Weihnachtsfeier (aka Graduation)

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Today was the Weihnachtsfeier (Christmas Party) at German School. Except it wasn’t, it was upstairs at the German Club, but details. And more than that, today was the day I officially graduated from the German School. (Despite not having actually been the past two weeks).

The Programme.

The Programme.

The concert started with the Spielgruppe (Playgroup) “singing” Kling Glöckchen Kling. Since they were all under the age of four, I’ll leave you to imagine how much singing was actually done.

This was then followed by the Kindergarten, Reception, and Year 1 children (Sturt Street Campus) doing a poem and song about “Weihnachtslicht”. Some were dressed up as candles, and the song was about giving light from one hand to the other hand across our land. Or something. I can’t find a clip for that.

Year 2 told us all about what Christmas means to them. Most of them said that presents were their favourite part, at least two mentioned travelling to various places to visit Oma, and one even said that she was glad she was German, because that meant she had to wait one less day to get her presents than Australian kids. (German kids get their presents on Christmas Eve).

Year 3 went “auf Safari” and dressed up as animals, told us a little bit about each animal and where they were from.

Year 4 did a poem/play about “Das Zeit-Geschenk”. One of the main speakers rattled everything off so fast no-one could understand anything, but it mentioned presents and postage being expensive (since most of us deal with posting gifts to the other side of the world each year, this is something we’re all familiar with) and then it got muddled, but I gather the moral of the story was about giving time rather than gifts.

Then the younger kids sang two songs, “Morgen kommt der Nikolaus” and “Gloria”.

And that was Pause (break or interval).

After Pause started with the Year 5/6 class and their “Die Deutsche Schule hat Talent” (German School Has Talent). Some of them did, such as the girl who played the flute. Some of them less so, such as the three twelve-year-old African animals from Greenland who had been dancing from the age of three months (allegedly).

This was followed by a play by the Year 7/8 class about “Die Grillsaison”. Turns out that barbeques are just as popular in Germany as in Australia, it’s just that here, they happen over the Christmas season.

Finally, the Year 9/10 class did two plays. The first play was titled “Ein Gespräch im Café” and was a conversation between four girls – from Germany, Austria, Switzerland, and Belgium – about whose country had the best chocolate/soccer players/German/usw. It started with the Swiss girl insisting on her word for Spezie, continued with the Belgian girl arriving and announcing that she had the best chocolate, and finished with all four of them arguing over soccer.

Yes, there is only one German-language school in South Australia, and the students come from all three German-speaking countries (the Belgian family’s mother is from NRW, but they lived in Belgium until last year). This can lead to some interesting discussions sometimes. Naturally, Hochdeutsch is what is used and taught, but I’ve definitely heard Dialekt from parents, teachers, and students alike (although the teachers don’t speak it to the students!). And Swiss students do get special consideration in internally-assessed written work. From what I understand, Swiss German doesn’t have an β.

The second play was called “Die Überraschungsparty” are chronicled an argument between two children and their parents over organising a surprise party for their friend. The children wanted a stretch limo, a buffet with cavier, a bar with vodka and schnapps, a bouncer, a DJ, a sound technician, usw. The parents, naturally enough, argued against this (particularly once the children revealed that it would cost over 1000 euros), and by the end of it, the surprise party had no limo or bouncer, but had pizza, lemonade, and a CD-player.

That was it from the classes, but the awards were next. The 9/10 teacher got the “Secondary Teacher of the Year Award” (possibly a state-wide award), and two students, a Year 10 and a Year 11, got the German Descendants Group Awards – a free scholarship for next year’s tuition. I received this award two years ago and got free Year 11, so I was very happy that one of my closest friends at the school got it this year.

Then they handed out our DSDs (Deutsche Sprachdiplom). Except we don’t have the results of that back yet, nor have the actual diplomas arrived from Germany, so some poor person (the Cultural Minister or Officer or something from the German Embassy) came all the way over from Canberra to give us ersatz placebo certificates.

My (Fake) Certificate.

My (Fake) Certificate.

The DSD, for those who don’t know, is basically four and a half hours of torture devised by the KMK (Kultursministerkonferenz) for German second-language learners. Except we got through the 3-and-a-half-hour written section in about an hour and a half, got bored out of our minds, and were allowed to leave early. I suppose that’s what happens when you give the exam to native speakers.

I don’t think we’ll ever forget how to say “Sehst du jetzt die Bilder an. Du hast dafür sechs Sekunden zeit.”

But something good did come out of it, because we’re now the only school in the southern hemisphere to be DSD-certified, which makes my class the first students in the southern hemisphere to get a DSD at a DSD-certified school. And the German name of our school is no longer “Schule der Deutschen Sprache e.V.” but “Deutsche Sprachdiplomschule (DSD)”.

Visit the website here: http://germanschool.org.au/

And read more about the DSD here: http://www.kmk.org/bildung-schule/auslandsschulwesen/deutsches-sprachdiplom.html

The day finished with the school choir (in which I am thankfully no longer required to be, due to having both the DSD and SACE on at the time everyone else on the school was “learning” the songs) singing “In der Weihnachtsbäckerei” and “Ihr Kinderlein kommet”. I probably could have sung, since we sung both of those songs when I was young enough to be in the choir, and know them both pretty well.

And then everyone sang “O Tannenbaum” and “Stille Nacht”. I’m not going to find clips of those, since you should at least know the English versions of them.

The lyrics (overleaf of the programme).

The lyrics (overleaf of the programme).

My friends and I had a bit of a giggle over the English lyrics. (Lyrics were given in both languages, despite the fact that we only ever sing them in German). Someone had decided to translate the lyrics of “O Tannenbaum” rather than finding the English version of the song. I have to give them some credit for rhyming, and it was a pretty reasonable translation, but it was still a little odd, being both not what we’re used to singing and not always making sense.

Anyway, then there were a couple of closing speeches, and it all finished. Naturally, people hung around to talk. I had long conversations with both of my teachers (the 9/10 teacher and the 11/12 teacher) – both have taught me on and off for almost five years, even when I was still at normal school.

Oh, and the students got Weihnachtsgeschenke (Christmas Presents).

IMGP1762My Weihnachtsgeschenk. There was a Berliner, too, but that disappeared before I could take a picture.

IMGP1763In total, I became one Berliner, one bottle of water, a green pencil which says “Gut Gemacht!”, a pencil sharpener which says “Deutschland”, a bookmark which sais “Ich lese gern!”, four stickers which say “Wahnsinn!”, “Juchhu!”, “Fantastisch!” and “Sehr gut!”, and a badge which says “Guten Tag”.

I’ve got to say it was a little sad – I’ve been with that school for three years now, and that’s it. I won’t be going back next year, and that’s sad. I love German School, I’ve met a lot of friends there and I love the atmosphere. I just hope my German doesn’t get too rusty now.

And after all that, there’s one thing left to say:

Thank goodness no-one sang “Schnappi”! I have it on good authority that “Schnappi” has been sung previous years, including at the Liedertafel Weihnachtsfest at one of the biggest, oldest churches in Adelaide. Ah, Deutsche Schule.

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One thought on “Weihnachtsfeier (aka Graduation)

  1. Tim says:

    Interesting what you said about the written section of the DSD Exam. I’ve done exams with the Goethe Institut in Australia three times in the past five years, and had a similar experience: the time allowed for the other three sections of the exam was about right, but the time allowed for the written section was about twice as long as it needed to be (all the other students left early too). I really don’t understand why they organise it like that ^^

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