Over 50 Years Strong: Offering One of the Best Private Christian High School Experiences in Orange County
It began as a dream in 1959 and came to fruition in 1973 through the sacrificial giving of Lutheran men and women who envisioned a school that would offer an unparalleled academic education grounded in the Christian faith and the salvation message of Jesus Christ.
Our student body and campus have grown exponentially since their humble beginnings over 50 years ago. However, the core mission remains as steadfast as Jesus’ love and grace.
Mission, Vision & Core Values
Our Mission: To help students internalize the Gospel message of salvation in Christ Jesus.
Our Vision: Orange Lutheran remains a Christ-Centered high school providing transformational learning and life experiences to prepare the Lancer community to serve the people of the world.
Our Core Values: Because of the identity we have in Christ and as faithful stewards of the educational ministry God has called us to, we have chosen our Core Values to guide our plans, actions, and decision-making process (Titus 3:5-8, 1 Peter 4:10, Philippians 2:1-4):
- Biblical Truth
Statement of Faith, Religious Belief & Practices
OLu offers a diverse educational experience and welcomes students from a variety of religious backgrounds. As an institution in a close working relationship with The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS), OLu believes, teaches, and confesses the unchanging truth of Holy Scripture as described in the Lutheran Confessions and the belief and practice of the LCMS.
- The Bible is the true Word of God, without error or contradiction and, therefore, is the final authority in all matters of faith and life (2 Timothy 3:15-17).
- There is only one true God, who has revealed Himself in three persons (Triune), Father (Creator), Son (Redeemer), and Holy Spirit (Sanctifier) (Matthew 28:19).
- Since Adam’s fall, all people are conceived and born sinful and are completely incapable of saving themselves by any efforts of their own. (Psalm 51:5; Romans 3:10-12, 23).
- God, motivated by His unconditional love for us, provided for our salvation through His Son, Jesus Christ (John 3:16).
- Jesus Christ is true God, eternally begotten of the Father, and at the same time true man, born of the Virgin Mary, who lived a perfect life for us, died on the cross for us, rose from the dead for us, now reigns at the right hand of God for us, and will one day come again for us. (John 1:13, 14; 1 Timothy 2:56; Luke 1:26-38; Hebrews 4:15; Romans 5:68; 1 Corinthians 15:12-24; Ephesians 1:20-23; 1 Thessalonians 4:14, 17).
- We are saved by grace through faith in Jesus Christ alone (Ephesians 2:89).
- Faith in Jesus Christ comes by the power of the Holy Spirit as He works through the means of grace – His Word and the Sacraments of Baptism and the Lord’s Supper through which the blessings and benefits of Jesus’ saving death and resurrection, namely the forgiveness of sins, eternal life, and salvation are offered, delivered, and applied to us. (John 6:63; Romans 10:17; 1 Corinthians 11:23-26; Matthew 28:19-20).
- Baptism, which is water applied in the Name of the Triune God according to Jesus’ mandate and promise, works rebirth and renewal, delivers and applies the forgiveness of sins, joins the baptized to Jesus’ death and resurrection, and grants salvation to all who believe the promise of salvation attached to Baptism (Matthew 28:19-20; John 3:5; Titus 3:5; Ephesians 5:25-26; Romans 6:4; Colossians 2:11-12; 1 Peter 3:21).
- Lord’s Supper is the true body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ given in, with, and under the bread and the wine, for Christians to eat and drink, instituted by Jesus Christ Himself, for the forgiveness of their sins (Matthew 26:26-29; 1 Corinthians 11:23-26).
- Good works, prayer, and holiness of life are the fruit of faith in Christ, not the cause of faith or salvation (John 15:5; Hebrews 11:16).
- Christians are called to live for Jesus, seeking to serve and honor Him in all facets of life. Life cannot be divided into compartments where Jesus is not present, for He is the author and Lord of all of my life. To know Him is the only way to know what true life is all about, and serving Him is life’s greatest privilege (Colossians 2:67; Ephesians 5:18; Galatians 5:16-25).
- We believe that God wonderfully and immutably creates each person as male or female. These two distinct, complementary genders together reflect the image and nature of God (Gen. 1:26-27). Rejection of one’s biological sex is a rejection of the image of God within that person.
- We believe that the term marriage has only one meaning: the uniting of one man and one woman in a single, exclusive union, as delineated in Scripture (Gen. 2:18-25). We believe that God intends sexual intimacy to occur only between a man and a woman who are married to each other (1 Cor. 6:18; 7:25; Heb. 13:4). We believe that God has commanded that no intimate sexual activity be engaged in outside of a marriage between a man and a woman.
- We believe that any form of sexual immorality (including adultery, fornication, homosexual behavior, bisexual conduct, bestiality, incest, and use of pornography) is sinful and offensive to God (Matt. 15:18-20; 1 Cor. 6:9-10).
- We believe that in order to preserve the function and integrity of Orange Lutheran High School as the local Body of Christ, and to provide a biblical role model to the Orange Lutheran’s members and the community, it is imperative that all persons employed by the Lutheran High School Association of Orange County in any capacity, or who serve as volunteers, agree to and abide by this Statement of Faith (Matt. 5:16; Phil. 2:14-16; 1 Thess. 5:22).
- We believe that God offers redemption and restoration to all who confess and forsake their sin, seeking His mercy and forgiveness through Jesus Christ (Acts 3:19-21; Rom. 10:9-10; 1 Cor. 6:9-11).
- We believe that every person must be afforded compassion, love, kindness, respect, and dignity (Mark 12:28-31; Luke 6:31). Hateful and harassing behavior or attitudes directed toward any individual are to be repudiated and are not in accord with Scripture nor the doctrines of Orange Lutheran High School.
The Orange Lutheran Approach For Engaging with ALL
In accordance with the revelation of the word of God and our school’s mission to ”help students internalize the Gospel message of salvation in Christ Jesus”, we at Orange Lutheran confess that ALL humans are created,1 redeemed,2 and unconditionally3 loved by God.4 In light of this, ALL humans have and maintain intrinsic, objective value5 that is reflected in our love of and service to ALL members of our Orange Lutheran community and ALL the world.6
We also affirm the world is broken and afflicted by sin,7 creating division,8 hostility,9 and closed communities.10 Since Orange Lutheran’s inception, we have boldly prayed “may our campus be a refuge to ALL along the way.” Therefore, we continue to pray that while the world may be broken, our community would reflect the God who welcomes ALL into the body of Christ.11
Since ALL are welcome, our community will face challenges. We do not claim to have everything figured out, but with hearts gripped by the Gospel of Jesus Christ and minds illuminated by the Spirit, we strive to live in community with one another and the world.12 Orange Lutheran continually seeks to understand the revelation of God’s intent in Scripture. It is our desire as we engage with ALL to reflect the character of a God who listens patiently, exudes compassion, and abounds in loyal love and forgiveness.13
1 Genesis 1:27-31
2 Romans 3:22b-25a
3 Romans 5:7-10
4 John 3:16-17
5 Psalm 8:4-6
6 Genesis 12:2-3
7 Romans 5:12-21; 8:19-23
8 Genesis 4:1-12; 11:1-9
9 Ephesians 2:11-22
10 Jonah 4:1-3, 10-11; Matthew 9:9-13
11 Galatians 3:27-29; Revelation 7:9-10
12 1 Peter 4:8-10; Galatians 6:2
13 Exodus 34:6
Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Policy
Orange Lutheran High School welcomes ALL who are interested and willing to engage with our ministry.
The following policy, regarding civil liberties and Biblical standards addressing sexuality, is designed to ensure that the Lutheran High School of Orange County operates in a manner consistent with the Word of God. Our policies are rooted in the Bible because we believe the Bible is the inspired written Word of God and are in line with the doctrine of the Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod.
As articulated in our Statement of Faith and Our Religious Belief and Practices documents, our understanding of human sexuality begins with our belief that each human being is created in the image of God as either male or female (Genesis 5:1-2), a biological sex and gender encoded genetically and manifested physiologically before birth. In addressing each other, we will only recognize pronouns of him and her based on the biological sex and gender of a person at birth.
We also believe that sin has brought brokenness and corruption to the created order. This, at times, has caused disorder and confusion regarding gender identity and/or sexual attraction. God calls us to “love one another” (John 13:34-35) despite the brokenness and pain of our sinful world. However, despite sin and its consequences, we seek to honor the created order of “male” or “female” as defined above from conception.
We also believe marriage is the union of one man and one woman (Genesis 2:24). All sexual activity is to take place within that God-given boundary of marriage. The family units thus formed on these principles provide the foundation for civil society.
We also believe in God’s transformational grace and love (Romans 12:2), who, in love, sent His Son Jesus to give His life on a cross and rise from the dead. The power of Jesus’ grace and resurrection can bring healing and help to those who struggle with these issues (Ephesians 3:20).
Biological sex is either male or female. Gender is encoded genetically and manifested physiologically before birth. Students whose biological sex at birth was male will be classified as boys, and students whose biological sex at birth was female will be classified as girls. For these reasons, the following shall be in place when accessing school facilities and programs.
- Any student enrolled at Orange Lutheran High School shall, when utilizing a multiple-occupancy restroom, utilize the facility corresponding to that student’s biological sex, as recorded on the student’s original birth certificate, (ordained at birth).
a. Nothing herein shall prohibit the school from designing or designating restroom facilities for use by one person at a time. Such facilities may be designated for use by both sexes.
b. Nothing herein shall prohibit a person entering a restroom designated for use by a particular sex:
i. For custodial, maintenance, or inspection purposes.
ii. For rendering medical or emergency assistance.
iii. For accompanying a person needing assistance; or
iv. Where a facility has been temporarily designated for use by individuals of the opposite sex as defined herein.
- Any student enrolled in the Lutheran High School of Orange County shall, when participating in an athletic program offered by the school, participate on the team that corresponds with the student’s biological sex, as recorded on the student’s original birth certificate, except that a biologically female student may seek to qualify to participate on a male team if a female team is not available for that sport. Exceptions will also be made when, due to low enrollment, a co-ed team is needed to be formed for the school to participate in a sport during a particular season.
- Students will not be addressed by a pronoun or a description that does not align to their biological sex at birth, including ‘they’ or ‘them’.
- When traveling on overnight field trips, students will stay in accommodations with students of the same biological sex at birth.
- In circumstances when students are divided by gender for class activities, they will be classified by their biological sex at birth.
- Established uniform policies for male and female students will be required by biological sex at birth.
Our school believes, teaches, and confesses the unchanging truth of Holy Scripture, subscribes to the Lutheran Confessions as a true exposition of the Word of God. We believe that all statements, policies, and procedures must be Christ-centered, Biblically based, and in concert with both the Great Commission (Go and make disciples of all nations. Matthew 28:16-20) and the Great Commandment (A new command I give to you, that you love one another… John 13:34) given to us by our Lord Jesus Christ.
We believe that all children benefit from a Christian education. Following Jesus’ direction in Mark 10:14, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these,” we promise to provide this education to the best of our ability–God enabling and empowering us to do so. To that end, we promise that our pastors, teachers, and staff will teach, embody, and live in a manner consistent with the Christ-centered, biblically based beliefs of Orange Lutheran High School.
Please review Belief and Practice from the LCMS website for a comprehensive statement of beliefs.
Students, parents, family members, or other school participants who do not share these beliefs and practices agree to communicate their concerns in a manner that does not lead to division or disruption to the school day, the classroom setting, the normal operation of the school, or the school community.
Students, parents, family members, or other school participants who disagree, in whole or in part, with the fundamental beliefs of Orange Lutheran High School and the teachings of LCMS also agree not to behave and/or promote behavior or doctrinal positions contrary to these beliefs and practices on campus, at school-sponsored events, or in any media form identified with Orange Lutheran High School.
Schoolwide Learner Outcomes
Upon graduation, it is the expectation that all students will be Strengthened by Faith and Prepared for Life in alignment with our Vision Statement and our Schoolwide Learner Outcomes.
Strengthened by Faith:
- Christian Life of Purpose – Identity in Christ
- Profess through word and action the Biblical truth of salvation by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ Jesus alone according to Scripture alone.
- Live out their Christian faith by responding to and reflecting God’s love according to Scripture.
Prepared for Life:
- Healthy, Strong, Caring People
- Identify and cultivate a healthy lifestyle
- Articulate and make appropriate mental health and well-being related decisions through the development of emotional and cultural intelligence.
- Articulate and make appropriate physical health-related decisions to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
- Service through Vocation
- Identify and cultivate interests, passions, gifts, talents, and vocational roles.
- Live as citizens who lead and serve those in need while acting as good stewards of God’s creation.
- Demonstrate civic responsibility by an awareness and appreciation of the local and global community through active participation.
- Engage as a lifelong learner beyond high school.
- Engage in creative and innovative thinking and collaboration.
- Leadership in a Global Society
- Demonstrate responsible and effective 21st Century digital citizenship.
- Engage in critical thinking and problem solving.
- Interact and collaborate using effective social skills.
In 1959, a group of Christian men and women began meeting regularly with the establishment of a Lutheran high school in Orange County as their purpose. With no campus, buildings, or staff, the school was only a vision of its founders. But at the end of each meeting, one of those founders would pass around his hat, and all would offer whatever change was in their pockets. In 1969, an auxiliary group started a thrift shop to provide additional revenue toward building the school.
Finally, in 1973, Lutheran High School of Orange County opened its doors to students. Under founding principal Herbert Stuenkel, the campus was modest: just nine academic classrooms, a library, a couple of laboratories, and a few ancillary facilities. But the founders and families were energized by the prospect of this new school. Enrollment that first year was shy of 100 students; today, we welcome nearly 1,400 young men and women daily. Our first graduating class in 1976 comprised 15 students; in 2022, over 340 students graduated.
Our student body has certainly grown over the years – as have our facilities.
In 1973 the building consisted of two hallways and a small front entrance. Later years saw the addition of two more hallways, creating a perfect square embracing first a patio, then a gymnasium.
In 2000, the God’s Plan…Our Future construction campaign increased the size and scope once again. Thanks to the generous support of donors, parents, and alumni, the campus once again grew in size with new faculty offices, an expanded parking lot, landscaping, and five new classrooms. The following year added more enhancements: a second story addition, ten new classrooms, including biology labs and a greenhouse, a multi-media resource center, and an entirely new football/soccer field with state-of-the-art artificial turf and an all-weather track.
In 2002, the gym, previously in the center of the school, was moved to a freestanding “field house.” The 1,800-seat gym rests at the top of the building, while the lower level is home to a 3,400-square-foot weight room, a wrestling room, a state-of-the-art team room, offices, conference room, and a training room.
In the fall of 2003, the Alexandra Nechita Center for the Arts opened. The 715-seat performance hall is home to drama, dance, instrumental, and vocal music productions, as well as guest speakers, special events, and select chapel services.
Orange Lutheran began its most significant expansion in 2014 with the Beyond Expectations campaign. The project, completed in just over a year, added 40,000 square feet to the school’s footprint. Included in the upgrades were a 12,000-square-foot student union and cafe, a lower gym, a weight room, study pods for group learning, and a new training room and locker rooms.
In June 2022, Orange Lutheran acquired an office building and parking complex at 3111 N. Tustin Street, just a few miles from campus. In the coming years, this 65,000-square-foot property will allow OLu to maintain small class sizes, add and enhance dedicated educational spaces on the Main Campus, open additional campus space by moving non-student-facing offices and staff members off-campus, reduce traffic and parking issues in and around the main campus, and create a variety of collaborative workspaces for faculty and staff.
Despite the growth and expansion of Orange Lutheran over the years, we have remained steadfast in our commitment to providing financial assistance to deserving students. Our founders’ spirit of generosity still lives on today as we continue to support those in need through our financial assistance programs. The Orange Lutheran Thrift Shop, located at 676 N. Tustin Street in Orange, continues to support the high school’s mission and provides over $500,000 yearly for tuition assistance.
Beyond the Thrift Shop, substantial tuition assistance comes from our annual Gala Dinner and Show, held each spring on Orange Lutheran’s campus. Guests of this powerful evening event enjoy a welcome reception, spectacular vocal and dance concert, and an elegant dinner in addition to silent and live auctions that can be supported at the event and online. Since Gala’s inception in 2003, millions of dollars have been raised for tuition assistance, the Annual Fund, and the Lancer Legacy Endowment Fund. Thousands of current and future students have benefited from the event’s proceeds in one way or another.
Thanks to the support of our donors, parents, and alumni, we can provide financial assistance to over 500 families each year, ensuring that they can receive a high-quality, Christian-focused education and pursue their dreams.
We remain dedicated to our mission of helping students internalize the Gospel message of salvation through Christ Jesus by providing a welcoming and inclusive environment where all students can thrive. The continued growth of Orange Lutheran is a testament to the dedication and commitment of our community, and we look forward to a bright future as we continue to serve our students and fulfill our mission.