German 4, 5 Will Be Eliminated Next Year


Media by Emily Chien

Frau Kimberly Hotze teaches students in a combined class of German 2 and 3. This will be Hotze’s last year teaching, as she is retiring to pursue other passions. She has taught German at MHS for 31 years.

When Richie Tienter, senior, was in elementary school, he had a foreign exchange student from Germany live with his family for a month.

Through the exchange student, Tienter learned about German culture, which inspired him to sign up for German classes upon starting middle school.

Now, Tienter is in AP German, or German 5.

“It’s nice to be able to sit back and take pride in the fact that I know how to speak in another language,” Tienter said. “I have so many things that I can say and so many ways I express myself.”

But in recent years, the amount of students who want to learn German at the middle and high school levels has declined. So much so that the district cut German programs at the middle school level, eliminating the possibility for middle schoolers to take German 1. 

It’s going to impact us a lot. It’s going to be detrimental for all the kids that need the language credit and just want to learn the language.

— Greta Woitach, junior

And now, Frau Kimberly Hotze, German teacher, is retiring after this school year. Hotze has taught German at MHS since it opened in 1993 and is the only remaining original teacher

Many students, including Tienter, harbor concerns that the end of Hotze’s teaching career will also bring the end of the German program at MHS. 

German will not be completely eliminated from the school next year, but the structure of the program will look very different, Associate Principal Dr. Tracy Waeckerle said. The school will no longer offer German 4 and 5 and German 1, 2 and 3 will be taught by Tim Abney, Latin teacher.

This decision was based on a conglomeration of factors: scheduling, decreased enrollment in the program and the fact that Abney also teaches another language, Dr. Waeckerle said. 

“It comes down to allowing, if the numbers support this, kids to finish their two years of a language,” Dr. Waeckerle said. “This is obviously important because for kids that are college bound, two years of a language is usually a requirement.”

This year, Hotze taught all five levels. Abney also taught a few sections to help Hotze with her full course load.

It was truly one of the hardest decisions to make because I love teaching,

— Kimberly Hotze

Hotze said she is retiring to spend time with her children.

“It was truly one of the hardest decisions to make because I love teaching,” she said. 

Greta Woitach, junior, is the president of the German Club, which meets about once a month to celebrate German holidays and to educate members about the culture.

Woitach said the potential loss of German in schools is concerning. Reductions will lessen the amount of opportunities students can gain from learning the language.

“It’s going to impact us a lot,” Woitach said. “It’s going to be detrimental for all the kids that need the language credit and just want to learn the language.”