Palisades und Fichte – eine lange Geschichte

Der GAPP Schüleraustausch zwischen dem Fichte-Gymnasium Krefeld und der Palisades High School, Kintnersville, PA, USA jährt sich zum 25. Mal.

Auch im Jahr 2009 empfängt das Fichte-Gymnasium Austauschschüler von der Palisades High School in Pennsylvania. Bereits seit 25 Jahren findet der GAPP Schüleraustausch zwischen unseren Schulen regelmäßig im Zweijahresturnus statt. Trotz dieser langen Geschichte gibt es dennoch einige Veränderungen: Erstmals wird die amerikanische Gruppen von Mrs Shara Schopf und Mr Alexander Bobsein betreut. Ebenso findet der Besuch der Amerikaner in diesem Jahr erstmals vor dem deutschen Besuch in den USA statt, denn während die Gruppe aus Pennsylvania vom 15. Juni bis zum 06. Juli in Krefeld weilt, werden die deutschen Schüler, betreut von Frau Bärbel Behler, Frau Elke Trauschies und Herrn Karsten Verhoeven, im Oktober 2009 in die Staaten reisen.

Wie in den vergangenen Jahren auch steht aber der Jubiläumsaustausch nicht nur unter dem Motto, die jeweils andere Kultur kennenzulernen, sondern mit den Partnern Freundschaften zu schließen. Dies erfolgt auf vielfältigen Ausflügen und Aktivitäten. Neben Ausflügen der Amerikaner nach Aachen, Köln und Bonn nehmen beide Gruppen am Besuch des Landtages in Düsseldorf verbunden mit der Entdeckung der Kaiserswerther Kaiserpfalz teil. Eine gemeinsame Paddeltour über die Niers steht ebenso auf dem Programm wie das traditionelle Familienfest mit den deutschen Gastfamilien in der Egelsberger Mühle in Krefeld Traar. Und natürlich darf auch nicht der traditionelle Aufenthalt der amerikanischen Schüler auf der Burg Bischofstein fehlen, von wo aus Ausflüge zur Burg Eltz und nach Trier erfolgen. Abgerundet durch eine Rhein-Schifffahrt von Boppard bis Bingen, vorbei an den schönsten Burgen des Rheintals, ergibt sich so ein abwechslungsreiches Programm, von dem bestimmt noch im Oktober, wenn die Fichte-Schüler dann das Buck’s County entdecken, die Rede sein wird.

K. Verhoeven

The German American Partnership Program Tradition Continues

Upper Moreland H.S.: GAPP students

From October 4th through October 29th, Upper Moreland High School hosted fourteen German students and two German teachers from Krefeld, Germany as part of our school's German American Partnership Program (GAPP). In one short month, students from UMHS and the Fichte-Gymnasium Krefeld went from being complete strangers from countries nearly four thousand miles away to being good friends with an enhanced understanding of the importance of intercultural rela­tionships.

Our GAPP exchange began on October 4, 2009, when Upper Moreland students traveled to Newark Airport to meet our guests. All American GAPP students rode to the airport in a school bus and stood in a welcome line with gifts and signs to greet their partners from Germany for the first time. For the Ger­man students, the trip back from the airport was their first ride in a big yellow school bus. Our welcome party was an American style potluck dinner in the high school cafeteria. GAPP families prepared traditional American foods and High School Principal Dr. Roy and the Home and School Association formally welcomed our guests.

While at Upper Moreland High School, German students at­tended classes with their American hosts and worked on presen­tations about German history, customs, slang, food, and holidays for our German classes. They also presented in history class on the topic of the Cold War. German students also traveled to the Upper Moreland Middle School to present a lesson about Mar­tinstag, a German fall holiday. Middle School exploratory lan­guage students built traditional lanterns in honor of Martinstag and learned a song that young Germans sing for the holiday.

Among their many after-school activities, the German and Amer­ican GAPP students participated in two German vs. American matches at the High School, with the German students defeat­ing their American counterparts in soccer, while falling to the Americans in a game of "whiffle" ball. Many of the German students were so enthused by their first experience with baseball and with the excitement about the success of our Phillies that they purchased baseball equipment to take back to Germany so that they could play the game there and teach it to their friends. During their second week of stay, our visitors prepared a German style potluck dinner. The traditional German foods they prepared were so delicious that their American host parents threatened not to let theme return to Germany unless they shared the recipes. As a result, the German students compiled their recipes on a website to share with the UM community.

Washington, D.C.: The Lincoln Memorial
Washington, D.C.: The United States Capitol

American GAPP families offered many new opportunities to our GAPP students from Germany. One student hosted a traditional Halloween party at her home, introducing our Ger­man guests to events such as bobbing for apples, carving pump­kins and toasting s'mores by a bonfire. During the course of the month, the German students visited Philadelphia, New York City, Baltimore, Washington DC and Niagara Falls. The GAPP experience culminated in a farewell party at the Willow Grove Fire House on October 28th. Our Upper Moreland Home and School Association presented a plaque with a photograph of ex­change participants under our UMHS GAPP welcome banner to both UMHS and the Fichte Gymnasium in Krefeld in honor of the exchange. German and American students sang America the beautiful and the German National Anthem, exchanged gifts, shared tears and began the countdown until they would see each other again in Krefeld, Germany in June, 2010.

Established in 1972, the GAPP provides a framework and fi­nancial support to enable American and German schools to es­tablish meaningful exchanges between high schools in Germany and America. It has devel­oped into the most successful short-term ex­change program between the United States and any other country, with over 235,000 stu­dents participating since inception.

The Upper Moreland GAPP exchange with Krefeld, Germany is especially significant because the first German settlement in the Delaware Valley was established 325 years ago by citizens from Krefeld.

Our GAPP exchange will continue in June/July of 2010, when the American GAPP students will travel to Germany to stay with their partners, travel throughout Germany and attend school in Krefeld. We are counting down the days!

Amy Tallman, German Teacher, UM Journal Nov. 2009

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