D219 Schools Combine for Oktoberfest Held at North

Niles North culinary students serving on the food line.

By Ella Ilg, Staff Writer

As students were heading home for the weekend, Niles North’s German Club and Culinary Arts students were busy setting up for Oktoberfest. On Friday evening, Niles West and North’s German students and their parents packed into the courtyard at North to eat authentic German food, play games, enter a raffle and dance.

Each class learned a different dance that they performed on North’s stage. Some were traditional German square dances and circle dances, while others like Rock Mi, which German 3 students from West performed, were more modern. However, no songs lacked accordion music. At the tail end of the performance, every German student danced together to Einen Stern, which West German teacher Josef Neumeyer‘s 10-year-old son sang.

“I wanted to dance because I thought it would be a really neat experience, mainly because I’m German,” West sophomore Lorelei Wernecke said. ” I think this is really cool, because we’ve never done this sort of thing before, and it’s really exciting and really immerses you in the whole thing.”

Before the dancing, there was a series of carnival activities that everyone got to play, like bucket ball, soccer, and drawing. Each winner got punches on their ticket, which could be exchanged for raffle tickets. Raffle prizes included FC Bayern München soccer balls, scarves, flags, and for the grand prize, a Bayern München jersey signed by every single team member, worth upwards of $2000. The winner of the jersey was a junior West student Thomas Prieto‘s father, Ramon Prieto.

Neumeyer was able to score the jersey from one of his past students, who now works in the American division of the FC Bayern München team. FC Bayern is a German soccer team that won the 2013 World Cup and won the Intercontinental Cup twice, making a signed jersey extremely valuable.

Aside from the raffle, North’s Culinary Club also made several traditional German foods including German sausage, wiener schnitzel, cucumber salad, huge pretzels, and handmade sauerkraut.

“It was an experience. It was really difficult, dealing with the amount of food we had to make and the limited amount of time. We’ve been cooking all day,” North senior Zack Kartcheske, one of the cooks, said.

Around 300 people attended, including alumni, retired German teachers, German teacher Caroline Adducci, who brought her newborn along, and many students who weren’t taking German at all, but were attracted by the delicious food, German culture, and raffle prizes.

Despite its location at North, many German students from West showed up to join their North counterparts.

“One thing that really strikes me, working at both schools and being a former student myself at Niles West, is the not-so-neighborly feud between North and West. So, I’m especially proud of the groups of students from Niles West who gave up their Friday evening to come here and participate in the dancing and the program,” German teacher and chief Oktoberfest organizer Neumeyer said. “It really speaks volumes [about] how the climate has changed [since] I was a student at West. This goes to show you that students from two different schools can come together and pull off an event like this, and I just think that’s wonderful.”