WHS students visit Germany

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A group of 18 German language students from Whitewater High spent two weeks this summer in Oschersleben, Germany where they lived with host families, and spent time touring local businesses and industries, visiting historical places of interest, and giving English lessons to their counterparts at a local school.

The students, along with their German teacher, Patrick Wallace, received an official welcome from the mayor of Oschersleben, Benjamin Kanngiesser, at city hall upon their arrival. In turn, Wallace presented Kanngiesser with letters of greeting from the mayors of Fayetteville and Peachtree City.

“Mr. Kanngiesser expressed the wish that our countries, schools, and communities could develop a better understanding of each other through such exchange programs, and could explore further avenues of cooperation,” said Wallace.

The two-week visit got off to a sweet start as the students and Wallace toured the Bodeta factory, a candy manufacturer based in Oschersleben, and Agrarfrost, one of Germany’s top two leading producers of potato chips and frozen French fries. They got to sample products at both factories.

The students visited their partner school that had sent exchange students to Whitewater High this past school year, and conducted English lessons for the student body that covered different aspects of the American way of life.

While the students were teaching English, Wallace was invited by two professors at Paderborn University to give a lecture about Whitewater High and the Fayette County School System. He also visited two elementary schools, St. Martin Grundeschule in Oschersleben and Montessori Grundeschule in Groalsleben, where he sang songs and played games in both German and English with the students.

During the visit to Oschersleben, Wallace had the opportunity to reconnect with some of the interns who helped him with German instruction at Whitewater High this past school year, as well as some former exchange students.

“They told me how much their experiences in Georgia impacted their lives, and all have fond memories of their time in our great state,” Wallace says.

The visit by Wallace and the students caught the attention of the local newspaper, “Volksstimme,” where they were a featured story in the publication June 30 that included a photo of Wallace and the students with the Oschersleben mayor.

While in Germany, the students traveled to the cities of Berlin, Hoetensleben and Magdeburg where they toured various historical places of interest.

“We had such a great time with our German friends, and saying goodbye was not easy. We love our Oschersleben family and friends and it is times like these that I love the German word for goodbye because it means until we see each other again,” said Wallace.