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‘Extraordinary facilities’

courtesy of The Orcadian

By Sarah Sutherland

TWENTY-FIVE German school pupils said they were very impressed at the “extraordinary” facilities at Kirkwall Grammar School, during a recent visit. The group of 17-year-olds from Theodor-Heuss-Gymnasium — a school in Aalen — were joined by teachers, Marc Christoph, Andreas Arbter and Dianna Wittmann. Marc’s name might ring a bell with some former KGS pupils, having been a foreign language assistant at the school between 2005 and 2006. He was welcomed back by former colleague and principal teacher of modern languages, Ben Pesci. “There was necessity to offer to our students another special trip for those taking their final exams,” Marc explained. “I thought this might be the chance to finally get back to facilities’ Scotland for once, and finally get back to Orkney!”

Pupils from Theodor-Heuss-Gymnasium in Aalen, Germany, visited Orkney recently.

Marc explained that English is considered a very important language in German education. This could be seen in the sheer fluency of many of the young pupils, who were able to answer questions put to them in their second tongue with ease. This came in handy when they were given a chance to mingle with some of the S6 modern language pupils at KGS. “They were really nice,” said Isabel Englaro, who hopes to come to the UK for university. “We spoke about school, our hobbies, just everything generally.” Isabel and her friends were also given a tour round the school. They were impressed by its facilities and modern design, and were particularly taken by the Orkney Theatre. “We have nothing at our school compared to this,” explained Isabel. “It’s extraordinary, really. It’s incredible!” Meanwhile, the Kirkwall pupils were also interested to find out about another culture, including differences in law, education, sport and hobbies. “We spoke about what stereotypes we had of Germany and vice-versa,” explained 16-year-old Euan Gorman. Seventeen-year-olds, Jeremiasz Kaluzinski and Chris McBean, said they were surprised to find out that, if they lived in Germany, they would have a much longer school day and that they would be able to legally drink alcohol, except for spirits, from the age of 16. After their visit to KGS, the pupils from Theodor-Heuss-Gymnasium went for a tour round some of Orkney’s famous historical landmarks. Overall, the pupils said they were enjoying their time in the county and were looking forward to visiting Edinburgh towards the end of their stay in Scotland.