Recognition of Outstanding Teachers 2021

At our OATG Zoom-Maifest 2021  teachers were honored for their outstanding teachingand for their participation in the National German Exam.

Tanja Langen of South Salem High School and Ursula Horstmann-Nash of Grants Pass High School were given Outstanding Teacher Awards for distinguished performance in teaching German. Both Tanja and Ursula are active and vital members of the OATG. They regularly attend professional conferences to renew their skills and they share their knowledge with the community of German teachers. They set high standards for their students, who have consistently performed well on the National German Exam.

Our OATG Testing Chair, Carrie Collenberg-Gonzales also honored the teachers and students who took part in the 2021 National German Exam with this tribute:

In 2021, three German teachers in Oregon administered the National German Exam of the American Association of Teachers of German under extraordinary circumstances and with remarkable results. I don’t normally have the opportunity to speak publicly about the work our teachers are doing and about the exam but the Zoom format has enabled all of us to be here today and share these successes.

The first teacher is Ursula Horstmann Nash from Grants Pass High School. Frau Horstmann Nash administered Level 2, 3, and 4 exams to fourteen students. Of these fourteen students, six of them placed: one received a silver medal, four received bronze medals, and one received an achievement award.

The next teacher is Jan Hendrik Beck who teaches German at the German Language Program of Portland through the German American Society. Herr Beck administered Level 2, 3, and 4 exams to fifteen students. Of these fifteen students, fourteen of them placed: three received the gold medal, seven received the silver medal, three received the bronze medal, and one received the achievement award.

The next teacher is Tanja Langen from South Salem Public School. Frau Langen administered levels 2, 3, and 4 to 32 students. Of these 32 students, fourteen placed: four received gold medals, three received bronze medals, and seven received achievement awards. Frau Langen’s students rank among the top in the chapter.

Please join me in congratulating the teachers who administered the AATG National German Exam and whose students performed so well.

The AATG also tracks which students speak German at home and which students have visited Germany so they can determine who is eligible for the travel awards, which were canceled this year for obvious reasons. This year, the students who ranked first and second on Levels 2, 3, and 4 exams all speak German at home and have been to Germany. It is not a given that so-called heritage speakers will perform well on a written exam and their achievement is commendable. Henry Langen Swartzendruber ranked first of 26 students who took the Level 2 exam and Rose Langen-Schwarzendruber ranked second. Both students study with Frau Langen at South Salem High School. Student Otto Haecker ranked first out of 22 students who took the Level 3 exam and Micah Powch ranked second. They study with Herr Beck at the German Language Program of Portland. The top three students on the Level 4 exam study with Tanja Langen at South Salem High SchoolMaxwell Howard and Lillian Langen Schwarzendruber tied for first place out of thirteen students in the state who took the exam and Olivia McGrew ranked third.

I would also like to highlight two students who ranked third on the level 2 and level 3 exams. These students do not speak German at home and only one of them had been to Germany which makes their achievement even more remarkable. The first student, Karis Malinosky, attends the German Language Program of Portland with Herr Beck. She received the silver award and ranked third out of 22 students in the chapter who took the Level 3 exam. The second student is Travis Snyder. He studies at Grants Pass High School with Frau Horstmann Nash. He received the silver award and ranked third out of 26 students who took the Level 2 exam. He has never been to Germany and does not speak German at home and, for these reasons in conjunction with his performance and potential, Travis Snyder will receive the book award this year. I will mail them to Frau Horstmann Nash and letters of commendation will also arrive soon via email to you and your principals or directors.

Please join me in celebrating these students!

It is such an honor to receive the results of the exam each year and marvel at the work our teachers are doing. But the National German Exam is only one way of gauging our success. Having been Testing Chair for five years, I have met many of you and seen the work your students have done. And in this role I have also met many of you who do not administer the exam but still maintain thriving programs with gifted students. We are all here today because of our devotion to teaching German in Oregon and we share a mutual passion for teaching at all the different levels represented here. I hope that we continue to work together and see each other as resources to make German even stronger. Thank you to everyone here for your service to the profession!

Carrie Collenberg-González, Ph.D. (she/her/hers) 

Assistant Professor of German & German Section Head

Director of the Deutsche Sommerschule am Pazifik

Department of World Languages and Literatures

Portland State University

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