Valparaiso Community Schools German Department Hosts Joachim Henker

Valparaiso Community Schools German Department was honored to host German engineer, author and reporter Joachim Henker at Benjamin Franklin Middle School in September. Herr Henker entertained the gathering of nearly 280 Valparaiso Schools German students with fun STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) experiments and exercised their German language skills. Herr Henker with the help of some eager volunteers conducted experiments in physics, chemistry and biology.

With German being the second most published scientific language (after English) and companies like BASF, Bayer, Siemens, Volkswagen, and Bosch, American students are finding that German suits their future goals. Germany leads the way in environmental science and research in renewable energy. Not only does Germany’s economy rank number one in Europe and fourth in the world, but Germans make up the largest native speaking block in the European Union.

As college tuition to American universities has surged 500% since 1985, German universities offer free education to everyone -- including Americans. MIT economist Albert Saiz calculated premiums for learning different languages: 1.5% for Spanish, 2.3% for French and 3.8% for German. This translates into big differences in the language account: Spanish is worth $51,000, French, $77,000, and German, $128,000. Germany is also the third largest source of foreign investment in Indiana with 110 German companies having operations in the state.

Making these cross curricular events and connections helps our students understand where their foreign language skills can take them. Not to mention that it is always fun to watch someone blow up stuff.