The LCHS Foundation 100 Club ….
The LCHS Foundation 100 Club annual Heritage Dinner was held Monday, Oct. 24, at the Lustre Christian HIgh School cafeteria. Board chairman Keith Unger reported on investments, land production and the resulting grant that becomes available for LCHS. The meal was prepared by Diane Unrau and Lavonne Dirks and served by the senior dorm students.
Foundation board member Grant Zerbe introduced guest speaker Dr. Tito Matias of Chicago, Ill. Dr. Matias was raised in Humbodt Park, Chicago. Because of gang issues, he was sent to a private school in Lustre to finish the rest of his high school years. He attended Moody Bible School and graduated with a diploma in 1987. He graduated from Greenville College in Illinois and graduated in 1990 with a bachelor of science degree in education. He received his masters degree from Governor State University in 2001 and has just completed his doctorate of education at the University of Illinois, Chicago.
Married to Soni for 32 years, Dr. Matias was nominated for the Golden Apple Teacher of the Year in 1999 while teaching at Moos Elementary School (1997-2000), and awarded the Arne Duncan Leadership Award while assistant principal at Kanoon Magnet Elementary School (2002-2008). After turning the request down several times, Dr. Matias became the principal of Wells Community Academy in August 2008 and served there until 2012. He talked of this place as extremely difficult. He showed pictures — groups and individuals whose lives are different because of how they benefited because he has put into practice the things he learned at Lustre as a student. As chief of schools for Network 4 for three years, he was responsible for all 70,000-plus English language learners, refugees, Native Americans and world languages taught in Chicago Public Schools.
Dr. Matias began by calling Lustre “my village.” “Whatever I have become is because of this community,” he said. Explaining the background from which he was rescued, he titled his presentation “Lustre’s Community Legacy.” He talked of the dorm parents of his era, Jim and Mary Ann Upton, as his mom and dad because of the impact they had on his life.
Dr. Matias listed seven lessons he learned at Lustre during his four years: 1, faith matters; 2, don’t quit; 3, say “I love You” to family; 4, work hard until it is done; 5, listen to advice; 6, unconditional giving and 7, by living life with the community of Lustre, Matias learned how a small community is supposed to work together.
His story was told on the “Unshackled” program of Pacific Garden Mission in Chicago, available upon request. His autobiography, written with Randy Peterson and published by Tyndale Publishers, is called Child of
The City. Perhaps, if your life is empty, and filled with unspeakable horror, as Matias’ was in grade 9, it would be a good read, and bring you hope. He certainly brought hope and encouragement to continue supporting LCHS in their outreach to students, far and near, some of whom simply need rescuing and love. Telling us of his brother’s suicide, and other hard experiences, Dr. Matias let us glimpse into his world with it’s challenges. He has no doubt that he would have been in prison without the opportunity to live in the dorm to attend LCHS.