Are you interested in joining us on the next trip to Koblenz, Germany? Summitt Fourth and Fifth graders are invited to get involved in the Koblenz Exchange Program. Children who would like to attend write essays about why they want to participate in the program, and a committee chooses the participants. Parents must also be committed because there is fundraising activities, including the Teacher Talent Show, Movie Nights, and Holiday Bazaar, along with with regular meetings for students and parents to prepare for the trip.
History of the Summitt-Koblenz Exchange
It began with a gift of art. In the fall of 1992, the cities of Austin and Koblenz decided to become Sister Cities under Sister Cities International. Mrs. Renata Anderson asked Diane Mansfield, Summitt art teacher, to prepare art for gifts to the visiting Koblenz delegation. One 4th grade art class painted pictures that were framed and presented to the delegates at an Austin City Council meeting. The delegates were so pleased by the paintings of Austin that they invited the students to visit Koblenz in the summer of 1993. Mrs. Mansfield, about twenty students, and a few parents made the trip and began the friendship with the Schenkendorf Schule. In 1994 the Schenkendorf students visited Summitt and the exchange was born. Summitt visits Koblenz every other year. In the other years, the Schenkendorf Schule visits Austin. The exchange is family-to-family. A family hosts a parent and a student. The exchange is partially funded by fundraisers, including the annual Summitt Teacher Talent Show, movie nights, and Holiday Bazaar.
In addition to Mrs. Mansfield, other teachers became leaders of the exchange: Mary Hutka, Nicole Wilson, April Sawtelle, and Heather Brannies. Austin and Koblenz are Sister Cities at every level: business, university, high school and elementary school. In October 2012, an official delegation from Koblenz visited Austin to celebrate twenty years of Sister City partnership. On October 30, 2012, the delegation visited Summitt for an assembly celebrating the twentieth anniversary. Summitt played and continues to play a vital role in this partnership. Learn more about the history and current news about the Austin/Koblenz partnership.
Koblenz Delegation Visit 2012
An official delegation from Koblenz, including the deputy mayor and other officials, visited Austin October 27 – November 2, 2012. An official Anniversary Celebration at City Hall was held Monday, October 29 from 5:30 – 7:30. On Tuesday, October 30, 2012, the delegation visited Summitt for an assembly from 8:30 am – 9:15 am. Summitt was the only public school the delegation visited. The only other schools the delegation visited were St. Edward’s University and the University of Texas. There was a potluck dinner at Zilker Clubhouse on Thursday, November 1, 2012 from 5:00 – 9:00pm. All past and current Koblenz families were invited to attend and bring a dish for 10 people plus drinks. Paper goods were provided. Summitt families also decorated for the dinner, and setup began at 3:00 pm at Zilker Clubhouse.
Summitt Students Visit to Koblenz – Summer 2016
A group of students, parents and teachers visited the Schenkendorf Elementary School in Koblenz, Germany in June 2016. Students prepared reports about some of the places and venues we visited to prepare for the trip. We arrived in Frankfurt and a bus and chaperones from the school greeted us with great gusto. After arriving in the town, the streets were lined with students waving German and American flags and homemade signs of welcome. Students met their host families for the first time and thus the adventure began! The two week trip involved trips to learn about the history and culture of the towns and region – including trips to the Marksburg Castle, Ehrenbreitstein Fortress, the German Corner at the confluence of the Mosel and Rhine Rivers, Roman ruins and museums, numerous ancient churches and cathedrals, a volcanic lake and abbey, the Gummy bear factory, Chocolate Museum, Cologne, Mainz, a bare foot park, and much more. Plus we got to know their host families, practice our German skills and gained some new ones, and enjoyed spending time with them. We look forward to hosting our German friends from Koblenz in the spring 2017!