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German Club students spread out through the social room to sing with smaller groups of seniors. Pictured Helen Parent (right) admires the jingle bells attached to the hat German St. Croix Central High School exchange student Fabian Hagedorn donned in celebration of the holidays. Virgie Salmon (left) also sang German Christmas carols with Hagedorn and Parent.

Students sing for nursing home residents

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The sounds of Christmas carols being sung drifted through the halls of the St. Croix County Health Center nursing home on Dec. 27. The tunes were familiar but the words weren't quite the usual words, at least not in America.

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Tim Scott, St. Croix Central Middle School exploratory Germany teacher, brought members of the SCCMS German club to the St. Croix County Health Center nursing home for years to sing German Christmas carols with the residents. Scott has been coming to the St. Croix County Health Center nursing home to sing German carols between Christmas and New Years', but this is the first time he's brought middle schoolers along.

"I think it's important to bring the young people in with the older people because they have so much to share," Scott said. "I just think the residents have so much to offer. I want the kids to experience that."

To help the students and seniors share their stories with each other, Scott asked the students to interview the seniors about their Christmas experiences. McKenzie Budrow was surprised to learn one lady she spoke with never believed in Santa Claus growing up

The group sang common songs like "Oh Come All Ye Faithful," which, in German, is "Nun Freut Euch Ihr Christen," "O Tannenbaum," ("Oh Christmas Tree") and a favorite of the residents' "Stille Nacht" or "Silent Night."

SCC Health Center Activity Director Cindy Prokash said she remembers one late resident had the German words to every verse of "Stille Nacht.'

Nursing home resident Grace Bentley said she enjoys the German Christmas carol event, because she has a deep love of music.

"It does something for you," Bentley said. She said music lifts her spirits.

The German Club and German exploratory class are new to St. Croix Central Middle School. Eventually, Scott said he'd like to see SCC High School increase its language offerings--currently Spanish is the only foreign language taught at the high school. The goal of the exploratory course and the club is to give students a taste of the German language and German culture and, hopefully, get them interested in studying a foreign language

The club meets once a week, and in addition to the German Carols, Scott said he brought the German Club to St. Croix County Health Center in the fall for an Oktoberfest event. He said that event went so well, he decided to bring the kids back for Christmas carols. He also brought SCC high school foreign exchange student sophomore Fabian Hagedorn, who comes from Hamburg, Germany.

Scott said he also hopes to be able to do other service projects with the club in the future.

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Gretta Stark
Gretta Stark has been a reporter for the River Falls Journal since July of 2013. She previously worked as a reporter for the New Richmond News from June 2012 to July 2013. She holds a BA in Print and Electronic Media from Wartburg College.
(715) 426-1048
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