Fayette County News

Fayette County


Whitewater High celebrates Berlin Wall fall

Students in Herr Patrick Wallace’s German classes at Whitewater High School south of Fayetteville have commemorated the fall of the Berlin Wall by building and decorating a wall of their own in the school cafeteria.
It’s a celebration of freedom, or “freiheit” in German, and it marks the 25th anniversary of the day, Nov. 9, that East Germans were allowed free access to the west.
According to Wallace, the large cardboard boxes used to build the wall were donated by Kennesaw State University, which used them to build their own Berlin Wall earlier this year. Whitewater’s German language students used chalk to decorate the wall with images and words depicting the significance of the wall’s dismantling, though Wallace notes that other students have also added the odd image or two to the wall as well in unrelated artistic fervor.
“They’ve had fun with it,” Wallace said.
Eleventh-grader Mathilda Rumbke, an exchange student from Germany who is studying at Whitewater until January, says this is a big year in her homeland because of the 25th anniversary, and she is complimentary of Wallace for incorporating the wall activity into the curriculum this year.
Amber Melton, an 11th grader who has already been named a Governor’s Honors Program finalist for her German studies, says Wallace’s classes are an immersion in German culture and not just a language learning lab.
“I’ve really taken a love for the country, and I’ve never even been there,” Melton said.
Melton said the ongoing culture study not only helps her to learn the language, but it also helps her in her history classes, especially when it comes to studying European history.
Judson Elsholtz, who goes by the German name “Jan” (pronounced “Yon”) in Wallace’s class is another Wallace fan. The senior German language student says one of the highlights of his life thus far has been to participate in the German American Partnership Program through which he spent several summertime weeks after his 10th grade year in Germany studying and enjoying the language and culture.
Melton, who is called “Rosalinda” in her German class, says she has not yet been to Germany, but she hopes to fly over to visit Rumbke some day.
Wallace says two more German exchange students will join his classes at Whitewater in 2015.
“My door is always open to that,” Wallace said.

By Danny Harrison

Danny Harrison, a 1992 Fayette High School graduate, began his journalism career with Fayette County News in 1995. After taking several leaves of absence to pursue journalism and Christian ministry opportunities, including a few out of state and overseas, he returned full-time to Fayette County News in August 2014. Harrison earned a bachelor's degree in pastoral ministry in 2009 while serving as a missionary journalist in England and Western Europe.