Since 2004, the German department at Rock Island High School has partnered with the city of Rottenburg, Germany in a GAPP (German-American Partnership Program) exchange. The primary goal of GAPP is to integrate students into everyday life with host families and into the classroom activities of host schools to foster an understanding of both German and American cultures. Every two years, the participating American students travel to their partner city in Germany for a three-week stay with a host family. Later that year, participating German students travel to the U.S. for a three-week stay with their American partners.
Our partner city, called Rottenburg am Neckar, is located in the southwestern German state of Baden-Württemberg about 30 miles to the south of Stuttgart. It has a population of around 40,000 people, and is situated along the picturesque Neckar river valley. It is also a seat of a catholic bishop for the Rottenburg-Stuttgart diocese. Our partner school, St. Meinrad Gymnasium, is a private college-preparatory school that serves students from Rottenburg and the surrounding area. About 800 students attend the SMG in grades 5-12. Our students will visit the 9th and 10th grade classes during their stay.
In addition to living with host families and attending school, they will enjoy field trips to the cities of Berlin, Munich, Stuttgart, and nearby Tübingen. The group will also spend a day around the area of Lake Constance with their German hosts. Highlights of the trip include touring the German capitol building, exploring the history of the Berlin wall, visiting the Dachau concentration camp memorial site, hiking up to Hohenzollern castle, making their own chocolate bars at the Ritter Sport factory, steering canoes down the Neckar river, and enjoying the town's summer festival.
Our GAPP exchange is also a partnership program between Rock Island and Davenport Schools. This year's group consists of 20 students, 13 from Rock Island and 7 from Davenport. Traveling to Rottenburg from Rock Island this year are Amanda Bowers, Danielle Clark, Jordan Gale, Ana Jacobs, Sarah Kaha, Madeline Lelonek, Blake McCarty, Drew McCarty, Luc Saintfort, Max Saintfort, Graice Veronda, Ethan Wiley, and Cameron Wilhelm. Participants from Davenport are Damien Burtle, Evan Dies, Dominik Gnad (PV), Jarrod Hulme, Aleah Kossan, Kayla Shinn, and Kyle Swanson. This year's chaperones are Nick Eli (RIHS German Teacher and GAPP Coordinator), Günter Kierblewski (Davenport Central German Teacher), and Amy Curtiss (RIHS Assistant Librarian). The group will be in Germany from June 5-27.
For more information about the GAPP program, contact RIHS German Teacher Nick Eli, email@example.com