Stuyvesant Holds German Day

Stuyvesant High School celebrated German Day on October 4

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Stuyvesant celebrated German Day on October 4 in coordination with the Consulate General of Germany and the Goethe Institute, a nonprofit organization dedicated to fostering the study of the German language and culture, with over 159 locations worldwide. Over the course of the festival, German language students took part in a number of cultural workshops and activities, including language practice, trivia, songwriting, poetry, and improvisation.

This program was possible because of Stuyvesant’s partnership with the Schools: Partners for the Future (PASCH) Initiative. The PASCH network is run by the Goethe Institute and aims to bring together “a global network of more than 2,000 PASCH schools with particular ties to Germany,” though Stuyvesant is currently the only public school in the city with this distinction.

The inauguration ceremony for German Day began in the Murray Kahn Theater with Music and Technology teacher Dr. Gregor Winkel’s class playing the national anthems of the United States and Germany. Principal Eric Contreras, the German Consul General David Gill, and Andrea Pfeil, the head of the language department at the Goethe-Institut New York, delivered the event’s welcoming remarks.

Principal Contreras was presented with the Pasch-Plaque, which congratulated Stuyvesant High School on becoming part of the PASCH school network. Dr. Winkel’s string orchestra then played Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony and Frank Sinatra’s “New York, New York.” The German students in the theater enjoyed a performance from the group Zeilenschmiede (German for ‘wordplay’), which features performances of poetry, stand-up performance, and music writing. Students then went onto the stage and sang in German with members of the group, showcasing what they had learned in the German classroom with the skills that they learned in class and in cultural workshops.

Afterward, the festivities moved to the cafeteria, where students and staff enjoyed German cuisine, including a number of different sausages such as frankfurter and bratwurst, salad, semmels, chicken, and juice and sparkling water. Students participated in a number of activities and language workshops, including a pronunciation quiz and a culture trivia. In addition, the festival featured a basic German course teaching general words and phrases commonly used in German-speaking countries.

Many students and staff enjoyed German Day and were immersed in the culture. “[German Day] was a very rewarding experience because we were really exposed to a lot of German and we got to know the language better,” sophomore Ana-Maria Skaricic said. Chemistry teacher Michael Orlando praised the quality of the food and noted that “the event seems well attended.”

Principal Contreras was also pleased with the festival, saying that the Language Department has helped “promote something that is not just teaching German but creating a cross-cultural connection with the German community here and abroad.” Principal Contreras also said, “We take it for granted that so many great things happen on a daily basis, [but] it creates this very rich program on a yearly basis at Stuyvesant that we are really proud of.”

While both German teacher Ms. Lindemulder and Assistant Principal of Language Francisca McAuliffe wished that more students attended the event, they agreed that it was a “very good start,” and that they would keep working to improve events in the future.

Looking to the future of the German Department, McAuliffe is looking to partner with the other PASCH schools, and is hoping to continue work with the Goethe Institute to expand language and cultural opportunities and events at Stuyvesant. She also wishes to create an Advanced Placement German class, and looks forward to the German band Die Lochis’ performance at Stuyvesant later this month.