Competition, fun at German High School Day

Students gathered and holding trophies

Students from 17 high schools participated in contests that included city guide, cultural essay, poetry, skits, spelling bee and video challenge.

More than 300 enthusiastic high school students visited UIC recently to share their love of German culture and engage in friendly competition.

The annual German High School Day, sponsored by the department of Germanic studies, drew students from 17 high schools to Student Center East Feb. 20. Christina Mekonen and Julia Koxholt, doctoral students in Germanic studies, organized the event.

“There are so many people interested in the German culture,” Mekonen said. “They are not alone.”

Astrida Tantillo, dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, welcomed the high school students to UIC. “You will be more employable because of your understanding in another culture,” Tantillo, professor of history and Germanic studies, told the students.

UIC has held the event for 37 years to help strengthen the German community.

“We try to find out how we can support high school students — to give them a chance to network with other people,” said Elizabeth Loentz, head of the department of Germanic studies. “We give them a chance to shine. It is really energizing and motivates high school students to do better.”

Students competed in six events: city guide, cultural essay, poetry, skits, spelling bee and video challenge, where students made funny commercials in German.

“There’s lots of creativity,” said Anthony Chigirinsay, a freshman at Lake Zurich High School.

A highlight of the day was the skits. Students put on five-minute plays presented solely in German. The props they used to tell their stories displayed students’ creativity and artistic skills.

“The skits, they were so impressive,” Koxholt said. “How much time they put in it and the props they brought were incredible.”

Maddy Loehman, a senior at Lyons Township High School, attended the event for the second year in a row. “It was amazing,” she said. “This made me want to go to UIC.”

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