The First Lutheran of Venice School will celebrate its 60th anniversary Saturday and Sunday, September 28th and 29th, at the school, 815 Venice Blvd., Venice.

The celebration is scheduled to kick off with a barbecue/picnic from noon to 4:30 p.m., and a celebratory dinner at 6:30 p.m. Saturday. A service and dedication ceremony is scheduled to begin at 11 a.m. Sunday.

The First Lutheran of Venice Church first opened its doors in October 1944.

Led by pastor Eugene Smith, the church began offering school services to the congregation in September 1948.

From 1951 to 1979, Henry Stienwig served as the school’s first full-time principal and taught the upper grades.

In 1983, David Rusch took over as school principal and “led First Lutheran into the 21st Century with vision and forethought for the future,” school officials said.

What started off in one classroom adjacent to the parish hall, and with pastor Smith’s wife as the first teacher, has expanded into six classrooms offering instruction for students from kindergarten through eighth grade and a staff of 25 teachers, administrators and volunteers.

Since the school’s beginnings, over 1,000 students have made First Lutheran of Venice “the launch pad of their educational journey,” officials say.

The theme of the 60th anniversary celebration is “Now and Then.”

In addition to celebrating the success of the school, a farewell dinner is planned honoring principal Rusch, who has led the school for the past 26 years.

Admission is free and open to the public.

Information, www.flvenice .com/.