December 7, 2004 > Fremont German School Celebrates Christmas
Fremont German School Celebrates Christmas
by Mekala Raman
On a Saturday morning, the silent, dormant halls of Kennedy High School quickly turn into corridors resounding with the shouts of jubilant children. After a 1 hour and 15 minutes, the students at the German school cheerfully head to the main office to enjoy a short break to chat and devour tasty refreshments.
The German School caters to anyone in the community who is interested in acquiring basic or advanced language skills. Originally, the school was located in various private homes until it was moved to Noll Adult School and then moved again to its current location at Kennedy High. Classes are offered on Saturdays from 9:30 a.m. to noon.
There are four levels of classes for adults and children. The entry level classes teach basic phrases and vocabulary. The advanced classes teach grammar and hold discussions in German on analyzing stories. In one advanced class, students speak only German. The infraction of speaking English will cost the students a nominal fine, said Thomas Loecherbach, head teacher. He brings an empty can to collect from those who lapse into their native tongue. Loecherbach is excited by the interest shown from the community, "I am very happy we have so many students interested in learning a foreign language and also in learning about a foreign culture."
The students at the school are anticipating an opportunity to learn more about German traditions. The school is holding a party, called Weihnachtsfeier, for its students on December 18th so that they can celebrate Christmas the German way. "I think the Christmas party is a reflection of the German school at its best," said Pamela Rosen, the school's president. "We don't call it a 'holiday' party, because Germans don't celebrate 'the holidays,' they celebrate Christmas." Students can enjoy German food and drinks like Glhwein (a hot mulled wine) from a Glhweinhausl (a little house from which Glhwein is served). Der Weihnachtsman, the German equivalent of Santa Claus (not Saint Nicholas, who is a different person in Germany) will come and present the children with gifts. In addition, they will sing German carols and make sketches and eat traditional German chocolate. "I think the Christmas party is an opportunity to celebrate some of our traditions and also for students and families to get together," said Loecherbach.
The German School's spring semester starts January 22. They will be offering a new, one-semester class that teaches basics of conversational German to those who plan on visiting the country, or visiting with their German friends and relatives.
For more information, please contact the German School at (510) 274-8701 or visit their website at www.dsfremont.org.