Lutheran school in Hungary celebrates 20 years since reopening

Mon, Apr 23, 2012

Hungary, News

Several of Sarah Berta-Somogyi’s students participated in an English choir. 

Sándor Péterfy Lutheran Educational Center in Győr, Hungary, celebrated the 20th anniversary since its post-Communism reopening in 1992. On April 13, 2012, the school headmistress, Judit Hajnal Hallgatóné, welcomed back the former headmistress, headmasters from sister Hungarian Lutheran schools and parents of current students for a small reception before a larger program. The program featured students from all levels of the school, which has preschool classes through the twelfth grade. The students honored the anniversary through singing, drama and instruments. Musical performances ranged from Hungarian folk music to English songs.

A GEO missionary from the Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS), Sarah Berta-Somogyi has been an English teacher at the school for almost four years, and the LCMS has been sending teachers since 1995, three years after the reopening of the school. In addition to teaching English, Sarah holds a weekly “Comfort Zone” where students can come participate in a Bible study, talk about their week and eat Sarah’s school-famous cookies. The impact of LCMS teachers was obvious when speaking with some of Sarah’s former and current students. One student shared, “They have helped strengthen our faith.”

Students from Sarah’s school have also participated in English Bible camps which are run by short-term teams through the LCMS. According to Rev. Steven Borst, campus pastor at Concordia University, Irvine, Calif., 105 students from the campus and local churches have participated in the summer camps. Headmistress Judit Hajnal Hallgatóné emphasized the importance of bringing in LCMS teachers to the school and the camp, saying that “your teachers have the values we want to communicate to our students.”

In 1544, Lutheran teachers came from Germany to start a school in Győr, Hungary. Leading up to 1781, the school had been alternately open and closed. Following this, the church and school experienced a prosperous time, despite being in a predominately Catholic country, up until World War II. During the war, the school was used as a hospital and following the war, the building was given over to the State and the school closed. After the reunification of Germany, the Hungarian state gave the school building back and the church opened a kindergarten with eight children. In 1992, 137 children attended the first year of primary school at the  Sándor Péterfy Lutheran Educational Center. Eventually a secondary school was added.

Several of Sarah’s students participated in the 20th anniversary program on April 13. As a proud teacher and support, Sarah sought out students after the program to compliment the students on their music and their English. Sándor Péterfy, the namesake of the school, is quoted as saying, “A good teacher makes a good school.” The school’s headmistress made it clear during the celebration that teachers and missionaries from the LCMS have helped make the school a good school in the 20 years since reopening.

Note: GEO missionaries serve in locations around the globe for one- to two-year terms.

  • Support Sarah Berta-Somogyi’s work as an English teacher and relationship builder.
  • Pray for continued Lutheran education around the world.

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