The Student News Site of University of Chicago Laboratory High School

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The Student News Site of University of Chicago Laboratory High School

U-High Midway

The Student News Site of University of Chicago Laboratory High School

U-High Midway

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U-High students protest German language program cuts

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Miles Wilczak
U-High students, some of whom are enrolled in a German language class and some of whom are not, protest in the cafeteria during lunch on May 10.

Chants of “save the German program” rang out through the halls of U-High during lunch on May 10, as a group of about two dozen students gathered to express their frustration at the news that the German language program will be phased out by 2028. 

The students held signs that had messages including “Don’t shut down our program” written in the black, red and gold colors of the German flag. They gathered in Café Lab and then walked to Director of Schools Tori Jueds’ office, where they chanted phrases like “Education is power, German we empower.” They then walked through U-High, with dozens of middle school students, who will also be impacted by the budget cuts, joining the group in support of their message as well. The students involved in the protest did not talk to any administrators.

Junior Isolde Wedemeyer has been involved in the German language program for nine years and felt extremely upset at the recent news. With the help of her friends who also participate in the program, she co-organized the protest to try to ensure their voices are heard.

“I’m very passionate about this program and we’re all very angry and hurt. We organized this protest to bring awareness to this issue and hopefully start a movement,” Isolde said.

Though the protest was organized by students who take German, other students who were not directly involved in the program, like Sinéad Nagubadi, chose to join the protest to stand in solidarity with those directly impacted by this news.

“I’ve just seen this issue really affect our student body. It really frustrates me and makes me incredibly angry, especially being on Student Council, when the whole reason I joined was to notice prevalent issues and fix them,” Sinéad said. “I didn’t want to stand by and not do anything when this is so devastating to so many people.”

Sophomore Carolyn Payne joined the protest to support her friends who participate in the program. 

“I think it’s completely unfair because the faculty are incredibly well trained and they give the students an amazing idea of how to speak German,” Carolyn said. “I think it shows that we don’t put what our students want first.”

German teacher Susanne Pralle was touched by the students’ passion for the program.

“I’m so proud of my students, and I’m glad that they feel that they are in a community where they can make their voices heard,” Ms. Pralle said. “I feel that the German program has been a community for them and they feel heard there.”

Additional reporting by Lila Coyne, Light Dohrn and Tinson Xu

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About the Contributors
Mia Lipson
Mia Lipson, News Editor
Mia Lipson is a member of the Class of 2025 and serves as news editor. She began journalism in the 2021-22 school year as a ninth grader and previously served as an assistant editor. Her favorite story she has written is a profile on retiring P.E. teacher Terri Greene. Outside of journalism, she enjoys running, writing and reading any history book she can find. Awards: 2024 Scholastic Press Association of Chicago, staff editorial: superior 2023 Journalism Education Association National Student Media Contests, San Francisco convention: Superior, editorial writing
Miles Wilczak
Miles Wilczak, Photographer
Miles Wilczak is a beginning photojournalist and a member of the Class of 2026. His favorite part of photojournalism is the creative freedom. Outside of class, Miles likes to go to concerts, watch movies and hang out with friends.

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