O’Gorman High School Welcomes Exchange Students From Germany

SIOUX FALLS, S.D.- An exchange program is creating long-lasting friendships between students in Sioux Falls and Germany. The seven-year partnership is bringing new faces to the Sioux Empire this week.

“I still have long ways to go, but I’m slowly getting there,” says O’Gorman Catholic High School Student, Molly Lacasse of her German speaking skills.

O’Gorman High School student Molly Lacasse is still working on improving her German speaking skills, but in a room full of German students, it’s hard not to give it a try.

“Being here is an experience, I improve my English, I hope at least I improve my English,” says German Exchange Student, Brian Karaj with a smile on his face.

Brain Karaj also has the same aspiration to fine-tune a second language. For the next couple of weeks, it’s an endeavor Molly and Brain can share.The pair is getting to know each other through the German American Partnership Program at O’Gorman Catholic High School. 

“I find it fun because you get to share your culture and they share their culture with you,” says Lacasse.

This is the third time Molly’s family has hosted an exchange student.

“You end up with a new friend across the ocean,” says Lacasse.

Before Brian goes back, he’s taking this experience all in. The memories he’s making in South Dakota will stick with him.

“Almost everyone in Germany wants to go to America once because the American dream and stuff like that are simply exciting,” says Karaj.

Dr. Kristen Kuchenbecker first started the program in 2010, she, like Brian, came from Germany with the desire to learn English. Along the way, she became a German teacher at O’Gorman. She says her hope is these students from here and abroad see each other for who they are.

“You look at the world, probably most of the miscommunication is due to cultural lack of understanding. So I think it’s very important to see, that we are really the same and we are really similar,” says O’Gorman Catholic High School German Teacher, Dr. Kristen Kuchenbecker.

The 15 students will be here for three weeks, they will go to their first football game Friday night and will head to the Black Hills Saturday. Before they return to Germany, they will also visit Washington, D.C. O’Gorman high school students will also be going to Germany this summer.


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