It stands for the Lutheran Elementary Schools Tournament and it was hosted every February by Concordia University in Portland. The first LEST was held in 1962 with four Portland area schools participating in a boys basketball tournament. A few years later a volleyball competition was added for the girls. As word of the tournament spread, schools from out of the Portland area (Idaho, Montana, California, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington) began traveling by train, plane, or bus to participate in LEST. Over the years, additional activities and competitions were added, with recent years including over 1000 students, 20 events and as many as 21 Lutheran elementary schools from various states. Due to the closure of Concordia University last spring, LEST 2020 was the final year in Portland.
What is the goal of LEST?
The primary goal of LEST is to provide an organized structure to promote fun, skill development, fair play, and fellowship among Lutheran elementary school youth through academic, athletic, and recreational activities.
All of Hope’s fifth through eighth graders are encouraged to participate in LEST. Students may participate in one or more of the competitions. Most competitions have a certain number of participants that are allowed from each school, so just because a student signs up to participate in an event doesn’t mean that he/she will be chosen to be Hope’s LEST representative in that event. For most events teachers will either chose the participant(s) for a certain event or we will have in-school competitions to determine the students who will represent Hope at LEST. Also, some events such as basketball and cheerleading are limited to certain grade levels.
We’re excited to participate in LEST in-person this year. The 2022 LEST will be held at Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma. Please see below for general information about PLU and the LEST schedule and basketball brackets.