After a first round of ‘read offs’ between Forms 7a and 7b, Marc Modes from 7b was chosen to contest the Reading Aloud final of 8th February. A group of five foreign language assistants from Robert Schuman Berufskolleg Essen very kindly agreed to come to serve as the jury. The standard was exceptionally high again which made the young ladies' decisions very difficult, especially in the Years 7 level 2 category (grammar as well as comprehensive schools) in which there were five finalists, the only male student being our 12-year-old Marc. The winner and runner-up were finally chosen after having read aloud one three-minute long excerpt from a novel of their own choice (all of them novels such as Harry Potter, Alice in the Wonderland and other works of fiction) which they had practiced reading at home. Already in this first round all of the young students impressed the audience (about 60 students from year 5, patient and kind and always willing to clap enthusiastically plus the entourage from the various schools who are part of the certified Europe Schools from Essen) with their close to impeccable pronunciation which, I dare say, made some of us wonder if the students were not really native speakers.

We were getting more excited as we reached the second round of the contest in which the five kids were presented an unknown text. Now they were given a short two minutes and all of us supporting our contestant or listening to the "rivals" realised that bespectacled and cool Cosima Stein from Theodor-Heuss-Gymnasium would deliver excellently again. Therefore it came as no surprise when the jury announced that Cosima was the winner and Samuela Enoh from Städtisches Mädchengymnasium Essen-Borbeck the runner-up. In a true manner of sportsmanship everyone acknowledged the incredible skills of these two amazing girls. Marc Modes, Laura Kensy, Chloe Tang finished third which won them a certificate and a little present, which seemed like a bar of chocolate. Frankly speaking all of the five teenagers did outstandingly and it was a privilege to listen to them.

We would like to thank Theodor-Heuss-Gymnasium for organising the 2nd contest of this kind taking over from Grashof Gymnasium in the previous year. The two charming hosts from THG did a great job in supporting and guiding the young contestants, who did not show any signs of nervousness on the enormous stage. To the steady flow of popular songs they were always a pleasant team delighting those who had come to see the contest. During several intervals they were welcoming dancing performances of young and senior students entertaining the audience. One particular show took students and the English teacher from Grashof Gymnasium with huge pride and mesmerised the majority of teen boys and girls in the gym-turned-assembly hall when charming Noemi and her friend from Form 9a danced to one of the songs that were part of Grata in 2016. For everyone to see, the two girls offered a stunning show in their skimpy outfits.

All of the teachers, students and contestants present felt that the Reading Aloud Competition was a worthwhile event which we sincerely hope will flourish in the future and inspire all students of English and those teaching this exceptionally wonderful language.

Emin Memedoski


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