HENDERSON, Ky. (WEHT) – Eyewitness News interviewed a teacher with the Warrick County School Corporation about what German language classes mean for the Tri-State.

We interviewed James Hudson, who teaches German at Castle High School.

How long have you taught German?

Hudson tells us he’s been teaching for 27 total years, 23 of which at Castle High School. Hudson noted he also taught English for two years in Germany.

Have there been any changes in the number of students learning German during your time teaching?

Hudson says he usually has between 95-120 students in his German classes.

Have students ever given a reason as to why they chose German over another foreign language?

Hudson tells us, “My story is similar to many of my students who can trace their ancestry back to Germany. My mother’s side is German and my grandmother taught me some German as a kid on the farm. My grandmother’s first teaching job was outside of Jasper because she could speak English. It was during the period between the World Wars when everybody there was supposed to speak English instead of German. She always laughed about that, because she spoke only English at school, but as soon as school finished, they spoke German the rest of the day. I have students who still have relatives who speak German at home. One can also see it in their last names as well as their first names such as Mieke, Augustus and Hans.”

Have you ever attended any of the German-themed events in the Tri-State? If so, which ones? 

Hudson tells us he has attended Strassenfest and Kunstfest in New Harmony.

Anything you would like to add?

Hudson says, “I think all of the German high school programs in our area benefit from our German heritage. We live in the German triangle which is the area from Cincinnati, to St. Louis and up to Milwaukee, but obviously there are many settlements outside of that area.”

Hudson told us about the field trips he takes his students on. “I sometimes think our students don’t realize the historical context of German heritage in our area, so I take my students on a field trip to Tell City to learn about it’s Swiss settlers, Ferdinand and it’s Austrians roots and Jasper with it’s German heritage. If I had more time I would include West Baden and New Harmony. I’m sure anyone going to Dewigs Meats in Haubstadt has seen the sign declaring itself a German-American community.”

Hudson says his hope is that schools can continue to expose students to the language and heritage of the area. He tells us he is equally happy that USI has a strong German program that allows students to continue their German studies. Hudson noted USI offers an exchange with Osnabrück, Germany and each year they offer a World Language Quiz Bowl in various languages.

Hudson says, “I was lucky to take 13 students to Germany, Austria and Switzerland this Summer. Such a trip is more meaningful when students have acquired a linguistic and cultural proficiency. Learning a World Language is the key to another world.”