A South Forsyth High School student will soon travel to Germany after recently being named the Georgia German Student of the Year.
Matthew Powell, a senior at the school on Peachtree Road, was given the title by the American Association of Teachers of German-Georgia.
The award is presented to students who demonstrate excellence in the study and promotion of German at a local school and in the state of Georgia. It comes with a three-week, all expenses paid trip to Germany where he will stay with a German family and take advanced German classes at the Goethe Institute.
Powell said he has always been attracted to the German language.
“I don’t know what it is; I’ve always just had a passion for wanting to learn it,” he said. “Before I began high school, I said no matter what, I’d take and learn German.”
The teen has done just that, mastering the language in four years.
He has already travelled to the country, spending three weeks in Berlin in the summer of 2015.
Powell said he was first approached earlier this year by his German teacher, Jonas Strecker, to go through the selection process.
“My teacher first approached me and asked if I would want to do it,” Powell said. “I said I would definitely want to put in work — it’s what I’ve been working towards for the last four years.”
The application required Powell to submit a letter of recommendation from Strecker, write an essay at home, write an essay on-site and participate in an interview conducted in German by four college professors.
“I was nervous about it just because of the magnitude and what it would mean to me,” Powell said, “but at the same time, [it was] a mix of comfortable. I was ready for it.”
Only one student is chosen annually to receive the award.
“This is the award of a lifetime for me — it’s a tremendous honor,” Powell said. “I was flabbergasted when I heard them call my name. It means the world to me, especially as it’s my senior year.”