One-Hundred and Fifty Euros for the Class Treasury
The German School Washington D.C.'s 11b is among the prizewinners of a student competition to expand political knowledge
The jury of the Federal Agency for Civic Education (Bundeszentrale für politische Bildung, bpb) was very impressed: The students from German School Washington’s class 11b had worked diligently in preparing their report. The subject, Day of German Unity (Tag der Deutschen Einheit), clearly was very important to them and spurred them to great creativity. Their hard work was rewarded with a prize of €150 for their class treasury.
"What occurred on June 17th, 1953 in the GDR? Why did this day become a national holiday? Was it a good decision to move the Day of German Unity to October 3rd starting in 1990?" These are the questions that drove the students to intensely study their history books, news articles and documentary films, as well as to conduct interviews on campus. The results of these efforts were well-written essays and engaging discussions within the class. Anita Hoehle, their history teacher, was quoted as saying, "Everyone did a terrific job! The most interesting and impressive texts the class produced were those based on interviews conducted with family and friends -- they had access to articles about June 17th 1953 and had personal experiences of October 3rd in the 1990s -- via Skype or e-mail. The students had personal access first-hand reports of those historical events."
The class gathered their research on the German national holiday and bundled it all into a Radio-Feature in memory of the 17th of June 1953. They burned it onto a CD and sent it, along with the script, their interviews and other documentation all the way to Bonn, Germany.
The competition against which the students of the DSW were able to prevail was enormous. Almost 50.000 youths in grades 4-11 from both Germany and Austria were taking part in this competition in 2013. The jury -- which consisted of teachers, co-workers and cultural ministers -- was tasked with judging 2.216 team projects!
Aside from German Day of Unity, there were also other topics students worldwide were able to choose from: "I Stole, I Got Caught -- Now what?";, "Brazil is much more than Soccer!";, "Life without Computers or Mobile Phones?!"; " Super-Sale -- Sales Tricks exposed!"; "Us and Europe"; "My Image is Mine!"; “Attention, right-wing scene!”; and the open topic “Politics – red-hot.”
This project, being sponsored by the German President Joachim Gauck, seeks to carry important topics into the classroom, provide methodological impulses, and, in so doing, support the efforts of teachers everywhere.
Teacher in charge: Anita Hoehle
Translation by Sean B., 11B