Ger­man Am­bas­sador vis­its Coláiste Bríde


Enniscorthy Guardian - - NEWS - By BREN­DAN KEANE

THE Ger­man Am­bas­sador to Ire­land, her Ex­cel­lency Frau Deike Potzel, has vis­ited Coláiste Bríde in En­nis­cor­thy as part of the 10-year an­niver­sary cel­e­bra­tions of the school’s Stu­dent Lan­guage and Cul­tural ex­change pro­gramme with Gym­na­sium Bruck­mühl - which is lo­cated near Mu­nich in south­ern Bavaria, Ger­many.

Ms Potzel was ac­com­pa­nied at the school by her em­bassy col­league, Frau Cor­nelia Lück, and they were wel­comed by staff mem­bers in­clud­ing Prin­ci­pal Kiera O’Sul­li­van.

The on­go­ing ex­change be­tween the two schools has been run un­der a theme of ‘en­rich­ing minds and con­nect­ing hearts’ and Ms O’Sul­li­van struck a key note on the day by wel­com­ing the visit­ing dig­ni­taries ‘auf Deutsch’.

She also wel­comed visit­ing Ger­man ex­change stu­dents and their teach­ers to the Model County and af­forded them a par­tic­u­larly warm wel­come to En­nis­cor­thy.

She praised the work of the ex­change lead­ers in both schools, Maria Whitty-Sex­ton (in Coláiste Bríde) and Chris­tian Buxot (in Ger­many), and com­pli­mented them for their ‘im­mense ef­fort and con­sis­tent hard work’.

Ms O’Sul­li­van also ac­knowl­edged the en­thu­si­asm and im­pec­ca­ble be­hav­iour of the par­tic­i­pat­ing stu­dents and the vi­tal sup­port of their par­ents over the 10 years of what she de­scribed as a ‘re­mark­able cul­tural ex­pe­ri­ence’.

Sixth year stu­dent Kath­lyn McVeigh spoke glow­ingly, in flu­ent Ger­man, of her time on the ex­change and high­lighted how it ben­e­fited her.

She em­pha­sised the value of the en­dur­ing friend­ships she made dur­ing that time and told her fel­low stu­dents that the con­nec­tion be­tween the schools through lan­guage and culture had in­spired her to work hard in the hope of pur­su­ing a ca­reer in in­ter­na­tional re­la­tion­ships.

Frau Anne Hieber spoke next, on be­half of Gym­na­sium Bruck­mühl and her col­leagues, Uli Bruns and Su­sanna Hainke. She paid trib­ute to the value of the strong cul­tural bonds that have been forged be­tween the two schools since 2008.

Her speech was also hu­mourous as she pre­sented the stu­dent pop­u­la­tion in Coláiste Bride with ac­counts of the nu­mer­ous cross-cul­tural meet­ings over the years.

Stand-out mo­ments for her and her col­leagues were the spon­ta­neous erup­tions of songs from Coláiste Bríde stu­dents in var­i­ous parts of Mu­nich City Cen­tre in ad­di­tion to the ex­cite­ment caused by the ap­pear­ance of Ger­man teenage boys around the cor­ri­dors of Coláiste Bríde.

For­mer school pupil and cur­rent UL lan­guages stu­dent Kate Hall spoke about her time study­ing in Leipzig and also of her forth­com­ing lan­guage trips to Ar­gentina and France.

Ms Hall cred­ited her time in Coláiste Bríde for de­vel­op­ing her love of lan­guages.

When Ms Potzel ad­dressed the room she ac­knowl­edged the im­por­tance of both schools in de­vel­op­ing close links over the last decade. She also high­lighted the long-term ben­e­fits of such ex­tra ex­tra-cur­ric­u­lar cul­tural en­rich­ment pro­grammes.

A spokesper­son for Coláiste Bríde said: ‘Our stu­dents were re­minded of the ever-present need for global diplo­macy when Frau Potzel spoke of her own ca­reer in the Ger­man For­eign Ser­vice.’

‘Ac­knowl­edg­ing the wor­ry­ing po­lit­i­cal and eco­nomic back­drop of Brexit, her Ex­cel­lency stressed the need to fo­cus on our im­por­tance and value as close EU part­ners,’ said the spokesper­son.

Ms Potzel also gave the lo­cal stu­dents ex­am­ples of prac­ti­cal ben­e­fits of study­ing Ger­man in Ir­ish schools - es­pe­cially given the cur­rent short­fall of Ger­man speak­ers in the Ir­ish work­force.

The Coláiste Bríde spokesper­son said the am­bas­sador con­firmed that ‘at the high­est po­lit­i­cal and cul­tural lev­els our ef­forts are ap­pre­ci­ated’.

‘She also con­firmed that the op­por­tu­ni­ties of­fered by the ex­change are worth­while and that they mat­ter,’ she said.

What was also very ap­par­ent dur­ing the visit was Ms Potzel’s ob­vi­ous re­spect and fond­ness for Ire­land and Ir­ish culture.

‘Her in­spir­ing words mir­rored per­fectly the same sen­ti­ment felt by our Ger­man col­leagues in the room,’ said the school spokesper­son.

Af­ter the for­mal­i­ties the Am­bas­sador ac­com­pa­nied this year’s ex­change part­ners to lunch in the school’s Ac­tiv­ity Room - af­ter which she was en­ter­tained by a won­der­fully en­er­getic Ir­ish danc­ing per­for­mance at Coláiste Bríde’s an­nual ‘Mok­to­ber­fest’.

‘It is rare to have a visit from a mem­ber of our own Government in Coláiste Bride so when the Ger­man government sin­gled us out for spe­cial at­ten­tion we em­braced the hon­our with de­light,’ said the spokesper­son.

‘Our visit from the Ger­man Am­bas­sador is truly one we will trea­sure in Coláiste Bríde and long may our ef­forts in en­rich­ing minds and con­nect­ing hearts con­tinue,’ she added.

Ex­change stu­dents pic­tured with Her Ex­cel­lency, Frau Deike Potzel, Ger­man Am­bas­sador to Ire­land, Prin­ci­pal Kiera O’Sul­li­van and Maria Whitty, Ger­man Ex­change Co-or­di­na­tor,at Coláiste Bríde.

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