AATG Member Kim Hotze, German teacher at Marquette High in Chesterfield, MO, and her colleagues in the Rockwood School District were facing a dilemma: German programs were being cut, and only three of the six middle schools in the district were offering German instruction. Hotze and her colleagues brainstormed ideas on how to spread the word about German, increase enrollments, and have fun. Their solution? Rocktoberfest, a community-wide dance and music event.
Rocktoberfest, the name being a fusion of the Rockwood School District and the famous Bavarian festival, showcased the district’s German programs through an evening of song and dance for students and their families. Over 100 students, adults, and children attended the event and Hotze deems Rocktoberfest a great success.
Bob Shea from Crestview Middle School and his band Übercool provided the authentic Oktoberfest music and sold Übercool shirts to advertise the event. Students who had learned and practiced dances and songs in class before the event taught their friends and family.
To add to the German Gemütlichkeit, Hotze’s students crafted Lebkuchenherzen out of cardboard and puffy paint—a craft that worked well given the event’s limited budget. A small Jause was provided by the Pretzel Guys in St. Louis.
And Rocktoberfest was more than just a fun event—it did make a deeper mark on the district.
“Administrators were in attendance and were really thrilled by the success of the event,” Hotze said.
Rocktoberfest, combined with targeted advocacy by the district’s high school and middle school German teachers, resulted in three of the district’s six middle schools working to reinstate German instruction.
Would Rocktoberfest work as an event in your region? Do you wear your Übercool T-shirt with pride? Leave a comment below!