After a rigorous selection process, Christine Yang, an 18-year-old a senior at South Forsyth High School, has been named as the Georgia Student of the Year by the American Association of Teachers of German.
According to a press release by South Forsyth High School, Yang has been awarded a three week, all expenses paid trip to Germany to live with a German host family, and take advanced German classes at the Goethe Institute in Munich.
“It’s been four spectacular years of learning German,” laughed Christine, when asked what it took to be recognized with the student of the year award.
“I could say that it started on the first day of ninth grade even, but I know I wouldn’t be here without Herr Strecker and my German club,” she said.
Yang’s German teacher, Jonas Strecker, feels that Yang getting the award is just the most recent recognition of her dedication and love of the German language.
“So, Christine is one of those students that you always dream about having. I’ve been teaching 20 plus years now, and Christine is hands down the most fantastic student I’ve ever had,” Strecker said.
Yang is the current president of the German Club at South Forsyth High School and has been a club officer for the last several years. Last year, she spent three weeks in Nuremberg, Germany after winning a different award from the American Association of Teachers of German, the National AATG/PAD Travel Award.
“She led that club to new heights, and we have a thriving German program now, partially thanks to that active German Club,” Strecker said.
To be named the American Association of Teachers of German 2018 Georgia Student of the Year, Christine was required to be recommended for the award by her school, was responsible for two essays written in German, and was interviewed in German by college professors from aGeorgia Tech, Kennesaw State University, Piedmont College and Mercer University.
In his recommendation of Yang to the American Association of Teachers of German, Strecker said that Yang’s strength as a student lie not only in her “academic approach” to learning the language, but in her “intrinsic motivation.”
“In my 20 years of teaching on the college and high school level, I have had only one other student of a similar caliber as Christine. That other student now holds a PhD in German from an Ivy League university,” Strecker said.
“There is no superlative I could use in this letter that would exaggerate Christine’s dedication, ability and overall enthusiasm for German,” he stated in the recommendation letter.
He said that Yang has been accepted into Yale and has been approached by several other Ivy League schools, but she hasn’t made up her mind where she will study after she graduates in May.Yang will be officially recognized by the American Association of Teachers of German at an award ceremony held at Georgia Tech on May 6.