For a little over ten years, PASCH schools have been providing German language students with a fun and immersive learning experience. Heritage High School in Loudoun County is proud to be one of the 13 PASCH schools in the USA. PASCH is a German education program that stands for “Schulen: Partner der Zukunft” or “Schools: Partners of the Future”. The program provides German language students with opportunities for German camps and activities around the US, and the chance to visit Germany in order to receive an immersive cultural experience.
Students at participating PASCH schools, such as Heritage High School, are given a myriad of opportunities throughout their highschool career. Heritage High School Principal, Jeff Adam, states “I love the connection we have through our designation as a PASCH school! We have been given opportunities that very few German language programs in the US have had, including hosting a museum-quality exhibit in our Media Center, trips to compete in German-language contests, German rock bands performing in our Auditorium, and curriculum and instructional support for our teachers.”
The German Program at Heritage High School is run by Anna Buckwalter and it was started here in Heritage 13 years ago by Hal Boland, the President of the AATG.
“ I love teaching German and engaging students in authentic learning, support from Goethe Institute and Stephanie Haffner provides many wonderful opportunities for my students in but also outside of the school. Our students go every summer to Germany, we also send students to a camp in Oregon, and now I am getting ready to attend the Triathlon in Colorado with 4 students.The adventure with PASCH doesn’t just end here in Heritage for the students that graduate. There are special benefits for PASCH Alumnis as well” Anna Buckwalter said.
Two Heritage High School German students, Emily Campbell and Mason Daily, participated in the German exchange program this past summer through the Goethe-Institut and the PASCH program. They shared their experience on assimilating to the culture in Germany. Daily expressed his admiration for the relationships he formed in the program. “My favorite part was interacting and befriending with kids my age from around the world, including kids from Romania to Brazil and Honduras.”
Immersion programs such as these are becoming a more popular way of learning. Studying abroad is one way students increasingly prefer to learn languages. “I think immersion programs provide a very different experience as they challenge the learner to not only use the language but to learn to use it in an authentic context with all of the connotations, variables, and idioms that go along with living, organic languages,” Adam says. German exchange participant, Mason Daily, comments on the role education through immersion has played in his experiences. “My trip furthered both my comprehension of the German language and the understanding of the culture. On top of that I was able to learn about so many other cultures from other countries”, Daily replies.
The students and faculty at Heritage High School feel very lucky to have been given the privilege of being a PASCH school and to work with the Goethe-Institut. “Being a PASCH school elevates the learning of German at Heritage to a different kind of experience because of those opportunities.”Adam adds.