Teaching German earns VCS educator European scholarship

Viera Charter School German teacher Courtney Lee, center, is surrounded by students Leah Potter, top left, Avery Schepp, Olivia Murray, Lucy Presecan, Emma Collins, Sam Starr and Liliana Fix; and Aidan Cardona, bottom left, Drew Huffman, Reese Rhoads, Edwin Martin and Jace Dulmage.

When Courtney Lee decided to introduce German to middle school students, she never imagined that the decision would lead her back to the country where she first learned the language. 

Lee, a World Languages teacher at Viera Charter School, is the winner of the Goethe Institute’s 2020 Professional Development Scholarship for teachers of German. Lee will spend two weeks studying German language and culture at one of the 16 Goethe Institutes in Germany. 

"As a first-year language teacher, I am incredibly grateful that Viera Charter School has such a dedicated and supportive World Language department," said Lee, who has taught a variety of subjects for many years. 

"We have been consistently supported by the administration as we seek out new professional development opportunities. This continued professional development supports the VCS World Language department vision of becoming the best World Language department in the state of Florida."

Students brim with excitement when talking of why they picked the elective. 

"Last year, Frau (Mrs.) Alfonzo taught us German and I fell in love with it," sixth-grader Olivia Murray said of the German language that was taught as an elementary school weekly activity. 

Another beginning German student, Drew Huffman, said, "having friends in class while learning German" made the class fun, makes him better at it and more willing to try speaking it frequently. That enthusiasm fuels Lee’s teaching energies.

"I enjoy the passion and excitement that middle school students naturally possess," Lee said. "They enjoy learning and every day is a new adventure." 

In addition to German, Viera Charter School offers high school level credit courses in Spanish to its middle school students. Spanish will be a mandatory weekly activity for kindergarten through fifth- grade students this fall. 

For more information about Viera Charter School, go to vieracharterschool.com or call 321-541-1434. 

Note: Edwin Martin is a student writer from Viera Charter School.