German Consul General David Gill visited the School District of the Chathams on Wednesday to present to Middle and High School German World Language Students. In honor of the 30th Anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, the Consul General selected five local schools to educate students on the significance and impact of this transformative historical event.

Because Chatham has such a robust and growing German language program, our district was chosen by the Consul General as a recipient of this commemorative presentation.  Consul General Gill shared what it was like to go to school in East Germany and how his own career path had been limited prior to the fall of the Berlin Wall.

At the end of the presentation, students were able to ask many questions about Mr. Gill’s personal experiences. In response to a student question about his reaction when the wall fell, the Consul General responded that “We did not know what would come, but we felt free.”  

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While many German language programs are struggling, Chatham’s program continues to thrive with 279 students enrolled in 6th to 12th grade.  Tamar Spitzer, World Languages Supervisor, credits the strength of Chatham’s enrollment to the teaching staff. Lisa Koellmann, Aaron Berger, and Torri Van Wie immerse students in the German language and culture in a way that excites and encourages students to continue on the path to fluency.  Many of the Chatham High School Students enrich their classroom experience and apply their language skills by participating in a trip to Berlin as part of the German Exchange Program with Wiesbaden Germany’s Humboldt Schule. 

Students left Consul General Gill’s presentation with a deeper understanding of how the Fall of the Berlin Wall symbolized significant and transformative change not only for Germany, but for the World.