(Deutsch)Land of Opportunity

NA recently returned to the annual German Day Competition, and the results were wunderbar.


Kate Gilliland, Opinion's Editor

The Three Rivers German Day Competition, held annually at Washington and Jefferson College, invites German language students from schools across the Pittsburgh area to gather and compete in various German language and culture-related competitions. The categories include three art-related categories, three writing categories, a poetry recitation competition, and many more. 

“This is a great opportunity to apply German knowledge and skills and make connections with students throughout the area with similar interests,” said German teacher Frau Brudnok. 

This year, the NASH German Club took home six awards in six different categories. With three bronze, one silver, and one gold. Senior Aideen Scanga was North Allegheny’s solo first-prize winner in the nonfiction writing category. 

“I am so proud of Aideen for their accomplishment in the writing competition,” Brudnok said. “It is not an easy category to compete in because it is very open-ended, and your language skills are the main focus.” 

For the first time since before the pandemic, North Allegheny competed in the skit category. This category requires students to write and perform their own original piece. NA students performed a skit inspired by Der Struwwelpeter, a book of German children’s stories. 

“This is a traditional story that most German kids grow up with and it is outside of what we would typically read as children in the US,” Brudnok said. “As our students really enjoyed it, they decided to write their skit about it.” 

NASH’s skit took second place, which is exactly what the students hoped for. 

“The rehearsals after school paid off. As soon as I heard we were second, I threw my hands up and yelled energetically,” said senior Matt O’Connell, who participated in the skit. “Everyone on stage deserved the achievement.” 

Another main category of the competition is the Culture Bowl. In order to compete, schools must enter a team of five students to answer various questions about German-speaking countries’ culture, history, and much more. Questions are asked in German and must be answered in German, making the competition very difficult. Teams are allowed to miss a maximum of two questions before being eliminated, and the questions get harder as fewer teams are left. 

“We all prepared and stayed after school to get ready for the competition,” said senior Culture Bowl team member Kara Miltenberger.“Each of us studied different topics to try and win but it was hard this year when the questions were randomized and very difficult.” 

Last year’s Culture Bowl team took home second place; however, this year’s team did not live up to last year’s placement, taking home fourth place. 

“We all were somewhat disappointed about not getting in the top three this year, but it was more fun to just learn more about German culture and traditions in the practices and in the actual competition.” said senior Rosa Schoeman, who competed in the Culture Bowl at the 2022 and 2023 competition. “The juniors this year were so knowledgeable and helpful, so I am sure they will keep it up next year!” 

Arguably the most difficult category of the competition is poetry recitation. Competitors are required to memorize one of three German poems provided by the competition. Students are judged on their ability to memorize and recite a poem.

This year was junior Amanda Campos’ first year at the competition, where she took home third place for poetry recitation. 

“I was a little nervous heading to the competition because poetry recitation requires so much concentration. It’s easy to focus so much on one line and forget what comes next, especially in German,” said Campos. “I tried to prepare as much as possible and I was happy with the outcome. It was a nerve-wracking but great experience.” 

Although most of the day is spent competing, one of the highlights of the competition is the food. The Washington and Jefferson Dining Hall provides the students with lunch that day, and along with serving basic cafeteria items, one section of the dining hall serves German food. 

“The food was amazing and reminded me of my trips to Germany,” said senior Malina Kress. 

The 2023 Three Rivers German Day Competition was another successful year for the members of NASH German Club. The juniors look forward to competing again next year and hopefully winning some more. 

“The German Competition is really fun! It’s just a day of competition and food,” said senior Grace Rowley.