Feature Stories

Minnetonka Students Score Big on National German Exam
Minnetonka Students Score Big on National German Exam

The National German Exam is administered by the American Association of Teachers of German (AATG) every year to high school students taking a German course. The exam is comprised of a reading section, a listening section and multiple choice questions. More than 20,000 students take the National German Exam across the United States each year. This year, 10 Minnetonka High School (MHS) students earned either a Gold, Silver or Bronze Award.

One student in particular, MHS freshman Kruthica Dama, scored in the 99th percentile on the Level 3 exam, placing second in the state of Minnesota. Because of her high score and outstanding short essay responses, Kruthica was invited for an interview with a committee of German professors at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities. After the interview, the MN-AATG committee selected Kruthica as the number-one candidate from Minnesota to compete for the AATG Study Trip Award, an all-expense-paid trip to Germany. It is unusual for the Minnesota committee to select a ninth-grader, but they chose Kruthica based on her confidence, ability to speak German fluidly and sensitivity to intercultural issues. In April, Kruthica learned that she was one of only 44 students across the United States to earn the AATG Study Trip Award.

"I honestly wasn't really expecting to win the award, so getting the Minnesota chapter nomination would have been enough for me," said Kruthica. "Winning the trip was a really pleasant surprise and I don't think there's going to be a better day for the rest of the year." Kruthica very much enjoys learning German in school. "The reason why I decided to even take German was because I thought it would be something different," said Kruthica. "I continued it because I obviously enjoy it and I also really like learning languages." Learning German has also helped her with English. "The more I learn about German, the more I start to notice about the structure of the English language itself and others as well," said Kruthica.

"I am so proud of all the students, especially Kruthica Dama," said Angela Fairbrother, German teacher at MHS. "She is an excellent student who excels consistently in class, so I am not surprised that her testing and her follow-up interview with German professors at the University of Minnesota went so well. It is an incredible accomplishment to win the national Study Trip Award."

Another MHS student, sophomore Sidney Dickinson, scored in the 90th percentile on the Level 3 exam. Sidney also performed very well in her interview and was ranked second in the state. She was awarded a scholarship to a four-week Concordia Language Camp this summer.

The Minnetonka School District provides outstanding opportunities for students to learn one or more world languages—through its Chinese and Spanish Immersion programs beginning in Kindergarten and world language courses offered in grades 8-12. Kruthica knows very well that, "It's important to learn about another perspective, especially since our world is so globalized right now. Learning another language is a really easy way to stay connected."

"It is important for Minnetonka students to learn a world language," said Ms. Fairbrother, "as they can see the value of working hard and loving their language and the accomplishments that can be reached in high school."

The following MHS students earned awards based on their National German Language exam scores:

Gold Award

  • Kruthica Dama
  • Sidney Dickenson
  • Elsa Johnson
  • Delaney Nordos
  • Emily Riemer
  • William Walker

Silver Award

  • Priscilla Bunday
  • Thomas Lane
  • Aerwen Van Santen

Bronze Award

  • Anton King


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