Celebrating German Culture [VIDEO]

Mazama High School only offers a German language program in the region

Teri Utley was a little embarrassed when she stepped up to the mic, but you could tell her yodeling wasn’t.

The third-grade German-speaking student from Mazama High School won the yodelling contest last week at the school’s annual OktoberFest celebration.

More than 100 German-speaking pupils and their teacher, Kathleen Todd, took over the schoolyard, turning it into a German party with sausages, sauerkraut and pretzels as well as games, singing and competitions. Many students dressed in traditional German festive clothes. For boys, the costume is called a lederhosen – leather shorts, suspenders and hats; for girls, the dress is called a dirndl.

“Kids really get into it,” Todd said. “It’s so important to learn about a different culture so that we’re not so ethnocentric. When studying a foreign language, it is important to learn the history of the people who speak it.

Todd has been teaching German at Mazama High School for 22 years. The school is the only German as a foreign language program in the Klamath Basin, and one of only a few in the entire state. Todd teaches German 1-4, offering four years of progressive advancement. Students in third and fourth grade earn both college and high school credits.

Other schools in the county offer Spanish in grades one and two; Henley offers four years of Spanish and four years of French. Mazama High School also offers four years of Spanish.