Seventh meeting

7th meeting – Weiskirchen, Germany

After two years of project-work all partners, meaning 20 guest teachers and 48 guest students in total with their German partners, got together for their last meeting. This time inWeiskirchen, Germany.

Of course all partners were curious about what the German school looks like and how the school system is structured. After being shown around in the school the guests were welcomed by the mayor of Weiskirchen in the town hall. Werner Hero was happy that through the project also the level of awareness of the village of Weiskirchen increases. Together with Michael Diversy, head of the “Hochwald-Touristik GmbH” he introduced the community and of course the aspects of tourism in this region.

While the students spent the afternoon with their host families the teachers went on a cultural trip to Tholey and the city of St. Wendel. The mayor of Tholey, Hermann Josef Schmidt, welcomed the group on top of the mountain “Schaumberg”. He explained in detail the historical background of the French-German meeting place and was proud of the importance of the mountain for the region, being a memorial for peace in Europe: “Europe is on the move, Europe is dynamic, Europe is fighting for peace, democracy and human rights! And we are all participating.” He congratulated the Comenius-teachers for their commitment to the thought of a united Europe.

In the evening the teachers had a typical Saarlandian dinner. After that a night watch in an historical costume awaited them to show them the city of St. Wendel with all its beautiful medieval buildings and its interesting history.

On the occasion of the Comenius meeting there was a special event in the school on Tuesday. For 10 years now the “Eichenlaubschule” has collaboration with the amateur radio team “Q21 Schwarzwälder Hochwald”: The start of a stratosphere balloon in honor of the Comenius guests as well was the anniversary celebration of the collaboration of the amateur radio club and the school. Lots of interested spectators came to the place in front of the school. As a special guest headmaster Günter Peifer could welcome the member of parliament of the federal state, Stefan Krutten, who as well is the former training manager of the trainees of the steel producing company “Dillinger Hütte”. Therefore the youth of Europe has a special meaning for him, what he highlighted in his short speech.

Other guests of importance have been the director of education of Greece, Kosmas Savilotidis and superintendent Gerard Roettgers from Luxemburg. Both were pleased to meet Gudrun Hary, representative of the ministry of education of the federal state of Saarland.

All partner schools had the chance to send some greetings in their mother tongue from the radio station of the school to the balloon which transported of course several measuring instruments and cameras and an additional simplex voice repeater, saving the voice mails and reproducing and sending it constantly on its flight. Even people from Hamburg and the Benelux-states reported to have heard the messages. The balloon then exploded as planned in a height of about 30 km and dropped to the ground on a parachute where balloon-chaser Franz collected the valuable load and brought it back to the school for evaluation.

The Tuesday afternoon has been dedicated to the emblem of the Saarland: the “Schwenker” (special grill, working like a swing). All the guests and host families have been invited to a typical barbeque in the school. Everyone came and contributed a part to the huge buffet. Even the weather has been nice so that the yard could be used for several activities like sports and dancing. The German parents and teachers mingled with the Comenius-teachers and the international understanding was acted out until the late evening.

The next day two busses full of teachers and students of 7 nations made their way to the capital of the federal state. 4 guides awaited the guests at the wall of the Saarbrücken castle and showed them around the town. Ludwigs-church, the castle of Saarbrücken and its park and the Basilica St. Johann are just a few sights teachers and students could enjoy. After the tour the mayor of the town of Saarbrücken, Charlotte Britz, welcomed the teachers in the town hall. That was a really big honor for the Comenius team. She gave an overview about the larger region and being close to the countries of France and Luxembourg it is important to work together in a trustful way. She also was really impressed by the European dimension of the Comenius project and highlighted the importance of the cooperation of schools for a united Europe.

After this visit everyone could explore the city. Some went shopping for souvenirs while others enjoyed the French flair of Saarbrücken in one of the cafés.

In the evening all the teachers took part in the Comenius dinner in the “Parkhotel” in Weiskirchen. As this was the last joint dinner after the period of 2 years there was a melancholic atmosphere. All the coordinators of the partner schools found stirring words to express their high regard and cordiality during the two years of the project. Apostolis Kouvatas suitably said: “This might be the end of our project but not the end of our friendship.” Günter Peifer, coordinator of the project, thanked everyone for the good, trustful and nice teamwork and relationship amongst the partners.

With lots of impressions in their hearts and minds everyone had to say good-bye the next morning. It was hard to part but there was a general promise: We will meet again!

The meeting as well as the whole Comenius program means enrichment and a broadening of the horizon in the life of all participants of these unique project.

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