SISTER CITIES OF JASPER ACTIVITIES
Twenty students from the Staufen Gymnasium in Staufen, Germany, participated in the student exchange program at Jasper High School during the month of October. This exchange continues a very successful relationship with people in Jasper's Sister City in Pfaffenweiler, Germany and further expands the number of person to person friendships which have been formed over the past 14 years.
The Train Depot at Jasper
- The Strassenfest continues to grow each year. This year a group of 50 Pfaffenweiler area residents visited Jasper for this festival. The group included members of their Stone Carvers Group as well as members of an Alpine Horn Players Group in Pfaffenweiler. Activities during the fest showcased the talents of these two groups through scheduled performances at various times and places during the fest. Special emphasis was made to highlight the stone carving talents of many of Jasper's immigrants from the Pfaffenweiler area by commemorating the 150 year anniversary of the Baumann Cross located on the east side of St. Joseph Church. This cross was erected by the immigrants upon their safe arrival in Jasper in 1847.
- A monthly Stammtisch has been started in Jasper. People who are interested in practicing their German language skills are free to congregate at the Schnitzelbank Restaurant at 7:00 PM on the last Tuesday of each month. There is no formal group or agenda -- only a place where people can come together for an evening of "solving the world's problems"!
- One German student from Pfaffenweiler, Simone Hoferer, participated in a work/study program to Jasper this year. Her work experience was at Kimball Lodging where she gained experience in Jasper's woodworking industry. She stayed with Janet and Dave Kluemper.
- The City of Jasper formed the Jasper Partnership Commission in 1997. The primary objective of this commission is to provide for a focal point of all of the various Sister City related activities and to strengthen communications with the people in Pfaffenweiler at the community-to-community level. JPC 1998 activities culminated with the arrival of the Pfaffenweiler group for this year's Strassenfest. The group included their Buergermeister, Fritz Gutgsell, and town councilman, Albert Keller. The JPC undertook the first formal meeting between the leaders of the two Sister Cities and their respective representatives. The first meeting was very successful and it soon became apparent that there was much information to share with one another. After nearly three hours of discussions, a decision was reached to adjourn and a second meeting scheduled one week later before the group would return to Pfaffenweiler. Many topics were discussed including preliminary plans for a formal invitation for a Jasper group to visit Pfaffenweiler in the year 2000 to celebrate the 15th anniversary of this Sister City relationship.
- Jasper resident, Matthias Hilger (a native of Pfaffenweiler), has been receiving email copies of the weekly Pfaffenweiler newsletter. An impressive email distribution list in the Jasper area for this newsletter has been accumulated. Matthias also continues to write articles of general interest and publishes these bi-weekly in our local newspaper, The Herald. These articles describe various news events, historical events or stories, or cultural differences and similarities between the two communities. He also receives articles from his father, Franz Hilger, which Matthias translates into English (our Jasper High School German Teacher, Mary Jo Meuser, also helps Matthias behind the scene) which are also published in this bi-weekly article. Interestingly, the focus of these articles is changing from primarily historical in nature to currently being more news related, i.e. the focus has shifted to reporting daily activities in the lives of Pfaffenweiler citizens.
- The JPC approached our local newspaper, The Herald, in 1997 about providing copies of our daily newspaper to a representative of the people of Pfaffenweiler. The newspaper continues to send copies (on a weekly basis) of each issue of the paper to Buergermeister Fritz Gutgsell in Pfaffenweiler. This action helps to keep the people of Pfaffenweiler apprised of daily events in the lives of Jasper's citizens.
- The JPC invited the local school Superintendent, school board President, and the Jasper High School Principal to one of its meetings to discuss preliminary plans to replace retiring German language teacher, Mary Jo Meuser. All agreed that a major challenge exists to find the right person who can replace Mary Jo. Discussion also focused on the importance of maintaining a strong foreign language program at the high school (or earlier) level.
- The biennial solicitation for donations for JHS student travel to Staufen and Poessneck was significantly increased this year. In excess of 600 letters (vs approx. 50 in 1996) were mailed to local businesses/foundations in October. Although all contributions have not yet been received, funds received to date exceed total funds received in 1996 by more than 10%.
- Finally, the friendships, visits, letters, and phone calls between residents of Pfaffenweiler and Jasper are too numerous to enumerate. The level of interaction continues to grow as the number of new acquaintances and friendships increase with each passing year.