northwestern was expanded to eight years, the American designations (freshman, sophomore etc.) were used for the college classes, and the Latin names were retained for the prep classes -- an easy way to distinguish between the two.
Not only do these Latin names reflect a rich history and tradition (a part of the heritage of LPS) and are fitting for the emphasis on languages at LPS, but the students expressed their desire to keep these names partly because these names are unique to this school and are used nowhere else.