November 9th is the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin wall. Here are the recollections of a GSC parent, who grew up in former East Germany and was in his early 20s in 1989:
In November 1989, I was a student at the Technical University of Ilmenau. We had keenly followed the developments at the Prague Embassy of West Germany, known people who sought to escape through Hungary to Austria and West Germany, and I had started to participate in the Monday demonstrations for an end of the socialist dictatorship. I was by no means part of an organized resistance; still worried what consequences open opposition might have, yet it was a time where one could sense fundamental changes were afoot. At the time, no one could fathom where they would end.
When the wall came down on November 9 we were all in disbelief. No shot had been fired, the Soviet occupying forces stood down, Michail Gorbatchëv (then President of the USSR) seemed to support the East German people against the ruling party, and now, the borders were open. Right the next day we queued up at the local police station to obtain a visa for West Germany as we wanted to see our relatives in Witten (NRW), though we certainly expected to return back home. After four hours my stepdad and I had the visa stamp, put canisters of additional petrol in the trunk of our Wartburg 353 to save our few precious Deutschmarks, and started the journey at around 4 p.m. .
This must have been the longest traffic jam I’d ever experienced – 10 hours stop and go across the border. The welcome by our fellow Germans just across the border was overwhelming. Every town we came through had volunteers with food and drinks for folks like us on our way to see our relatives. I have never again seen so much joy, excitement, and outpouring of support. At 3 a.m. we finally sat around the kitchen table with our relatives in Witten – happy and still barely able to grasp the change that had happened. – Frank R.
GSC’s current Principal, Dr. Renate Ludanyi, will retire at
the end of this school year after 40 years of dedicated service to the school.
Back in 1978, driven by a decrease in German instruction in the State of
Connecticut, Dr. Ludanyi and a handful of concerned parents and colleagues had
the ambitious goal to create a German Saturday School. Due to her leadership,
the support of dedicated teachers and enthusiastic volunteers, the school has
remained successful to this day. One of Dr. Ludanyi’s key achievements was the
introduction into the USA of the Deutsches
Sprachdiplom or DSD 1 and 2 (German Language Diploma), for which she was
awarded the Bundesverdienstkreuz
(Germany’s Cross of Merit). Under Dr. Ludanyi’s guidance, Saturday schools were
granted the privilege to offer the AATG (American Association of Teachers of
German) exams. GSC also pioneered the Saturday school chapter of the German
Honor Society Delta Epsilon Phi. She and her teaching staff can be especially
proud that in 2018 the GSC was awarded the prestigious designation of German Center of Excellence by the AATG.
Dr. Ludanyi is the recipient of many national and international honors and
recognitions including the coveted AATG
Friend of German award.
Going forward, Dr. Ludanyi will continue to support GSC in a
position of Director Emerita. She will
remain president of the German Language
School Conference (GLSC), the national umbrella organization for German
Saturday Schools, and a core member of the Washington-based National Coalition of Community-Based
Language Schools. She will continue
with her research into heritage language education, her publishing and
lecturing activities, her affiliation with Western Connecticut State University
and her professional memberships.
The School is very pleased to introduce Dr. Stefanie Mischner
as the new principal of the German School of Connecticut beginning with the
2019-20 academic year. Dr. Mischner is very familiar with the German School of
Connecticut, having taught at our school for 16 years. She also previously held
the role of Assistant Principal at the school for 11 years.
After Dr. Ludanyi announced her retirement last year, the
Board of Directors appointed a search committee to find her successor. The
search for a new principal included candidates from a variety of backgrounds
and consisted of several rounds of interviews by the search committee, as well
as faculty and administration stakeholders. Dr. Mischner stood out among the
candidates and was unquestionably the individual best qualified to serve as
principal of the GSC moving forward. She has the experience and skills to lead the
German School of Connecticut into the next 40 years.
Dr. Mischner holds a Ph. D in Economics and Education from Columbia University, and a degree in
Linguistics, Visual Arts and Education from the Otto-Friedrich University in Bamberg, Germany. She has taught at
universities in the US and Germany and has worked as a research assistant for
the National Center for the Study of
Privatization in Education and the World
Bank, and as a research consultant for the German Language School Conference. Dr. Mischner is a Board Member
at the Columbia University Club of
Fairfield County (Marketing and Technology) and has published several
papers on education.
Teach a child German and .... their world broadens. They will be able to converse not only with German speaking family and friends but also with the 175 to 200 million other native speakers. Our Annual Fund campaign is now underway. The GSC offers students a path to language fluency and an understanding of German culture. Over the past 40 years we have had hundreds of students pass the Sprachdiplom, the most advanced exam for German-language learners. We keep our classes small to ensure that all our students get the attention that they need.
Our goal is to keep tuition accessible to our families despite continuously rising costs. Tuition and support from Germany contribute to meeting our budget, but we count on our annual fundraising campaign to close the gap. This is where you step in and help: donate online or see our Annual Fund Appeal for additional ways to give.
On Sep 17, 2016 the GSC took part in the 59th German-American Steubenparade on 5th Avenue in Manhattan.
Thanks to the generous financial support of the Literary Society foundation over 40 students, parents and teachers were able to participate in the parade on GSC's own float. On a beautiful sunny day, we soaked in the wonderful atmosphere along the way, handed out Gummibärchen and promoted German language learning.
After the parade a group of families continued the celebration at the Radegast Hall, a German-style beer hall, in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.
For the Stamford campus, the first session of the 2015/16 school year will be Saturday, Aug 29. Classes in West Hartford will start after Labor Day on Saturday, Aug 12. It is not too late to register for the new school year. You can do so conveniently on-line on our registration web site.
Registration for the 2015/2016 school year is open. There will be a slight tuition increase over last year. You will have the opportunity to save with our Early Bird registration option by registering prior to July 1, 2015. This will allow you to lock in this year’s tuition rate for the upcoming school year.
Click on the link in the header menu for convenient access to our registration system.