Stan Rapiey first participated in German-American Day at McDaniel College as a high school freshman. Now a senior at McDaniel majoring in German, Rapiey credits the annual event with his decision to attend the college and cultivating his interest in German culture.
"Each year I find something new that I like," Rapiey said. "There's not a bad workshop."
McDaniel College hosted nearly 1,100 middle and high school students from 28 schools around the region Tuesday for the 19th annual German-American Day.
Rapiey was one of about 30 McDaniel students helping to coordinate the event.
German American Day, which features workshops and lectures for middle and high school students, is intended to celebrate all things German and introduce prospective students to the McDaniel program.
Now in its 19th year, the event was started by foreign languages professor Mohamed Esa after the local chapter of the American Association of Teachers of German agreed something should be done to promote German studies and build a bridge between middle and high school programs.
German-American Day started with about 200 students from five schools in 1995, but has since grown to include more than 1,000 students in each of the past two years.
"No, never envisioned this," Esa said of the program's growth in recent years.
The event, which always takes place in October to coincide with the national German American Day on Oct. 6, is believed the be the largest such event in the nation, according to Esa.
Esa said the field trip for students is meant to be an opportunity to learn about German speaking countries and have fun, which is the most important part.
"Whatever workshop they choose, it is an educational opportunity for them where they can learn something about German culture," he said.
Students are offered the opportunity to attend one of 17 workshops before a German-flavored lunch and a musical performance to end the day.
Workshops this year included a presentation from Holocaust survivor Rubin Sztajer, lectures on German cinema and music, and hands-on workshops such as the art of cheese making and face painting.
Carroll County schools that participated include Century, Liberty, South Carroll, Westminster, Winters Mill and Manchester Valley high schools, North Carroll Community School and North Carroll Middle School.
Also participating were two schools from Anne Arundel County, five schools from Howard County, four schools from Harford County, two schools from Baltimore County, three schools from Frederick County and one school each from Dorchester and Washington counties. Two schools from Pennsylvania also made the trip.