The student news site of Londonderry High School

Lancer Spirit Online

Breaking News
The student news site of Londonderry High School

Lancer Spirit Online

The student news site of Londonderry High School

Lancer Spirit Online

Sophomore takes her German beyond the classroom

Sophomore Grace Houston went through two National tests and an interview with a panel to be awarded the opportunity to spend three weeks of her summer in Germany.
Photo by Kelly Egan
Sophomore Grace Houston receives an opportunity to travel to Germany for three weeks this summer as part of a National German Exam scholarship.

When she first signed up to take German, sophomore Grace Houston simply thought it would be “fun and interesting.” Now, she gets to travel to Germany with 11 other students from around the United States.

“This is the first time I’m going out of the country so everyone’s asking me if I’m nervous because it’s going to be very different there,” Houston said. “Honestly, I’m not nervous at all. I’m so excited.”

To receive the opportunity to travel to Germany, Houston had to take the National German Exam. German Teacher, Brooke Ent, gives this test to all her students during a class period in the school day. Ent gives her students the opportunity to take the test so she can see their comprehension of what they’ve learned in the curriculum.

“Some things they’re just not going to know and some things they’ll know like the back of their hand but it’s not something I teach, and it’s not something that affects their grade,” Ent said.

Houston took the German 1 class with Ent last year. This was when she first took the test. After taking the test, she scored in the eightieth percentile out of all the students who took the test nationwide. When she received these results, Houston was determined to take the test again the next year and score higher.

“[Houston said] ‘I’m going to do it this year, I’m going to score gold this year,’ and I [said] ‘You know, if you put your mind to it, you will, easily,’” Ent said. 

To qualify for the offered scholarships, students taking the test must earn the top scores out of everyone in the country. Once the students’ scores are determined, they  go through a “selective” process against each other in order to compete for the scholarship.

The first round consisted of Houston being interviewed by a panel. She was competing against everyone in Northern New England (Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, and Massachusetts.) The interview consisted of the panel asking half of the questions in English and half in German. 

“I tried to be confident, you know, I tried my best,” Houston said. “There were maybe two or three times when they asked something in German and I didn’t really know what it meant and I had to ask for clarification.”

After the interview, Houston didn’t feel the most confident, and she “felt like [she] didn’t do well.”

“I didn’t know who I was going up against,” Houston said. “I didn’t even know how many people I was going up against so I was very iffy on if I would be the nominee or not.”

To her “surprise,” Houston found out a couple of weeks later that she was the Northern New England nominee.

“I was overjoyed,” Houston said. “I [just thought] ‘oh my god;’ for all four of those states, I was the nominee. It just hit me and there were a lot of feelings going through my head.”

Once she was named the Northern New England nominee, the next round consisted of Houston taking another language exam proctored by Ent after school. It was a four-hour long exam with four sections: listening, reading, writing, and speaking. 

“It took a long time,” Houston said. “After a while, it was very hard to stay focused on what I was doing but I got through it.”

Once Houston passed the test, she officially qualified and was offered the scholarship. When Houston told Ent about her winning the scholarship, Ent “cried in the classroom.”

“I was maybe even more excited than she was,” Ent said. “I am just unbelievably proud of her and just amazed.”

Houston will be spending three weeks of her summer in Germany without her family. She will be with the 11 other students from around the nation who qualified for the scholarship, as well as the adviser. She will also be staying with a host family and spending time at a German school. 

“I’m going to be meeting so many different people, and I’m just going to be [emerged] in the culture,” Houston said. “I’m not nervous at all, I’m extremely excited.”

Along with Ent, Houston’s family has been “very supportive” of her and her achievement. At Easter, Houston’s entire family spent “most of the time talking about [her] trip.”

“Everyone was just so excited for me to be going to Germany as a sophomore. They were so surprised and they were asking me all these questions.”

Houston is looking forward to seeing “everything” on her trip, and wants to learn about “all the things that are different there compared to the U.S.”

“It’s so different [in Germany],” Houston said. “I believe we’re gonna be seeing some landmarks, but I’m just looking forward to everything and to learn some more German.”

Along with the “immersion,” Houston is also looking forward to meeting new people when exploring the country.

“Everyone that I meet who is learning or knows German is so friendly and I want to be able to communicate with them,” Houston said. “I love making more friends.”

Though Houston doesn’t plan to major in German, Ent hopes that this trip will help her “figure out where she wants to take” her German. 

“She’s incredibly curious, and I think that’s the best trait in a language learner,” Ent said. “She wants to know the ‘why’ about everything and she’s super dedicated, passionate, and just unlike any other kid.”

Leave a Comment
More to Discover
About the Contributor
Kelly Egan
Kelly Egan, Editor-in-Chief
This is Kelly's second year on the editorial board. As well as being Editor-in-Chief, she is heavily involved in the music department here at LHS. She is in the chamber choir and the drama club. She also does theatre year-round outside of school. She loves being on staff and has been writing since elementary school.

Comments (0)

The Lancer Spirit editorial board welcomes your comments. We reserve the right to delete/edit comments that contain the following: Off-topic statements or links, abusive content, vulgarity, poor grammar, personal attacks or spam.
All Lancer Spirit Online Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Activate Search
The student news site of Londonderry High School
Sophomore takes her German beyond the classroom