When I think of my time in high school at Concordia Academy, I feel a strong, conflicting mix of emotions that I know is true for others as well. On one hand, the incredible teachers with such strong faiths, who gave so much to us often not-very-appreciating, half-asleep students. The strong, deep community and support system. The friends who, despite our dysfunction and angsty soul-searching, were family. On the other hand, the difficulties of trying to figure out who we were and who we were going to be. Depression, a faltering self-esteem, unhealthy relationships, addictions and, at times, crippling pain. Trying and, often feeling like we were failing, to figure out this God thing and faith. For many, high school was a time of struggle and self-discovery with wonderful moments interspersed.
I personally struggled through most of high school with waves of depression. When I think about the people at Concordia that spoke truth and hope into my life during this time, whether they were aware of it or not, Matt Stefan comes to mind. When I think about Matt, and his role at Concordia as a Scripture-Life and Art teacher and coach, I think of a rock. He was not always the most vocal, forward-facing staff member... but he was always there; solid, steady, available, and present.
Matt and I at my high school graduation party in June 2011.