Evergreen High teacher, students to visit, study in Germany

By Susan Parrish, Columbian education reporter

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German American Partnership Program

Congress-Bundestag Youth Exchange Program

Molly MacGregor seems an unlikely name to pair with the title “frau.”

Frau MacGregor, who is completing her third year of teaching German at Evergreen High School, is preparing to lead nine of her advanced students on a three-week study trip this summer to Germany. For many, it will be their first trip abroad.

Earlier this spring, MacGregor arranged for an inaugural student exchange between Evergreen and Gabrieli Gymnasium in Eichstätt, Germany, through the German American Partnership Program, a nonprofit high school exchange program between schools in Germany and the United States. It’s sponsored by the German Foreign Office and by the U.S. Department of State.

For three weeks in April, the German students stayed with their host siblings, MacGregor’s students. They attended classes at Evergreen, did a scavenger hunt in downtown Portland, visited the Oregon Coast, hiked up Beacon Rock and attended prom.

MacGregor will soon lead her students to Germany to stay with their host siblings and attend classes for three weeks.

Two of MacGregor’s students who received GAPP scholarships will spend several months next school year studying at college prep schools in Germany.

Both girls have dreamed about traveling to Germany.

Senior Jessica Letzgus, 18, who has never traveled outside the U.S., will accompany MacGregor and the other students on the three-week study tour. Then, she’ll spend six months with two host families in Eichstätt, a small Bavarian town an hour north of Munich. She will attend Gabrieli Gymnasium, a college prep school that specializes in music.

“Frau has prepared us well,” Letzgus said. “I want to focus on the arts: painting, drawing, taking some Italian.”

Senior Hannah Enz, 18, has received a full scholarship to study at another German program in a small town near Cologne. She also will be an American ambassador via the Congress-Bundestag Youth Exchange Program, which she explained is an internship to learn about the German Parliament. She leaves Aug. 8 and will live in Germany for 10 months. Her only previous world travel has been to Canada and Mexico.

Enz, who has connected with her host family via email and Facebook, learned her host parents speak some English, but the host daughter does not. She’ll spend the first three weeks attending language school.

“We’ll be going over there with a really good foundation of the language,” Enz said. “Immersion is the best way to learn a language. Sink or swim. I’m excited to immerse myself in another culture and be able to leave a positive impression.”

Speaking only in German, MacGregor walked around her classroom introducing interesting tourist sites in Germany.

In her email signature, MacGregor quotes Andre Gide: “A good teacher has only one worry: to teach her students how to learn without her.”

In the months ahead, her students Letzgus and Enz will have opportunities to walk through many doors without their teacher.