Exchange program in Germany teaches NCHS students about nation's culture

NEIGHBORS

July 30, 2000|By Rosalie Falter | Rosalie Falter,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

THIS SUMMER, 15 students from North County High School participated in a three-week German Exchange Program with the Rotteck Gymnasium, a high school in Freiburg, Germany. From June 17 until July 9, the NCHS German students traveled to Germany, lived with families there and attended classes at the high school.

The students participating in the program were Gary Brown, Jennifer Brown, Christina Crook, Jill Davis, Brad Faley, Lisa Fol- derauer, Christina Krantz, Thomas Krueger, James Metzger, Angela Moritz, Vonzella Parker, Kristina Robinson, Brandy Thompson, Ashley Vogelsang and Kevin Webber. The students were accompanied by Maureen Helinski, a German teacher, and Hope Hutton, an English teacher.

The exchange is part of the German American Partnership Program, partly subsidized by the German government. About 900 American high schools participate in GAPP exchanges with German schools every two years. The American students go to Germany during the summer, after school ends in the United States but while German schools are still in session. German students come to the United States in the fall.

Helinski organized the trip and said this was the fifth time a group from North County has participated in the program. Students have to meet certain requirements to be eligible to go. They must have studied German for one year, have at least a 2.0 grade point average and have recommendations from three teachers.

In addition to the classroom study, Helinski said, the students had time for many activities. At the beginning of the trip, the German and American students hiked up the Feldberg mountain in the Black Forest, slept in a youth hostel at the top of the hill and hiked down the next day. Through this activity, the students got to know each other better and set a good foundation for the time they would spend together.

North County students had a reception with representatives of the municipal government at City Hall in Freiburg, and took a bus tour with the German students to the Alsace region of France. A highlight of the trip was a three-day visit to Munich, capital of the German state of Bavaria. The students visited the memorial site at Dachau, a concentration camp during World War II, and took a bike tour through the city and along the Isar River.

Also included was a visit to the Castle of Neuschwanstein, south of Munich.

On the final day, the American and German students and their families were given a farewell party at the Rotteck Gymnasium. From Oct. 18 until Nov. 16, twenty-four students from the Rotteck Gymnasium, accompanied by two teachers and the school principal, will come to North County High School. They will live with families here, attend classes at North County High and do some sightseeing.

The purpose of the exchange is to improve the students' foreign-language skills while building understanding and friendship between the two countries. The North County High students agreed that those two goals have been met. They were excited to be able to order a meal in German. They were delighted to find that teen-agers in Germany share many of their interests.

"The exchange program opened up their eyes to the rest of the world. They experienced what they learn in textbooks," Helinski said. The Americans said they can't wait for the visit of their German partners.

Families of NCHS students who wish to act as host to a German student for four weeks in the fall should call Helinski at North County High School at 410-222-6970.

Music in the park

Sounds Good, a jazz and swing quartet, will be featured Aug. 6 at the Concerts in the Park series at Linthicum Park on Benton Avenue, sponsored by the Woman's Club of Linthicum Heights. Concert time is 6 p.m.

On tap for the evening will be swing, ballads and bossa novas. Band members include Ron McCadden (guitar and vocals), Bob Jacobson (sax and clarinet), Mike Matthews (bass) and Darrell Taylor (drums).

McCadden, who is mostly self-taught, was introduced to music by his father. He has played extensively as a soloist and in small groups in Florida and Colorado. He has played for more than a year at Cafe Troia in Towson. When not playing music, McFadden is a fiber-optic technician with WorldCom.

Taylor has played in numerous bands in the Baltimore area for the past 15 years. He has also acted in numerous plays and movies. He is a videographer for the Social Security Administration.

Jacobson, a saxophonist and clarinetist, learned to play his instruments from an uncle in Rhode Island. A social worker in Baltimore, Jacobson has played in a number of bands, including the Michael Raitzyk Jazz Orchestra, in the Baltimore/Washington area.

Matthews has performed on three albums. He is a member of several Baltimore bands. Before attending the Community College of Baltimore County in Catonsville,ville Community College, where he is majoring in music education, he taught at Douglass High School in Baltimore.

Sounds Good has played many venues, including a Bibelot Book Store, Charlestown's Community Concert Series and Fresh Fields in Mount Washington.

Bring chairs or blankets for seating. The concert will be canceled if it rains.

Information: 410-859-3308.

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