Timber Creek German teacher, Curtis Russell, has been recognized by the United States State Department for his contributions to an exchange program that brought dozens of TCHS and German high school students to each others’ schools.

received government recognition for his “support of American citizen diplomacy and generous contributions to the success of the 2018 German-American Partnership Program” (GAPP).

“The program is sponsored by the Department of State [in Texas] and the German Foreign Office,” Russell explained. “You set up a partnership with a high school [in Germany] and the idea is that you continue the partnership for several years.”

The German foreign exchange students that made their debut last semester as part of GAPP, were primarily the reason the government acknowledged Russell for they greatly value the “intercultural learning opportunities” that the program offers.

The idea is that one builds a relationship with the school, teachers, and the administration, as well as get better at the German language and travel.

“Some high schools have had partnerships with the schools over there have had the same school for 30 years,” he said. “You don’t have to have a German program at your high school to do it.”

With no German ancestry, Russell first became interested in the language through unconventional means by finding common points between his interests and connecting it back to German.

“I took piano lessons for quite a while growing up and I always thought it was interesting that a lot of famous composers were German speaking,” Russell mentioned.

By being a part of the program, students may have the opportunity to earn unique scholarships to study in a German speaking country.

“That’s another goal of the program to hopefully get some people to go study in Germany at some point in their life,” Russell said. “It’s basically a scholarship to go study in Germany for a year at a high school.”

If students are interested in learning more about these scholarships, see Russell in room S112.

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