One thing that I think of when I think of all the memories I have with Mr. Stoltenow is his taste in music. Having been raised on 80s and 90s rock, his music was something that I was already familiar with. Over the course of the next four years, music was something that we could bond over and talk about. I know for a fact that this memory or memories similar to this are not just unique to me, and that many of his students would be able to tell you something similar.
Joel Stoltenow impacted on the Lincoln Lutheran community in many ways. As founder of the Community Outreach Team, he worked closely with students to make sure that they not only provided with ample opportunities to serve and complete their service requirements, but felt good about the work that they were doing. However, before Stoltenow came to Lincoln Lutheran, community outreach was still a big part of his life. He came to Lincoln Lutheran as a “second-career guy”. He previously worked in public relations and community outreach, but came to Lincoln Lutheran out of the desire for “a place where my faith life and work life were almost one and the same.” I would argue that, for a time, he found that here.
Whenever he is asked about his family, his face lights up. It’s obvious that he is proud of them and loves them unconditionally. In fact, he and his wife met at Lincoln Lutheran while teaching together in the portable classrooms. He says that if he hadn’t made the decision to come to Lincoln Lutheran, he would have missed out on many friendships that he is certain will be lifelong.
The mention of Stoltenow’s name sparks many memories in the minds of students and teachers. Spanish teacher Lindsay Morris that she will miss the “entertaining YouTube videos and his good taste in music”, while senior Erika Smith says she will miss talking about Hamilton with him during her free period. Although these memories are all ones to remember, Stoltenow says that he wants to be remembered by the “things that he said or did that was out of the ordinary” and “as a guy who knew his content well but as a guy who knew his Savior even better”. Stoltenow says that he will never forget the students he taught and the friends he made. One last piece of advice he would like to offer the students and faculty at Lincoln Lutheran is, “classes come and go, as do careers. But, Christ’s love will be eternal; I hope we all focus on that the most. You have been redeemed by Christ… now go act like it!”