German Program Says Auf Weidersehen

In-Person German Classes End

Elyse Bredfeldt, Writer, Copy Editor, Editor-In-Chief

   The retirement of modern language teacher Beth Zobrist brings an end to parts of the German program with it.  After this school year, German I and II will be solely available online, and upper-level German classes III, IV, and V will no longer be offered, in person or online.

     Zobrist said she understood the demand for German classes was lower than other languages but wished that a new teacher would have been found. 

     “In middle-America, the propensity to be able to speak another language is Spanish more than it would be German,” Zobrist said.

     Zobrist’s  years of language learning and experience abroad helped her become fluent in the language. Zobrist studied abroad three times for a year each in Bavaria, Düsseldorf and Mainz.

   Zobrist said she valued the way teaching the language kept her connected not only to students but also to Germany. 

     “What I love about teaching any foreign language is the carry over that we have year after year,” Zobrist said. “If they keep going, you really get to know the students. I get to keep them for four years. One of my best friends in Germany is a former student.”

While watching German music videos in class on March 10, senior Tomas Reyes Jr. listens to the music. The class was learning the difference in sound of German music compared to the English version. “Honestly I think its a crying shame,” Reyes said. “More people should learn more dramatic languages.” (Brianne Tremper)

     Zobrist isn’t the only one with ties to the country. For sophomore Matteo Neuburger  the language mattered to him as it connected to his roots. 

     “There’s relatives in Germany, and that’s where I grew up,” Neuburger said. “I moved here when I was 7. I did German because I have family and ties to it.” 

     The continuity of the program was something that would be lost. Students that hoped to advance in the program wouldn’t have the same opportunities as students in other language programs at the school. German I students will have an online learning option for their second year but no in-person classes. 

     Freshman Raegan Proudfit, a current German I student, planned to take the class virtually next year. Proudfit said she believed that would negatively impact her proficiency. 

     “It’s definitely going to be harder to learn through a computer,” Proudfit said. “Mrs. Zobrist said we could call her if we needed her, so that should be helpful.” 

     Zobrist said German is a difficult language, but she saw noticeable effort from her students. 

     “I’ve been very fortunate,” Zobrist said. “They’re so smart, the kids that take German, it’s kind of a higher echelon.”      

     Students hoping to pursue upper-level German will not have access to the college credit classes, though that will not deter some from continuing to learn the language. 

 Freshman Eli Robinson was in German IV and would be unable to continue German at the school. 

     Robinson said that though the school wouldn’t offer further German education, that wouldn’t stop him from pursuing fluency in it. Robinson was in a program online through a college. 

     “I’m going to continue to learn it outside of school,” Robinson said. “With the program, and my sister speaks German fluently, so I’m going to practice with her.”