April 28, 1995 in Idaho

Foreign Excursion Language Students Test Their Skills At Annual Festival

By The Spokesman-Review

Students dug deutschmarks, pesos and francs from their pockets Thursday for a chance to hit empty soda cans with air-gun ammo.

It was a twist on foreign language studies that the high school students heartily endorsed.

“This is the best game here,” Lake City High sophomore Allison Gerzina boasted as she waited her turn at Mexi-Shot.

Gerzina’s Spanish class created the carnival game for the Panhandle Association of Foreign Language Teachers’ annual student festival.

Other schools ran dart games and basketball shoots, Twister and map games. The carnival was one of several events at the festival, held at Templin’s Resort.

About 300 North Idaho and Eastern Washington foreign language students participated. Some kids performed skits in French, Spanish or German. Others recited poems, sang or conversed with a teacher.

Wallace High’s German III students performed a Dating Game sketch. Prospective dates were boys dressed as a nun, a prom queen and a hippie.

“Ich bin Moonbeam,” the hippie said shyly as the crowd laughed. Later, the crowd yelled “Nein, nein, nein” or “Ja, ja, ja” as a girl dressed as a boy tried to choose one of the contestants.

The students wrote and practiced their scripts over the past few weeks in their language classes at school, said Joyce Lider, a festival organizer. They were judged on grammar, originality and humor, but competed only against students of the same course level.

“It’s a good chance for students to use their language and see what students at other schools are doing,” said Jerre Coleman, Lake City High French teacher.

Students rubbed their temples as they left the interview room, where they had conversed in their language with a teacher.

“I didn’t understand a thing she said,” one girl moaned, leaning against the wall and sliding until she hit the floor.

Her frustration didn’t last long. An hour of folk dancing interspersed with carnival games left students laughing and attempting to speak three languages at once.

“They really get into it,” Coleman said, smiling. “That’s why we do it.”

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