Grace (Ganshorn) Drever (HS'92)

A Place Where No One Is Left Behind

Some kids breeze through high school with an easy confidence, great grades, and sights set on promising careers in law, medicine, or finance. Grace (Ganshorn) Drever (HS’92) admits she was not one of them. In fact, grace says she might not have received her diploma at all had it not been for her dedicated Luther teachers.

“When I first arrived at Luther, I was really behind in my sciences, and my teacher, Mark Becker, worked with me during lunch hours and after school to make sure I could keep up with the others. He was so dedicated,” she says thoughtfully. “I struggled with health issues throughout my teens. Mr. Becker was one of the big reasons I graduated. He came to see me in the hospital and brought me books and read to me. His dedication touched me greatly.”

Grace smiles as she recalls the mentors who took an admittedly shy, anxiety-ridden teen under their wing and made her feel like she belonged and that she could succeed. “Oh Pastor C – he was one of my biggest supporters!” she enthuses. “I had so many troubles with anxiety, but Pastor C (Allan Christiansen) was amazing. It’s like he knew I was struggling, and he’d say – ‘come on, let’s talk’. He got me through some pretty tough times. He even came to my grade 8 graduation – he and Pastor (Don) King. They cared and wanted us to succeed.”

Grace says extra tutoring and one-on-one attention from the teachers is what makes Luther so unique. Grace’s best friend, Jodi Hawkin, was another student who benefitted from Luther. “Oh, she was trouble,” grace laughs. “We fought constantly back then, but today she’s one of my best friends. I remember Dr. (Mark) Anderson, our English teacher, had the patience of Job. They all did. And no one gave up on her. She’s now a teacher herself and has worked with kids that society has given up on. I’m sure it’s because of the example that Dr. Anderson and the others set.”

Grace is proud of the fact that her daughter, Allyson, now in Grade 9, is the fourth generation of her family to attend Luther.

“My grandpa Milton – who passed back in 1996 – went to Luther for a year. He was the oldest of eight siblings, and after a crop failure, he had to leave school and help at the farm. But it must have left an impression on him, because when he had a family of his own, he made sure that my dad Clifford Ganshorn went to Luther (from 1959-1961 in grades 9 and 10) and my aunt Marion (Ganshorn) Molloy (HS’60) as well. Then, when my dad grew up, he thought it was important to do whatever it took to send my brother Phil Ganshorn (HS’93) and I to Luther, even though money was tight. Luther is a big deal in our family.” Grace’s cousin Joyce Molloy (HS’87) is also an alumna. Grace’s aunt Marion told us that the year Milton attended was the first year that Miss (Emilie) Walter was the Dean of Women. “She was still there for my three years of attendance. I still think she is my favorite role model for my younger years. Luther gave me and my daughter, Joyce, the tools to proceed to a higher education and for that I am grateful.”

Allyson says being from a multi-generational Luther family is pretty unique. “When I first met Mr. Becker, he couldn’t believe that grace was my mom. He said: ‘I remember when you were just born!’”

Grace says, “People from all walks of life attend Luther because they know the teachers really care and bring out the best in young people – whatever path they might take.”

For grace, that was finding the courage to be herself, and to explore her creative side. She has had careers on her family’s grain farm, in a greenhouse, a craft store, and as a baker. “I then spent 14 years working for Balloons and Designs by Fred, which was so much fun and brought joy to others.”

“My life is good. I’m happy raising my family and contributing in whatever way I can. If anything, I want to show other kids who might struggle that they, too, can find their place. I will always be grateful for everything Luther gave me, and everything it’s now giving my daughter.”