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Linsly Freshman Gets Chance To Study in Germany



photo by: Joselyn King

Connor Phillips, right, a freshman at The Linsly School, is congratulated by his German teacher Regina Bauer after winning a National German Exam Scholarship. Phillips will spend three weeks studying in Germany this summer.

A freshman at The Linsly School has won an opportunity to study for three weeks this summer in Germany.

Connor Phillips has been named a recipient of the National German Exam Scholarship after placing first on the National German Exam in West Virginia. He and 37 other winners from across the nation will leave June 26 for a three week all-expenses-paid trip to Germany – where they will attend a German high school, and be placed to live in a home with one of their German classmates.

Along the way they also get opportunities to visit cultural and historic sites, and take trips to cities, monuments and castles throughout the country.

They are scheduled to apply July 16.

To be eligible to apply, students must score in the 90th percentile or higher on the National German Exam, be in high school, have a minimum of a B average, and be between the ages of 15 and 17 for the duration of the program.

Students must be U.S. citizens or permanent residents, not live in a household where regular conversation is in German. In addition, they must not have visited a German-speaking country for more than two consecutive weeks since the age of six.

The students submit scholarship applications, and must be nominated by a local chapter of the American Association of Teachers of German. The students then must take another test and are then nominated for the scholarship by a national committee.

The scholarship has been awarded for nearly 60 years and is funded by the Federal Republic of Germany through the German Foreign Office and the Pedagogical Exchange Program.

Phillips, the son of Amanda and Gary Phillips of Wheeling, said he had never been exposed to the German language or culture prior to a visit to German teacher Regina Bauer’s classroom before starting eighth grade.

Linsly students are required to take three years of one language, or two years of two languages during the time at the school. Phillips said he quickly noticed Bauer’s class wasn’t just about learning a foreign language, but also about experiencing a different culture.

“I walked into her classroom, and I felt at home. Something immediately clicked,” he said. “I took the class last year. Before that, I don’t think it is anything I would have considered.”

He plans to take all German classes available up to German 5 at the school. Phillips noted he has plans to be an attorney, and he believes a knowledge of German will be beneficial. He has been told there are many opportunities for attorneys in international law, and many of these jobs require a knowledge of German or another language.

Phillips spends four to five hours a week studying German while in school, but also continues the effort after hours. When he watches Netflix, he sets the language to German with English subtitles. He credits this with helping him with his conversational German.

Phillips also praises Bauer.

“My teacher is amazing,” he said. “She is the one who sparked it (an interest in German) in me. It’s the way she runs her class. If I hadn’t witnessed it, I wouldn’t have considered it.

“She focuses on speaking and conversation when a lot of teachers do not. That puts me ahead of other students in speaking German,” Phillips explained.

He and the other students should learn sometime this month to what German city they will be going, and with whom they will be staying.

Bauer termed Phillips “a special student,” and a ” very, very smart kid.”

She has been teaching six years at Linsly, and is a native of Braden, Germany.

“This trip will be very life changing for him so early in life,” Bauer said. “I’m very happy he also gets to see my culture, and how my country is compared to his.”

Phillips is the first of Bauer’s students to win the scholarship, though she did have one student apply in the past.

“He is a very dedicated student, and he challenges himself, as well,” she said. “He is gifted. It comes easy for him, where other kids have problems.

“I really love this kid. I’m very pleased having him in my class. It makes it easier sometimes,” Bauer added.

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