Gruppe des Georgs in den USA

Ein Rückblick als Schülerin und Lehrerin

Als Rückblick auf den diesjährigen Austausch mit der Canton Highschool veröffentlichen wir die Abschlussrede der begleitenden Lehrerin Frau Grunden beim Farewell Dinner. Viel Spaß beim Lesen - und beim Staunen über die Bedeutung unseres Austausches.

"Good evening friends,

One of the years I will always relate to as a defining one in my personal history.The year 1993 gets right in line with other years such as
1996 – I passed my ABITUR and went off to university.
2003 – I worked as an assistant teacher in Wales.
2014 – I moved back to Bocholt for my second teaching job at the Georgs, my former school.
What makes 1993 so special that I even consider it life-changing? I know, you haven’t got a clue, so let me help you. It’s the year I was in Canton, Massachusetts.

Well, the school exchange – a life-changing experience? Really?
I put some thought into figuring out how I would define a life-changing experience. And then I thought, why not be modern, progressive, all digital. And so I asked GOOGLE to help me:

1 “It has a great emotional effect on the one who experienced it.”
It did. It did that in a way that I had so many FIRST-TIME-EXPERIENCES:

- My first flight.
- My first basketball game.
- My first donut.
- My first LEVI’s 501 and Converse Chucks
- New York City

What else does GOOGLE know?
2 A life-changing experience “has given growth or the capacity to grow”.

It has. I met people who were complete strangers to me when I arrived here in Canton and became friends by the time I left. So I have grown in the sense that I know what a difference it makes to encounter people with a smile, with an open heart, unbiased.

3 Again GOOGLE: “It’s an event that alters someone’s life in a substantial way”.

It did that too. During my stay I found out what I really liked and what I was willing to work for. Not only was I intrigued by hearing and speaking your wonderful language, it was also your history and - deriving from that – your can-do-attitude that totally caught my interest:

The American spirit full of endless optimism and honest interest in people from other cultural backgrounds. A spirit that is both unique and important to be maintained in (especially the young) people’s awareness in today’s globalized world, maybe now more than ever.
2019. I am an English teacher myself now, and it is incredible for me that I got the opportunity to come back to Canton, realizing that our 20 students from Germany have been able to enjoy their stay as much as I once did.

On behalf of the German students and myself I would like to thank all the people who make this legendary exchange possible year after year after year:

Whether it is the bus drivers, the secretaries, the administrative staff, Mr. Folan, the school committee and all the teachers and also former teachers we’ve met either at the school, in the lessons or on field trips and private tours. You have all been so welcoming, helpful, and interesting in your own unique ways.

Let me also thank YOU, the host students and host parents, who made everybody feel at home and become a member of their own family from the very first moment. You welcomed us with open arms, big smiles, and friendly words that now you have a problem: No one wants to go home tomorrow.

Our very special thanks go to you, Elsa. Thank you for organizing this trip, offering a wide range of field trips. They were so wonderfully chosen that they gave us various insights into American culture and history: Boston, Harvard University, The Celtics, Ellis Island, Ground Zero, Jubilee Church – to name but a few. Thank you so much for your incredible and ongoing commitment. Look around in this room, you will find no one who has as much energy as you do.

Let me finish my speech by saying how much we are looking forward to welcoming the American students to Germany. We hope to show you as wonderful a time as you have shown us."

Text und Fotos: G. Grunden

eingetragen von: O. Marke

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