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March 2, 2006
Contact: William Keel, professor of German, (785) 864-4657.

Schuelerkongress bringing 300 high school students of German to KU on Saturday

LAWRENCE — More than 300 high school students studying German will flock to the annual Schuelerkongress at 9 a.m. Saturday, March 4, on the fourth floor of Wescoe Hall at the University of Kansas, ready to compete for medals.

Top competitors receive awards in a 1:30 p.m. ceremony in 3139 Wescoe Hall.

“Schuelerkongress translates as ‘student congress,’ but the day feels almost like the Olympics when they get their medals,” said William Keel, KU professor of German.

The Kansas Association of Teachers of German sponsors the daylong event in cooperation with the KU Department of Germanic Languages and Literatures. About 20 Kansas high schools will be attending.

The activities include contests in poetry recitation, prose reading, spelling, poster making, cultural tests and oral proficiency.

Cultural test questions may run the gamut of geography, cuisine, history — anything related to German-speaking countries, Keel said.

“Studying a foreign language not only helps you learn another language and culture, but it also helps you understand your own language better,” Keel said, noting the need for and importance of foreign language classes.

In the Schuelerkongress, poetry and prose recitations tend to attract students because more can win medals in those competitions, Keel said. The poems and prose selections are made in advance by a committee of high school teachers to match students’ level of study, such as first-year or second-year German.

Faculty and graduate teaching assistants from KU’s Department of Germanic Languages and Literatures will be judges for the various contests.

Schools planning to compete in the 2006 Schuelerkongress are: Abilene High School; Blue Valley High School; Blue Valley North High School; Blue Valley Northwest High School; Blue Valley West High School; Buhler High School; Hays High School; Junction City High School; Lawrence High School; Lawrence Southwest Junior High School; Manhattan High School; Newton High School; Olathe North High School; Olathe East High School; Olathe Northwest High School; Seaman High School; Smoky Valley High School (Lindsborg); Topeka High School; Topeka West High School; and Washburn Rural High School.

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