NEW KNOXVILLE — Screams of victory, sighs of defeat and the occasional German tune filled the gym at New Knoxville Local School Friday morning, as students in the fourth, fifth and sixth grades competed in the German Olympics.
German teacher Kathy McClain said the annual event is used to promote German culture.
"The idea is to promote German heritage," McClain said, noting that the event is always scheduled during German-American Week. "With New Knoxville being a German town, we try to highlight their heritage."
The New Knoxville German Club puts the event together and this year was led by President Spencer Wolf. McClain said the club is an active group and the members put in a lot of work to put together the event.
"They have a month to put this together," she said, noting that it took dedication from the German club's members. "I appreciate the fact that they're such responsible kids."
Six classes of students competed against each other in several games that each carried a German theme, including a recycling relay, human bowling, a gingerbread house building competition and a round of soccer penalty shots among others. Points were awarded to the first three teams in each game, and at the conclusion of the Olympics, the winning class was awarded a pizza party.
"We try to give them (the students) a highlight of why we're playing each of these games," McClain said, noting that the Germans are a "green" country, which related to the recycling relay and how the country enjoys soccer, which related to the penalty shootout.
McClain noted the German Olympics are a way for fourth, fifth and sixth-grade students to build on what they had already learned about German language and culture.
"First, second and third graders get elementary German lessons throughout the school year from German students," McClain said, noting that there is not time to do the same with the higher grade levels. "This is our way of continuing German culture lessons with them."
Students also learned a German song and dance that they recited for additional points. Sixth-grade student Olivia Dyrness said she had learned the song and dance a few years ago.
"If you’re in the fourth grade, you learn it (the song and dance)," Olivia said. "They refresh your memory if you're in the fifth or sixth grade. They do it every year."
Students described the event as "awesome" and "a lot of fun" and also said they had learned something as well. Samantha Stienecker said she learned about the German language.
"We learned a few German words," she said.
Destiny Schafer said she learned about a German hobby.
"I learned that Germans like to bowl and their bowling is way different than ours," Destiny said.
Of the many games the students participated in, the gingerbread house building competition was a favorite.
"My favorite part would have to be the gingerbread house," Bailey Clark said. "I got icing all over my arms."
At the conclusion of the German Olympics, cheers erupted in the gym as third place was awarded to the green team, second place to the blue team and first to the yellow team. Abby Farley of the winning yellow team enjoyed the end of the event.
"My favorite part was when we won," she said. "We got to cheer on Ms. Bergman."
The teams concluded the German Olympics with a lap around the gym together, showing their team's flag and cheering.
McClain said she enjoys how excited the elementary students get for the event.
"It gets the kids real excited about German," she said.