German exchange student swings for dreams and achievement

German exchange student and junior Theresa Holst presents an exceptional set of skills on the golf course as well as interesting insights on culture between the U.S.A. and her home country, Germany. Her kindness reflects onto her peers as well as her teachers. The gift of venturing to America was given thanks to Academic Year in the United States of America (AYUSA), a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting global learning.

One example of the said reflection would pertain to Holst’s teammate, sophomore Chynna Liu.

“She’s really nice and polite to others. She’s also really good at golf,” Liu said.

Holst has been playing golf for 2 1/2 years. The  High School Sports Association had to approve her transcripts and other formal documents to make sure that her personal information was true and that she was not receiving money to play for the school golf team, so she was unable to play in matches. 

Holst was part of a TGW team in Germany. TGW is a combination of gymnastics, dancing, and track and field.

Holst takes a break from gym to smile for a picture. (Photo: Dela Cruz)

Golf is not the only sport Holst participates in here in the U.S. She is also on a competitive cheerleading team called Envision All Stars.

Holst’s Spanish teacher, Crystal Hayes, has positive remarks regarding Holst.

“She’s genuinely excited to be here and seems to enjoy Citrus County. She’s what most teachers would call a ‘model student’,” said Hayes.

The German school system is completely different from the American school system. Holst mentions that “after fourth grade, German students are separated into three different tracks with different goals.”

The goals of each track differs.

“The highest track’s goal is to go to a college or a university after graduation. The middle track’s goal is to get a good job without having a degree. The goal of the lowest track is to learn the basic education before graduation to be able to raise a family later,” Holst said.

Instead of having different classes with different classmates, German students have every single class with the same students for two or more years. They do not get to choose their classes. They must take specific classes. Electives such as newspaper, yearbook, photography, chorus, etc. are not present as well. Last year, Holst took German, math, English, French, Latin, biology, physics, chemistry, history, art, physical education and music.

Many Lecanto High School students would appreciate this next fact. (Especially ones who dislike how crowded some hallways are.) The students stay in the same room for the whole school day with the exception of science class and physical education. Because each subject requires a different teacher, it is the teachers – not the students – who walk from room to room. Another difference between the two school systems pertains to scheduling. A one week schedule is given instead of an A/B schedule.

When asked about her initial thoughts when coming to America, Holst described it as her biggest dream.

“My picture of America was only created by television and the news. I was interested in learning about the real situation, and I wanted to get to know [the] culture and lifestyle [of Americans],” Holst said. She also described everything being larger in America, except for the ketchup packages at McDonald’s.

Holst prefers several cultural differences of the U.S.A., such the appreciation for academic and athletic hard work and achievement. She has also noted that the ownership of pets is more common in America than Germany. Oh, and she like the peanut butter.

The inclusion of positive American insights, insight on German culture, productivity, and dedication prove Holst to be a valuable member of the girls’ golf team as well as of Lecanto High School.