For family, Hillcrest experience spans four generationsPublished 11:08am Wednesday, April 17, 2013
When the Rev. Mark Tungseth’s father walked the halls of what would become Hillcrest Lutheran Academy, he might not have dreamed his future grandchildren would follow his footsteps so many years later. Tungseth, who is the pastor at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church, attended the school with his siblings and said the education his family has been given has resounded through the generations.
“The training is within God’s word and to live that in this world. It is such a valuable lesson,” Tungseth said. “As you experience that, it carries over to the family setting, not just in the school. That’s been a deep part of our family.”
Tungseth, whose father was also a minister, met his wife, Cathy, while he attended the school. Her parents were also connected to the school, so Tungseth’s four children have grandparents on each side of the family who have attended Hillcrest.
“We’re in our ninth decade as a family being connected to Hillcrest,” Tungseth said. “It’s been such a tremendous blessing and my wife would say the same.”
Tradition has certainly played a major part of his family’s longevity at the school. Growing up in Illinois, Tungseth remembers move-ins to the dorms, where he and his siblings lived through graduation. That was when Fergus Falls became a home away from home and his roots were set in the area. But it was the life guidance he received through his education that made the school such a special place.
“There’s a great connection with the school, mainly because of what it has given to me,” Tungseth said. “The family atmosphere is a blessing. That’s when you figure out life isn’t just about you, and that gives you more significance in your life.”
After marrying his wife, who shared the same experiences attending the school, the choice to send their children was easy. Two of their four children, Greta and Danny, are now proud Comet graduates. Their two youngest, Laura and Chris, are in their sophmore and freshman years, respectively.
“Because, for my wife and I, we had such a valuable experience there, we wanted our children to have the same,” Tungseth said. “I think they appreciate that part of it, there being such a history now.”
As his kids continue in their education at the school, Tungseth stays connected with the activities and said he enjoys the new life he has at Hillcrest. The memories he has collected over the years and the deep friendships he still maintains with former classmates serves as a testament to what his time there has been worth. In the years to come, Tungseth hopes his family will only continue to create more memories to cherish together with children and grandchildren.
“My prayer is that my children and, Lord willing, their children will have the same experience of some very significant meaning early on in life,” he said.