CHS alum urges school officials to preserve German programBy Canton Citizen
Editor’s note: The following letter was submitted by Caroline Earle (CHS ’88) to Canton school officials in response to the proposed elimination of the German language program, and is posted below with permission from the author.
Dear Superintendent Granatino and Canton School Committee:
My name is Caroline Earle and I am writing to express my concern regarding the planned elimination of funding for German classes for grades 7 and 8 as well as German 1 at CHS. I am a former student of Mrs. Nicolovius at Canton High School and an alumnus of the Canton Public Schools’ German language program and the Canton-Bocholt exchange from the 1980s. I was educated in the Canton Public School system from 1975-1988, attending the Kennedy and Hansen schools, taking German at Galvin Middle School and Canton High School from seventh grade through to senior year at CHS.
I was an active exchange program participant, and my family (parents Alice and Charlie Earle, who still live in Canton, and brothers Dan, Norm, Mike, and Dave, who attended CHS and went on the exchange) have hosted German students and German teachers since 1985. Not only did I learn a foreign language; I also learned about the world. And as we prepare young people to thrive and excel in an ever more inter-connected world, they need to have the tools to succeed, which include a broader global perspective.
I hope that you will give this issue close review and refrain from quickly deciding on something that would irreparably harm the most successful and longest-running language exchange program in CHS history (34 years!), recognized by the German government for the role it has played in furthering cross-cultural communication. Cutting entry level courses will have a negative impact upon the future of language study for Canton students, robbing future Canton students of the opportunity to complete the standard college requirement of 3-4 years of a foreign language. Eliminating this successful program, which has produced successful young graduates over the years, may very well degrade the competitiveness of the Canton student body as they pursue post-secondary education and beyond.
Participation in the Canton German language program stimulated me intellectually and helped to propel me to academic and professional success over the years. I would hate to learn that the Canton schools had taken a step backward in terms of quality and competitiveness by eliminating this program with a proven track record.
Please let me share how this influenced my life. I graduated from CHS with honors and continued on to Colby College for my BA where I was a German and international studies double major and participated in two semester-abroad programs in Germany. My German language activity in Canton is what helped make me a standout candidate for admissions to Colby and what informed my decision to pursue my majors.
When I continued on to graduate school, I was selected to attend the Monterey Institute of International Studies for my MA, because I had in-depth language education and had lived and studied abroad. Because of Canton’s German program, I was at the level of language where I was subsequently selected for the very competitive German Parliamentary internship. Only a few students are selected from across the country every year, vetted by a paper application and an in-depth, day-long panel interview out at the German Consulate with members of their Parliament and the University of Bonn. During this program I lived in Bonn for one year, working as a staffer with a member of the German Parliament. I took a sabbatical from grad school to do this, and my final year at Monterey was even richer for it.
After graduate school I was hired by the United Nations as a consultant to help one of their agencies, UN Volunteers, in their move from Switzerland to Bonn. I was brought on to assist the executive director of that agency with press and media engagement, as well as to help develop an online presence for the UN in Germany. They selected me to be a member of the Bonn Synergy Team for UN outreach to the local and national government because of my language background. This would never have been possible without my Canton German language experience.
After almost two years overseas in Germany, I returned to the U.S. and moved to the Washington, DC, area in 1998 where I still reside. I’ve worked at two think tanks on issues of international import, and now I am doing a one-year exchange working in the Department of Defense. Over the years my international experiences based upon my German studies (which opened the doors for me) has helped me to win grant funding from the German Marshall Fund to run a Transatlantic Dialogue on Peacekeeping; serve as a researcher and author for a special report to the United Nations on the Future of Peace Operations, commissioned by Kofi Annan — and some of my recommendations in that report for improving management and business practices were actually implemented — work to develop emergency response exercises with Eastern European countries; work with NATO to explore ways to prevent and deter future threats (cyber, terrorism, etc. to the U.S. and the alliance). Currently I’m working with the Office of the Secretary of Defense for Policy looking at issues of technology transfer to foreign countries.
These are just a few examples to give you a flavor of what just one product of the Canton school system and Canton German language program can experience and accomplish. I implore you to please reflect on this example and the many others out there as you weigh your decision tonight. Please don’t eliminate all of the entry-level German language classes in the Canton Public Schools.
Caroline R. Earle
CHS Class of 1988
Short URL: http://www.thecantoncitizen.com/?p=12820