T.C. Seniors Take First and Third in the State on National German Exam

T.C. Williams High School seniors have come first and third in Virginia on the highest level of the National German Exam.

Paul Scheland placed first, while classmate Paula Filios placed third among 280 students taking the level-four advanced exam in Virginia — the highest level offered. 

Our standings in the exam show how students with early access to language courses and/or life experiences to other languages and cultures can take advantage of the opportunity to continue their formal language study and improve their language fluency. Students like Paul and Paula will be equipped to go into a 300-plus college-level language course,” said T.C. Williams German Teacher Adam Levine.

The highly-competitive National German Exam measures reading and listening proficiency as well as knowledge of vocabulary and language structures at four levels from novice to advanced. Students at T.C. Williams can also study French, Spanish, Latin and Chinese.

Paula got her first taste of German at an after school club in second grade. She began taking German in sixth grade and has continued through her senior year. Many of the students in her initial German class at George Washington Middle School are in her German class today. With her early exposure to German language and culture through family experiences, visits to Germany, hosting German students in her home and time spent studying abroad, Paula was well poised for the National German Exam.

It’s a really good unbiased way to demonstrate proficiency in language because it’s a national standardized exam that is not developed by our teachers, so teachers can’t necessarily teach to it. And because we get to start languages so early in ACPS, we get to the highest level of the national exam by sophomore year of high school,” said Paula.

Paul credits his early years living in Austria and Germany for his strong foundation in German. Back in the U.S. for eighth grade, he took Spanish for three years only to return to German in his junior year.

Through the German teachers at T.C., we have opportunities to go out of the classroom and experience German culture and how Germany affects and has affected the world around us. We recently read a book about the relationship between a German and a Jewish family and then went to visit the Holocaust Museum to explore the relationships in a different way,” said Paul.

Paul and Paula, who both hope to live and work in Germany down the road, were among more than 120 T.C. Williams students who took the highly competitive exam with 30 T.C. students.

Congratulations to our gold, silver and bronze winners:

Gold: Virginia Arnold, Maria Areyan Hernandez, Julian Barrett, Riley Butcher, Julie Cizek, Elspeth Collard, Helen Cooper, Isabel Cruz-Rivera, Nicholas Gentry, Delia Hughes, Leslie Lytle, Mia Lunati, Sabine Mead, Paul Ostermann-Healy, Max Penczar, Jeffrey Pizanti, Tucker Stone, Leela Trujillo and Aidan White. Many of these students are now eligible to apply for the AATG study award in Germany.

Silver: Abigail Adams, Alison Bingman, Colin Canady, Eliza Coast, Lena Cromley, Ava Elkins, Stella Grimes, William Jones, Daniela Meaurio, Sanskar Pokharel, Emma Reese, William Rhodes and Zachary Fink.

Bronze: Regina Allen, Max Belmont, Mara Boggess, Akiva Dienstfey, Grason Gardner, Alan Gonzalez-Osorio, Romeo Quini, Tiara Madric, Katharine Mcnabb and Samuel Pierce.

The National German Exam was developed by the American Association Teachers of German (AATG) and is taken by 25,000 high school students nationwide.

ACPS, Alexandria City High School, Awards, Measuring What Matters