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On Thursday, March 4, 2021, Worthington Christian School’s students and faculty from grades nine through 12 hosted a service of thanksgiving to honor the life of beloved teacher Al Iten, who passed away on January 21, 2021. It was a beautiful celebration of this teacher, friend, and mentor who is so deeply loved and missed; every element of the service reflected something of who he was.

A prolific writer, some of Iten’s writings on life and death were read during the service. Iten often referred to having a song on his heart. True to this, the service included some of his favorite hymns, sung in corporate worship and played by student musicians. Iten was present for students not just in his classroom and in the hallways, he was also incredibly intentional about supporting students in their co-curricular endeavors. Members of WC’s theatre department performed an emotional rendition of the song “Happiness” from their most recent production (that Iten was able to attend) of “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown.” These students took the opportunity to re-write and add some lyrics to the song as a personal tribute to him. Upper School Assistant Principal Tim Kraynak spoke briefly in the service, sharing a unique story connected to Iten’s love for baseball and his favorite team, the St. Louis Cardinals. Fellow teacher Adam Heath ended the service with words of celebrate, comfort and encouragement for all of those who are grieving this loss. After the service, in honor of Iten’s well-known love for Pepsi, each student was given a can of the soda as one final way to honor him.

See photos from this sweet time of remembrance here, and watch the service in its entirety below. If you would like to make a donation as a way to honor him, Mr. Iten’s sons have created a GoFundMe to build free libraries in his honor. You can also make a donation to WC’s Al Iten Memorial Garden, which is part of the Upper School Courtyard project through June 30, 2021. Gifts may be made online or by mail to Al Iten Garden, Worthington Christian School, 6675 Worthington Galena Road, Worthington, OH 43085.

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