2020 Scholarship Program (Language)

Who is eligible?

Applicants must be all of the following:

  • US Citizen or permanent legal resident
  • Non-native German speaker (has learned German primarily in school in a non-German speaking country or family setting)
  • Member of 2020 graduating class (public or private high school or home school)
  • In the application process to a college or university

What is the process?

  • Applicant and applicant’s German teacher complete all steps in the Rules/Requirements section below by February 15, 2020, at 11:59 p.m.
  • Entries will be screened by selection committees and the highest ranked applicants will be invited to the Final round on Thursday evening, March 26, 2020, at the Saengerbund Haus, 3410 Austin Street, Houston. At that point, applicants will individually converse with judges on a topic chosen by the Houston Saengerbund.
  • Following the Final round, the winners from March 26 will be introduced and formally presented their scholarships at the public Scholarship Concert/Awards event held at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, March 28, 2020, in Cullen Hall on the campus of the University of St. Thomas in Midtown Houston. Scholarship awards range in amount from $1,000 to $1,500.

Where is the venue?

March 26: Houston Saengerbund Haus, 3410 Austin Street, Houston

March 28: Cullen Hall on the campus of Houston's Universty of St. Thomas (Midtown)

General Rules/Requirements

Applicants must:

  1. respond in written German to the question, "If you could visit any location and/or time period in the German-speaking world, what would you choose and why?" The essay should be typed on a computer, doubled-spaced in minimum 12-point font, and it is strongly recommended that the writing be done under the supervision of the student’s German teacher. The only program that should be open on the computer during the writing session should be a word processor such as Microsoft Word. The writing session should be limited to no more than 90 minutes, and the essay should be no longer than 300 words. The student may use a book-form dictionary but no other reference materials. The use of online dictionaries or online translators and the inclusion of any material written by someone other than the student are forbidden. An electronic version of the essay must be given/sent to the German teacher at the end of the writing session.
  2. make a video recording of the student presenting the essay from #1 above. This does not need to be done under the supervision of the German teacher. The presentation does not have to be entirely memorized and the student may refer to the written essay or other notes while making the recording, but the desired result is a polished speech, not a mere reading of the essay. There may be minor differences between the spoken version and the written essay, but the recording should largely follow the written version.
  3. upload the recording from #2 above to YouTube and include the URL in the online application (see #8 below).
  4. provide the German teacher an electronic version (can be scanned from a paper copy) of an official or unofficial transcript that shows courses completed, grades, GPA, and class rank at least through the end of the fall 2019 semester.
  5. provide the German teacher an electronic version (can be scanned from a paper document) of proof of application to the college or university that will be listed on the online application (see #8 below).
  6. provide the German teacher an electronic version (scan) of this completed release
  7. submit items #4, #5, and #6 to the German teacher in plenty of time for the teacher to meet the email deadline of February 15, 2020, at 11:59 p.m.
  8. complete and submit this online application no later than February 15, 2020, at 11:59 p.m.
  9. The college or university listed should be the one the student is most likely to attend or most wants to attend.

If selected as a scholarship winner on March 26, the applicant must further:

  • appear in formal or semi-formal attire at the Scholarship Concert/Awards event to be introduced to the audience and accept the scholarship award on March 28, 2020.
  • invite the Houston Saengerbund to send representatives to their school’s college award event for official presentation of the scholarship.

If you are unable to secure your German teacher’s cooperation as outlined below, you may submit all of the required materials yourself. In this case, you would still have to include a letter of recommendation from your German teacher. Submission of the materials by the student rather than the teacher may be weighed in the overall assessment of your application, especially if the selection committee has any suspicion of plagiarism or computer-translation.

The German teacher must:

  1. supervise as the student writes the competition essay, enforcing the parameters listed in #1 of the student requirements above. (This could be done as an in-class assignment if you have a class of mostly seniors. Although the official time limit is 90 minutes, one class period should be sufficient time to complete the writing task, especially if the students know the prompt ahead of time so that they can put some initial thought into their answers.)
  2. write a letter of recommendation in support of the student’s application.
  3. send all of the following as attachments in one email to scholarship@houstonsaengerbund.org by February 15, 2020, at 11:59 p.m.:
    • essay
    • recommendation letter
    • transcript
    • proof of application to college or university
    • release form
  4. include one of these statements in the body of the email:
    • The student’s essay was written under my supervision and within the required parameters.
    • The student’s essay was not written under my supervision.

If submitting materials for more than one student, teachers are requested to please submit each student’s materials in a separate email.