LB - Prescott Frontier Days - 0522 Cow Wrestling

Home | Classifieds | Place an Ad | Public Notices | Subscriber Services | 928 Media Lab | Real Estate Search | Galleries | Obits | Yellow Pages | TV Listings | Contact Us
The Prescott Daily Courier | Prescott, Arizona

home : latest news : latest news May 22, 2015

10/27/2013 6:03:00 AM
Student exchange immerses German students in Prescott Valley high school life
Cindy Barks/The Daily Courier
A group of students and teachers from Zeitz, Germany, spent about two and a half weeks in Prescott Valley this month, attending school at Bradshaw Mountain High School and staying with host families. The group gathered Thursday morning before heading home to Germany.
Cindy Barks/The Daily Courier
A group of students and teachers from Zeitz, Germany, spent about two and a half weeks in Prescott Valley this month, attending school at Bradshaw Mountain High School and staying with host families. The group gathered Thursday morning before heading home to Germany.

Cindy Barks
The Daily Courier

PRESCOTT VALLEY - Seventeen-year-old Anne Laake could barely stem of the flow of tears Thursday morning, as she said her final goodbyes to Bradshaw Mountain High School.

"It's hard, because I met so many lovely people - nice, kind, and loving people," Laake said.

She was among the 10 high school students from Zeitz, Germany, who had spent the past 16 days living the lives of American teenagers.

As a part of Prescott's new Sister City partnership with Zeitz, the students and two of their teachers traveled to Prescott Valley on Oct. 8 to attend school at Bradshaw Mountain.

Local Sister City organizer Margo Christensen explained that the group chose Bradshaw Mountain rather than Prescott High School because of Bradshaw's German-language program - one of the only such programs in Yavapai County. Meanwhile, Christensen said, PHS has expressed interest in a future exchange that would focus on subjects other than language.

Plans also are in the works for Bradshaw students to travel to Zeitz next year for language immersion in German.

And host families and students agreed: The Prescott Valley visit did wonders for the German students' English.

While the students all had at least five years of classroom English behind them, the two-and-a-half weeks of speaking mostly English served to hone their skills.

Beth and Keith Cross of Prescott Valley said they had seen marked progress in the fluency of Juliane Dietrich, their 14-year-old guest. "It's amazing; she's really improved," Beth Cross said.

Fifteen-year-old Max Fuchs noticed a change in his own language skills. After studying English for about eight years, he said the two-and-a-half weeks in the U.S. helped to put all of that classroom work to good use. "This is nice practice," he said. "Here, it's real life."

Along with the educational experience, the students and their hosts said the visit offered many cultural exchanges as well.

The German students talked enthusiastically about attending football games, visiting the Grand Canyon, eating Mexican food and hamburgers, and just getting to know their stand-in families.

"The time here was great," Fuchs said, as he gathered for a last goodbye photo with his host Ryan Chaffin and friend Travis Applegate. "I collected many nice experiences."

For Fuchs, the school itself may have left the strongest impression. "The school days were exciting," he said. "It's so huge. We have only 230 students in my school. Here, there are 1,500."

Dietrich said the lure of the Grand Canyon was one of the reasons she made the trip. After spending time with the Crosses, she listed her host family as a highlight of the trip. "Everybody was so nice," she said.

Indeed, the bonds of friendship were on display everywhere as the group of students, parents, teachers, and Sister City representatives met outside Bradshaw Mountain Thursday morning to see the German group off.

"It's amazing to see the kinships," Bradshaw Mountain Principal Kort Miner said as he watched the long, emotional goodbyes taking place. "It shows how close and related we all are."

Miner, who hosted the two German chaperones in his home, said the exchange offered his students a glimpse of another culture.

"We tend to live in a world of 'woe is me,'" Miner said. "This is an opportunity to talk to other students. I think our students learned to appreciate what they have."

Keith Cross, whose family had hosted an exchange student when he was growing up, expressed a similar view. "It's looking at yourself from the outside," he said of the hosting experience.

Host mom Michelle Willer said her family's motivation for participating in the program was simple: "The goal was to have friends for life," she said, adding that the program was a success. "My kids were in tears when (exchange student Jessica Kaupa) walked out the door this morning."

Zeitz teacher Rainer Ecker, who helped to coordinate the trip, said he has organized 20 to 25 such exchange programs during his years of teaching. "It's a great experience," he said, noting that the Prescott Valley visit offered his students "immersion in American society, school, and family life."

Christensen helped to spearhead the recent push for Prescott's new Sister City bond with Zeitz, and she emphasized that regular visits and reciprocal exchange programs "will allow us to build solid friendships between Prescott and Zeitz and give our young people experiences and memories that will last a lifetime."

And while the German students all emphasized different highlights of the trip, they appeared to agree on one point - the desire to return someday for another visit.

Follow Cindy Barks on Twitter: @Cindy_Barks.

    Most Viewed     Recently Commented
•   Rollover or abandoned? (2510 views)

•   Obituary: Carolyn Sims Dicus (2430 views)

•   Jury selected in ALS murder trial (1932 views)

•   Wet, cool weather keeps fire bans at bay (1388 views)

•   US agencies looking into whether Mueller was kept by IS leader (1373 views)

Reader Comments

Posted: Sunday, October 27, 2013
Article comment by: Tom Steele

Marvelous story, thanks Cindy Barks. Such exchanges are important to show we are of one human race though our cultures are much different.

Article Comment Submission Form
Comments are not posted immediately. Submissions must adhere to our Use of Service Terms of Use agreement. Rambling or nonsensical comments may not be posted. Comments are limited to Facebook character limits. In order for us to reasonably manage this feature we may limit excessive comment entries.
Submit an Article Comment
First Name:
Last Name:
Anti-SPAM Passcode Click here to see a new mix of characters.
This is an anti-SPAM device. It is not case sensitive.

Advanced Search

HSE - We want to hear from you
HSE - dCourier App
HSE - Circulation Costco Memebership offer
HSE- Rants&Raves

Quick Links
 •  Submit site feedback or questions

 •  Submit your milestone notice

 •  Submit your letter to the editor

 •  Submit a news tip or story idea

 •  Place a classified ad online now

 •  Browse the Yellow Pages

Find It Features Blogs Milestones Extras Submit Other Publications Links
Classifieds | Subscriber Services | Real Estate Search | Galleries | Find Prescott Jobs | e-News | RSS | Site Map | Contact Us
LB - Mortimer Nursery 0521

© Copyright 2015 Western News&Info, Inc.® The Daily Courier is the information source for Prescott area communities in Northern Arizona. Original content may not be reprinted or distributed without the written permission of Prescott Newspapers, Inc. Prescott Newspapers Online is a service of Prescott Newspapers Inc. By using the Site, ®, you agree to abide and be bound by the Site's terms of use and Privacy Policy, which prohibit commercial use of any information on the Site. Click here to submit your questions, comments or suggestions. Prescott Newspapers Online is a proud publication of Western News&Info, Inc.® All Rights Reserved.

Software © 1998-2015 1up! Software, All Rights Reserved