German Day: Being Immersed in Foreign Language


Bob Jones at German Day at the University of Alabama

Rebecca Robinson, Writer

On Friday, March 1st, Bob Jones students competed at the 24th annual German Day, with 19 students bringing home 23 awards. German teacher Jennifer Bruni explained, “German Day is a one-day event that is hosted by the German department at the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa, and the purpose of the event is to allow students in the various middle and high school programs to perform and showcase their high-quality work across the state. It’s really a celebration of learning for all German programs throughout the state, and the students get to compete in various oral and written language events. There’s also opportunities for visual and performing arts that are associated with culture and all of the German-speaking countries.”

The competition holds a wide range of events, with extemporaneous speaking, geography, poetry recitation, and singing being only a small portion of categories students can compete in. Participating in certain events may seem intimidating at first, but kids are greatly encouraged to try them.

Going to these competitions and being able to experience this unique exposure is eye-opening when learning a new language. World language is extremely important for students to be aware of, and when asking Frau Bruni if these types of competitions are able to aid in that goal, she immediately responded, “Absolutely. First of all, I think it’s really important for students at Bob Jones, for example, to see that there are other vibrant German programs throughout the state.”

It can even act as a stepping stone for students who wish to pursue a future in foreign language, as she continued, “It’s important for them to see that there are many wonderful opportunities for them outside of Bob Jones to continue to study in college. They get to interact with native speakers, they get to interact with graduate students that have come from German-speaking countries and are part of the university program. They are validated that they are doing well, because of their preparation and their performance, and especially when they receive awards. It’s also a great way to publicize the success of a program because they do offer 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place awards statewide for all of the different events.”

Whether it was a student’s first or fourth time attending, the love people showed for the language was never absent.

Students should never hesitate to immerse themselves in a new language, as going to these events can benefit them in ways they never thought to be possible. Former Bob Jones student, Paige Bounds, spoke about the chances German Day is able to offer and what it’s like being able to assist at the competition now. “German Day is one of the best ways for students to get out of the classroom and interact with other German students,” she stated. “Also getting to volunteer for it is a really good way to see from the other side how high school students are using their German. I also love getting to see former classmates and teachers again!”

German Day grants students all across the state to take risks and not be afraid to find confidence in their abilities to show off their skills and surround themselves with people who enjoy the language just as equally as they do.