ALLOUEZ — Members of the Lourdes Academy community in Oshkosh mourned the passing of Andrew Schefelker, 30, who died Feb. 24 in the 131-vehicle crash on Interstate 41 in Neenah. Schefelker served as a long-term substitute teacher at Lourdes Academy last year, teaching middle school science and high school math.
“Andrew came into our school very enthusiastic and ready to learn as a teacher,” David Mikesell, principal of Lourdes Academy, told The Compass in an email. “He connected with our students and did a good job building relationships with him. He gave the school, and more importantly the students, 100 percent of what he could day in and day out.”
Schefelker, a native of Centralia, Ill., was a 2012 graduate of Southern Illinois University in Edwardsville, Ill. He then earned a teacher’s certification from the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh in 2018. After one year at Lourdes, he was hired last August as a science teacher at the Iola-Scandinavia School District in Iola, located in Waupaca County.
“When he went to Iola, we were sad to see him leave, but also knew he would make an impact there,” said Mikesell. “Students and staff alike were deeply saddened by his passing.”
Mikesell said Lourdes Academy offered their prayers for Schefelker during a Monday morning prayer service and at morning Mass on Wednesday, Feb. 27. He will also be remembered at the all-school Mass on Ash Wednesday, March 6.
“The two things I will remember about Andrew are his laughter and his heart,” added Mikesesll. “When he would get laughing, it was always coming from a joy inside. It was always genuine. As was his heart. He quickly got to care for and know the students very well. As the son of a Lutheran pastor, both of these came from his strong faith.”
Andrew’s father, Pastor Perry Schefelker, is pastor of Trinity Lutheran Church in Centralia, Ill., and a native of New London, Wis.
Kimberly Kropuenske, seventh and eighth grade teacher at Lourdes Academy, worked with Schefelker last year while he served as long-term substitute in her room last year.
“While subbing, he made great connections with the students and was passionate about science, especially chemistry,” she told The Compass. “According to the students, he was always very happy and brought a lot of energy to the classroom.”
Funeral services were held for Schefelker March 1 at his home church, Trinity Lutheran Church in Centralia. Most recently, Schefelker was a member of Peace Lutheran Church in Neenah.