Seven Faith Lutheran Alumni Complete First Year at Concordia University, Nebraska
Faith Lutheran School in Plano, Texas is a classical, Lutheran school that serves students in preschool through grade 12. The school is a member of Concordia Nebraska’s Advantage Partnership Program and offers dual credit classes to its students in partnership with the university. Seven members of Faith Lutheran’s 11-student senior class of 2022 now attend Concordia Nebraska. Learn more about these students, why they chose Concordia and how they are seeking to serve God and others as they pursue their various vocations.
Second-year Concordia student Caleb Babisak of Fate, Texas said he chose to attend Concordia Nebraska for a variety of reasons, but the school’s strong Lutheran heritage stood out to him from the first time he visited campus.
Babisak visited a wide variety of colleges and universities across the United States the summer between his junior and senior year of high school, but he said Concordia Nebraska was his favorite from the start. He said it was important to him to choose a school that featured strong Lutheran identity and offered a pre-seminary program.
“Concordia Nebraska was different than other ‘Christian’ universities I visited because they don’t just put it in their name, they actually show that they are Lutheran,” he explained. “I noticed it with how much they emphasize attending daily chapel and going to church on Sundays.”
In addition to his summer visit, Babisak visited Concordia Nebraska twice during his senior year as part of the university’s “Road Trip to Concordia” visit events. Those multi-day visits allowed Babisak to experience campus life during the school year.
“The student body is very friendly. Both times I visited, I met a lot of new people and they were always very kind and helpful,” he said.
Babisak is majoring in psychology and is in the university’s pre-seminary program in preparation to attend seminary.
Babisak graduated from Faith Lutheran High School in Plano, Texas. While in high school he participated in student council, debate, theater, choir, flag football, basketball, soccer and a variety of other activities.
“Out of all the schools I visited, Concordia Nebraska has the strongest Lutheran presence. That really stood out to me,” he said.
Second-year Concordia student Slade Leicht of Sachse, Texas describes Concordia Nebraska simply yet succinctly: “It’s Lutheran and has a small town feel to it,” he said.
Leicht chose to attend Concordia University, Nebraska because of the school’s strong Lutheran heritage and pre-seminary program offering. Leicht is majoring in computer science and minoring in math while participating in the pre-seminary program, then plans to attend Concordia Theological Seminary Fort Wayne, Indiana.
Last summer, Leicht signed a Letter of Intent with the Concordia Nebraska men’s soccer team. He was impressed by the various types of financial support offered by the university through specialized scholarships and the university’s Lutheran Guarantee.
“Concordia Nebraska is surprisingly affordable, especially because of the various scholarships and financial aid options available to students,” he added. Leicht received the Concordia Nebraska President’s Scholarship, Lutheran Heritage Scholarship, Church Worker Scholarship and a soccer scholarship.
Leicht was valedictorian of his senior class at Faith Lutheran High School in Plano, Texas. During high school he played soccer, basketball, flag football and ran cross country. He also played viola for four years and sang in the high school choir.
For second-year Concordia student Lance Kiango of McKinney, Texas, there was no question: Concordia Nebraska was his number one college choice.
“I chose to attend Concordia Nebraska because it fit everything in my criteria for college,” he said. “[Concordia offers a] Christian environment with quality education in a small town with a very close community and opportunities for daily chapel and worship.”
Kiango is majoring in psychology and also participates in the university’s pre-seminary program. After earning his bachelor’s degree at Concordia Nebraska, he plans to attend Concordia Theological Seminary, Fort Wayne to become a Lutheran pastor.
“Because I plan to attend seminary, I appreciate Concordia Nebraska’s pre-seminary program, which will allow me to take needed language classes and get a head start in preparing for seminary. I also look forward to meeting like-minded men who are headed in the same direction,” he said.
Last summer, Kiango signed a Letter of Intent with the Concordia Nebraska men’s soccer team.
“Concordia has a really nice campus and a great sense of community,” he said. “The student body is very close and active. It’s a Christ-centered community, and the student body gives the feel of a family. You're not just a number. Professors know you by name and want to help you succeed.”
Kiango graduated from Faith Lutheran High School in Plano, Texas. In high school, he participated in soccer, flag football, basketball, cross country, student council, band, choir, debate and served as an assistant soccer coach for the middle school team.
“Concordia Nebraska is not just about getting your degree and job, but pursuing your vocation…what God's calling you to do in His field,” he said. “God has led me here to begin a new chapter in life. I wouldn’t want to begin it anywhere else.”
Second-year Concordia student Aaron Cumming of Allen, Texas said Concordia Nebraska’s campus and culture remind him of the small Lutheran high school he attended in Texas.
“Concordia Nebraska is small, the people are friendly, and [the school has] a good LCMS pre-seminary program,” he said.
Cumming said he was surprised and pleased to discover that Concordia Nebraska encourages pre-seminary students to choose a major other than theology to complement their pre-seminary program activities. He is majoring in computer science while pursuing pre-seminary studies.
"I think it’s great that Concordia Nebraska encourages pre-seminary students to pursue a degree other than theology since pre-sem students experience theology in great detail at the seminary,” said Cumming. “I chose to major in computer science in order to broaden my skills. If at some point in the future, I run into hard times financially, I will have an additional skill set that may help me make some extra money. These skills would also be useful if I for some reason decide not to continue on my path to the seminary. I have always been intrigued with technology and get excited learning about it. So for me, this is a great fit.”
A graduate of Faith Lutheran High School in Plano, Texas, Cumming participated in the high school choir, soccer, basketball, flag football and cross country.
He describes the Concordia student body as extremely welcoming.
“Almost everyone I talked to knew about some of my older church friends that are now attending Concordia Nebraska. Everyone was so friendly,” he said.
Second-year Concordia student Abigail Kieser of St. Paul, Texas loves Concordia's campus and the community. When choosing Concordia, she said she was excited to attend attending the same university as her older brother, Nathan Kieser, who graduated this spring in the pre-seminary program at Concordia.
“I chose Concordia not only because my brother is here and I have friends here, but because the school offers the classes and the education program I was looking for,” she explained. “When I visited the school, I immediately loved the campus and the community.”
Abigail is majoring in classical liberal arts and plans to obtain her Lutheran Teacher Diploma.
She graduated from Faith Lutheran High School in Plano, Texas. While in high school, she participated in a high school strings group, concert band, high school choir, basketball, volleyball and a variety of other activities. She is a member of the Concordia Nebraska Cantamus choir.
“Concordia is a Christ-centered school, and I appreciate the small campus aspect of it. I prefer that to a big campus with thousands and thousands of students,” she said. “Concordia offers all classes needed to pursue church work, as well as a variety of other majors. The study community is friendly and welcoming. But the best part is the education and the community are centered on Christ!”
Second-year Concordia student Jason Mahrt of Allen, Texas knew that he was seeking a unique higher education experience following high school. An imaginative and creative student who is interested in becoming an author, Mahrt was seeking a university campus that was friendly and comfortable yet offered the classes he was seeking to help him hone his skills.
“I chose Concordia Nebraska because it was a college that many of my friends were going to, but I also just knew that it would be a good place to go to further my studies,” he explained.
Jason Is majoring in English at Concordia, and said he enjoys learning from the university’s experienced faculty as he expands his writing portfolio and pursues his writing career.
Mahrt said one of the things that impressed him during his campus tour was the many ways students were involved in campus worship.
“I was surprised and pleased to find students leading singing and playing instruments during church,” he said.
Mahrt attended Faith Lutheran High School in Plano, Texas, and played soccer and basketball and participated in the high school choir during his time there.
He said he enjoys his classes at Concordia Nebraska, especially courses that allow him to write creatively and equip him to realize his dream of becoming an author.
Second-year Concordia student Weston Ranada of McKinney, Texas had an advantage over other incoming Concordia Nebraska students: he was already familiar with the university and the campus because his older brother Walker Ranada also attends the university.
Weston said the fact that his brother attends Concordia strongly influenced his decision to consider the university during his college search. Ultimately, he said he chose Concordia because of the school’s outstanding Christian environment. He is majoring in computer science.
“Because of Concordia Nebraska’s friendly and Christ-centered culture, I will be able to both excel in my education and grow spiritually,” he said.
Weston graduated from Faith Lutheran High School in Plano, Texas. He participated in basketball, soccer, flag football and a high school men’s singing group.
He pointed out that the student body at Concordia is exceptionally friendly and welcoming.
“One of the things that makes Concordia Nebraska unique is the people there,” he explained. “In addition, the campus and class sizes are smaller than most universities. But this is an advantage of the school, because students enjoy more personalized attention from professors. Despite the school’s small size there is a good selection of high-quality classes to take, too.”