What a celebration it was! More than three hundred children, parents, and friends of the Immanuel German School joined together to celebrate the fortieth anniversary of the school. A veritable who’s who in the German-American community was on hand as we recognized students for their outstanding achievements, and paid well deserved tribute to our co-founder, Marianne Haug, as well as several teachers who have been active in the school for twenty, thirty, and even forty years.
Among the highlights of the morning’s celebration were the words of greeting from Kai Tomzig, Vice Consul for Cultural Affairs of the Consulate General in New York, and the books and certificates he presented our students. Neither Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf nor Bishop Claire Burkat was able to attend, but both sent greetings as did Brita Wagener, Consul General of the Federal Republic of Germany. Prof. Dr. Gerhard Kalmus, former Immanuel German School Teacher, was on hand from his home in North Carolina to present the Kalmus Award to student Juliane Scholtz. Many additional awards were presented, and there were student performances as well as a brief history of the school’s first forty years. Following the formal program, guests enjoyed a delicious luncheon prepared by the Cannstatter Volksfest-Verein.
When it all began…
It all began forty years ago in the Sunday school rooms of the Immanuel Evangelical Lutheran Church in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Pastor Dr. Hans R. Haug and his wife Marianne (who forty years later is still active in the school) had the vision to found a German school for the children of the church and surrounding community. Twelve years ago, having outgrown the space available in the church, the school relocated to Lower Moreland High School in Huntingdon Valley, PA, barely more than four miles from the church. Now students and teachers enjoy modern classrooms fully equipped with interactive white boards, computers, and access to the Internet.
Deutsch lernen macht Spaß!
The school’s unofficial motto is “Deutsch lernen macht Spaß“ – “Lerning German is fun,” but school Principal, Dr. Del Hausman is always quick to add, “aber nicht nur.” It’s not all fun and games: The Immanuel German School is the only school in all of Philadelphia authorized by the College Board to teach Advanced Placement German. Immanuel German School students routinely out score their regular school rivals on the National German Exam. In addition to instruction in the German language and as an important component of German culture, teachers find time to celebrate. There’s St. Martin’s Day, Steuben Day and the Steuben Parade, Nicholas Day, Christmas, and Fasching. Twenty-five years after the fall of the Berlin Wall was cause for a special celebration as children recreated the Wall and were temporarily cut off from their families by the very wall they had created. Both in school and later in the church’s German Circle, we revisited those glorious days leading up to the 9th of November 1989 and the Lutheran Church’s role in the fall of the Wall.
The school offers classes to children as young as four as well as four classes for adults. Currently more than 150 students attend the school.
All photographs, Jeanette Hausman, Head of School