November 18, 2013
By Bernd "Bernie" Mai
"This is the music room," explained young Emilian Lindemann in his best English to the American guests. The second-grader and his classmates at Göttschied Elementary School were showing three U.S. Soldiers their school.
The Soldiers, all members of Baumholder's BOSS program, were visiting the school to help the German students practice their English.
BOSS President Spc. Katarus Moore and Nicole Bier, principal of the Göttschied Elementary School, laid the groundwork for this visit during the weekly German/American Stammtisch in Baumholder. The Stammtisch is a weekly informal social gathering where people come together to talk, socialize and sometimes come up with ideas like this one.
Bier and her colleagues, along with the parent-teacher-committee took care of all the necessary arrangements at the school. The Soldiers now plan to visit once a month to help the students practice their English. One aspect of this unique program is that "The use of a foreign language, English in this case, in real situations promotes successful learning," explained Bier.
The students were not the only ones excited about the visit. Moore, Spc. William Franklin, and Spc. William Whitt were also curious about what lay in store. "I am wondering how the students will react to our visit," said Moore.
A chorus of "good morning" echoed through the classroom when the principal introduced the Soldiers to the second graders. The students then introduced themselves personally to their American guests. The young Soldiers were impressed with the openness of the students.
"There is absolutely no fear of contact," said Whitt as the three Soldiers interacted with students in the fourth grade sports class. Sarah Ferger, the lead sports teacher, assigned the Soldiers to different groups. Together with the children, they had to accomplish various gymnastic tasks. Swinging on parallel bars, a handstand against the wall - they participated in everything. The Soldiers and students had a lot of fun. Ferger noted that it was "Great how the students explained their tasks to the Americans."
Unfortunately, the Soldiers couldn't visit every class, but Moore promises that this shall change when they visit again in December. "I will try to bring an American guest for each class" Moore told the teachers during a break -- the school consists of seven classes.
The uniqueness of this visit came to light when three students showed up at the teacher's lounge during the break. The three girls requested that the Soldiers also visit their classrooms.
"The first visit was super. Our students showed great participation," said Bier as everyone bid the Soldiers farewell. Before leaving, Moore promised in his best German, "We will come again."