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Maynard Jackson High School Hosts German Exchange Students

By Melanie Regnier
A partnership between Maynard Jackson High School and the Sigmund-Schuckert-Gymnasium in Nuremburg resulted in the arrival of 13 German high school students at Hartsfield-Jackson airport in October. Their 10-day visit was made possible with the support and collaboration of the Maynard Jackson Youth Foundation, the National Center for Civil and Human Rights, and the Atlanta Sister Cities Commission. During their visit, the German students stayed with host families, worked with Maynard Jackson students on a human rights project, and toured Atlanta. Alexandra Elliott, history teacher at Maynard Jackson, coordinated the program for the students and host families.
The German students followed a busy schedule, which included visits to the Martin Luther King Jr. Center, Ebenezer Baptist Church, Emory University, and downtown Atlanta. Their human rights project focused on human trafficking in Atlanta and beyond. The project culminated in a presentation by all of the students at the National Center for Civil and Human Rights. The host families, Jackson High School faculty, and community leaders attended the presentation. “It was amazing how this program brought the community together to see that the world needs to be more aware of this issue,” said Candace Dixon, whose family hosted one of the students. ”This whole experience was just phenomenal.”
While staying with their host families, the students got an authentic taste of family life, sharing meals, social outings and Halloween activities. “It’s amazing how quickly we found a rapport with our student,” said Kimberly Currier, Jackson High School parent. “We got to know him well and I found myself a proud exchange parent as he made his presentation of the human rights project. I think it surprised my sons how similar he was to them. They were from a much different city, and from very far away, but they shared fashion sense, music tastes, attitudes, and beliefs. We didn’t learn how different we were, but how similar we were, which is a great human experience.”
The partnership between the schools will continue. Plans are underway for a group of students from Jackson High School to visit Nuremberg in June.

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