German Teacher and GAPP Leader
Springfield High School
Fifteen Springfield High School German language students spent the first three weeks of their summer vacation living in Gräfenhainichen, Germany, as part of a student exchange program. The Springfield High School students are members of the German American Partnership Program (GAPP) that is sponsored by the Goethe Institute in New York and facilitated by their German teacher, Niki Sage. This program is intended to strengthen cross-cultural relationships cross-cultural relationships among students learning German and English.
The students and Mrs. Sage were greeted in Berlin by their German host families and lead teacher, Uta Boettcher, and then they embarked on a journey of cultural and educational wonder.
The Springfield High School students lived with their individual families and experienced home-life in Germany first-hand. They also attended classes at the GAPP partner school, Paul-Gerhardt Gymnasium in Gräfenhainichen, where they each gave a twenty minute PowerPoint presentations to the German students about American culture. The SHS students also participated in a variety of German and English class activities. In addition to home and school life, the SHS students also toured Berlin, Dresden, Leipzig, Wittenberg, and Wörlitz, where they spent hours learning about German life: history to present. In Berlin, at the German Federal Building (Bundestag), the SHS students were able to meet and speak with a house representative and discuss German and American
relations; it was indeed a privilege and momentous experience for the students. The three-week GAPP exchangewas an enormous success for both the American students, who were true ambassadors of Springfield High School, and their German counterparts. SHS GAPP students are now going to prepare for a three-week visit by the Germans in Fall 2016, when the American students will reciprocate the overwhelming hospitality of the German students and the administration and staff of the Paul-Gerhardt school.