Mission and Core Values
Highlands Lutheran International School is a Christian learning community that provides a superior, holistic educational experience for students from Early Childhood to Grade 12. Located on a quiet rural campus in the mountains of the Enga Province between Wapenamanda and Wabag, the school serves multinational students from all over Papua New Guinea (PNG).
HLIS promotes the following core values.
- Reflects Christ
- Partners with students and parents in a learning community
- Facilitates holistic educational excellence
- Nurtures respectful, compassionate servant leaders
- Fosters truth, integrity and commitment
The clear mission of HLIS is
*****Educational Excellence Guided by the Gospel of Jesus Christ*****
Objectives in the HLIS Constitution:
The primary objectives of Highland Lutheran International School are students who:
- Believe in the triune God who creates, redeems and sanctifies all humanity.
- Acquire thinking skills and a comprehensive knowledge of the world around them and integrate that knowledge into a Christian frame of reference.
- Develop and willingly use spiritual, intellectual, physical, social and artistic resources and talents in Christian life.
Learning / Primary Outcomes
All learning at HLIS is centered in Christ. The school follows the PNG Curriculum for the most part, adds international curriculum and content when possible, often employs text books from the United States and affords internet access for appropriate research activities. The primary outcomes of the school are students who are
- Christian ambassadors;
- Effective learners and communicators;
- Open-minded thinkers and problem solvers;
- Active citizens of Papua New Guinea; and
- Principle centered leaders and followers.
The HLIS property was purchased in 1953 by missionaries from the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod (LCMS). The original school was a grass hut used to prepare young national men to go throughout Papua New Guinea teaching God’s Word.
In 1957 the number of missionaries coming from the LCMS greatly increased and the Lutheran Women’s Missionary League in the USA donated 40,000 US dollars to build a permanent building to serve children of missionaries. When PNG gained independence from Australia in 1975, many missionaries returned home, and enrollment at the school dropped from over 100 to about 40 students.
In the mid-nineties the school began to increase programs and services to National students and the school grew again to about 190 students.
HLIS was hard hit by tribal warfare that broke out in October 2002. This unfortunate conflict resulted in the main building, with all of it resources, being destroyed by fire in January 2003. The school continued with a new commitment, however, and from 2003 – 2018 the school saw the construction of a new administration building, new classrooms, new faculty homes and a new women’s dormitory. Unfortunately, several fires destroyed multiple buildings late in 2018 and early in 2019.. Since then the school administration and the Enga Provincial Government under the leadership of Governor Sir Peter Ipatas has sponsored the construction of a new administration building, a new girl’s dormitory, a new 3-in-1 high school science laboratory and a new 8-in-1 primary school building. Pictures can be found on the Buildings and Facilities page.
Highland Lutheran International School includes religious instruction at all grade levels – pre-school through grade 12. A chapel program, Bible studies, devotionals, sing-a-longs and weekly Sunday worship make up the spiritual activities for teachers and students on campus.
The school is located on a nine-acre property that includes new high school classrooms built in 2014-2015, an older and newer boy’s dormitory, a girl’s dormitory built in 2020, faculty housing, a workshop and a central sports field. The campus buildings include a new administration building as of 2020 with, a small library, a new 3-in-1 high school science lab, a new 8-in-1 primary school building and a computer lab for students and teachers. The men’s and women’s dormitories and a large kitchen and mess hall serve nearly 100 boarding students.
Papua New Guinea is rich in cultural heritage and diversity, including more than 800 language groups each with a unique tribal tradition and view of the world. Some of those people groups have been exposed to the influence of western development for less than 100 years, but the country has been independent since 1975.
Coastal and Highland peoples are proud of their individual cultures, and there are many cultural shows throughout the year. Each year Highland Lutheran International School also finds multiple ways to celebrate traditional PNG culture. A gallery of pictures showing HLIS students celebrating Enga culture appears on the Enga Culture page.