News and Updates
Houstonfest Scholarships -
Changes and updates for 2022 including procedures for
State Promo Video Contest
"Texas State German Contest at 40" newsletter
series (full of tips for contest prep and Pass auf!
"Leidenschaft der Aussprache" Pronunciation Contest
Scholarships at State
Promo Video #1 (students from one school tell why they
Video #2 (one student tells why she loves contest)
Tips for Pair Discussion
Arrival at Heights High School
Daily log of changes to
Sat., Jan. 15, 2022, 11:59
p.m.: Houstonfest registration
spreadsheet due for regular price of $10/student (payment does not have
to be mailed until 1/24).
Tue., Jan. 18, 2022, 4:00 p.m.: Registration
pronunciation contest "Leidenschaft der Aussprache" (teachers who submit a
Houstonfest registration by the regular deadline will receive a link to register
for this special contest)
Mon., Jan. 24, 2022, 11:59
p.m.: Houstonfest registration spreadsheet
for late price of $12/student. Deadline to postmark Houstonfest payment.
Wed., Feb. 2, 2022, 8:00 p.m.:
Houstonfest changes (adds,
drops, substitutions) due. After this point, no more changes will be allowed.
Sat., Feb. 5, 2022: Houstonfest
(virtual) - submissions of art and recordings due by 9:00
events conducted live via Zoom
Tue., Feb. 8, 2022, 11:59 p.m.: Remote
Houstonfest judging ends
Fri., Feb. 11, 2022, 4:45 p.m.: Houstonfest
results announced via live-stream (see Results page for a
recording of the awards show)
Wed., Feb. 16, 2022, 11:59 p.m.: State
online registration due for "early bird" price of $10/student (payment does not
have to be mailed until 2/18).
Fri., Feb. 18, 2022, 11:59 p.m.: State online registration due
regular price of
Mary El-Beheri Memorial Scholarship
applications due. Deadline to postmark State payment.
Wed., Feb. 23, 2022, 8:00 p.m.:
Deadline extended: Entries in
promotional video contest
due to State director Jennifer Christianson.
Sat., Feb. 26, 2022:
Annual Texas State German Contest
(virtual) -submissions of art and recordings due by 9:00 a.m., some
events conducted live via Zoom (ask your teacher for the sheet with all the
Tue., Mar. 1, 2022, 11:59 p.m.: Remote State
Sat., Mar. 5, 2022, 11:59 p.m.:
Houstonfest Scholarship applications due. State awards video released.
Fri., Mar. 11, 2022:
Scholarship applications due.
Sat., April 30, 2022:
Gail Cope Teacher Grant applications due.
Changes and Updates for 2022
We had hoped to return to live
contests this year, but in light of the continuing COVID-19 pandemic,
the State Steering Committee voted unanimously on January
4, 2022, to hold the 2022 regional and State contests online, as we
did in 2021. This document contains everything you need to know about how
this year's virtual contests will work:
Procedures for 2022 Virtual Contests
2022 Live Events Schedule
Notes on the
switch to virtual:
Rationale: The omicron variant continues to spread
rapidly. While it may turn out that we'll "turn the corner" and head back in
the right direction pandemic-wise before February 5, it's impossible to
predict that right now and risky to count on it. Because both organizers and
participating schools need time to shift gears to the virtual mode, the
committee felt that the decision had to be made in early January. Some school
districts have already forbidden student field trips, and our usual host
school is in such a district, making it unlikely that we would be allowed to
hold the event there. Even if we could hold the event in person at Heights HS,
there is a good possibility that we could see lots of students, teachers, and
judges having to drop out at the last minute due to illness, quarantine, or
school policy, or that we might have trouble finding enough judges who would
be willing to come in person. Finally, it's simply not wise or responsible to
hold a large gathering at a time when we're still supposed to be
The 2022 version of virtual contest will feature more
events than 2021, including all the drama and music events that were
dropped last year. The difference between last year and this year is
that almost everyone is attending school in person this year, so that the kids
can get together to practice and record the group performances, whereas many
kids were doing online school from home last year, making group performances
nearly impossible. It is up to each school and the individual students
and teachers to maintain safe practices while working on group events (or to
opt not to do them if they feel the risks are too high).
The only events NOT offered in 2022 will be seven
written tests (Advantaged Speaker Test, Culture, Grammar, Listening
Comprehension, Reading Comprehension, Spelling, and Vocabulary) and Scavenger
Poetry/Prose Memory and Poetry/Prose Reading will again be
consolidated into simply "Poetry" and "Prose." The
rationale here is that if we offered a memory category, it would be too hard
to police whether the students were secretly reading cue cards, etc.
Thus, we remove the whole reading vs. memory issue from the equation and
simply ask the students to give the best possible performance of the piece,
whether memorized, read, or some combination (with the understanding, of
course, that a memorized performance will probably be more impressive and
After much debate, the committee decided to offer an
improvised version of Pass auf! this year. It will be very
different from a normal year: one Kahoot! quiz will be offered at 1:00
p.m. on contest day. All Pass auf! participants from all schools
will join a Zoom meeting at that time to receive access to the Kahoot! quiz, and the scores will be tallied
by school to determine the winners. Each entering school may have up to
7 students take the quiz, but only the top 4 scores will count toward the
school's total score. A school may choose to participate with fewer than
4 students, but their chances of winning would be very slim since most
schools' aggregate scores will consist of 4 student scores added together.
There will be no Novice level this year, just "Varsity." The questions
will not come from the main Pass auf! question bank but rather from
this year's special topic (The Three Bs of German Classical Music: Bach,
Beethoven, and Brahms) and from the series of newsletters published recently
by Gail Cope in anticipation of the 40th anniversary of the Texas State German
Contest. These newsletters are all linked on
For most events, students will submit a PDF file to a
Google Form no later than 9:00 a.m. on contest day (February 5 for Houstonfest
and February 26 for State). For the art events, the PDF will
contain pictures of their artwork and other documentation as required.
For Digital Logo Design and Research Paper, the PDF will contain
the logo/paper itself, obviously. For declamation, music,
and drama events as well as Oral Presentation and Video,
the PDF will contain a link to a YouTube or Vimeo video of the performance as
well as supporting documentation such as scripts, sheet music, etc.
Across the board, the rule is that the video submitted must be a single,
continuous take, not various snippets edited together. You can do as
many takes as you want until you're happy with the result, but in the end, you
have to choose just one take to submit. (The one exception to this is
the actual Video category, where editing is always allowed and indeed
The February 5 (regional) and February 26 (state) deadlines will apply for ALL events,
even those events that have been permanently designated as digital events,
which previously were going to be due a week before the contest date.
A handful of events will be conducted "live" on contest
day via Zoom: Timed Writing (which will be expanded to
levels 3 and 4 just for this year) and all the oral tests except
Oral Presentation. Conducting these events via Zoom worked well in 2021. For the events
conducted on Zoom, each student's performance will be recorded and made
available to the judges for later evaluation.
All submissions will be evaluated remotely by judges from
the Saturday afternoon of contest day through the following Tuesday.
Results will be tabulated over the next few days and announced as soon as
possible, no later than the Saturday one week after contest.
Each regional director will collect the regional and State
ribbons, medals, and trophies along with any ordered State T-shirts and
patches for each school and deliver them to each school in early to mid-March.
Teachers must collect and
and Release of Liability form for each student who participates in a
regional contest. The forms of all students participating from each
school must be scanned or otherwise consolidated into ONE document (preferably
PDF) and submitted to the regional contest director before the date of the
using this Google Form. The same document can later be submitted to
the State director prior to the State contest.
Caution: This is NOT the form to upload actual Houstonfest
entries! It is solely for teachers to upload signed consent forms.
The rest of this was posted last fall but is still applicable (slightly edited
The Texas State German Contest will mark its 40th anniversary in
2022! Celebrate, reminisce, and contribute memories in the
Anniversary Facebook Group. Share the link with your current students
and former students. Plans are shaping up for some special observances and
entertainment at the State contest.
Note from director Rustin Buck: I have retired from my position as
German teacher at Clements High School, but I intend to keep directing
Houstonfest for a while, maybe even a long while. I will now be able to
focus all my attention on directing rather than having to split my energies
between directing and leading the Clements contingent. Just remember, when
you email me, use email@example.com,
not my old Fort Bend ISD address.
event Play is dropped from Houstonfest and the Texas State German
Contest. There simply has not been enough participation in recent years to
justify its continuation. Houstonfest usually had a small handful of
plays, although even that has been waning, but the other two regions rarely had
even one. The consensus of the State steering committee was to drop the
The Pass auf! theme for
2022 is The Three Bs of German Classical Music: Bach, Beethoven, Brahms.
The Einzeltanz for 2022 will be the Nussetöter mazurka.
The dance instructions, a link to a video, and the music are now posted under
the rules for the event.
A generous donor is underwriting prize money for a brand-new event this year, a
pronunciation contest called Leidenschaft der Aussprache. The top
five winners will receive prizes of $4000, $3000, $2000, $1000, and $500
!!! Read the
rules and procedures and review the
critique sheet (newly
revised to reflect the online format).
Tweaks were made to the rules and/or critique sheets of four of the art events:
The rules for
Crafts were edited
with the goal of better explaining exactly what a "craft" is.
(applies to Traditional and Non-Traditional), one sentence in the rules was
changed, but it's a fairly big deal: "All visible elements of the
project must be edible, except for the base." Previously, the rule was
that absolutely everything used in the house had to be edible (except the
base). Now, notice the newly-introduced word "visible."
Interpretation: non-edible support elements may now be used to help the
house stand up as long as they cannot be seen (not even through any doors,
windows, etc.). Everything the judges can see must still be edible.
Needlework, hooked rugs are no longer on the list of acceptable
A very small change was made to judging criterion #2 on the
critique sheet for
Permanent designation of some events as "digital events"
even when contest is held in person: There's
absolutely nothing good about COVID. However, the State steering committee
received a lot of feedback from students, teachers, and judges after our online
2021 contests that some aspects of online submission and judging were
actually kind of wonderful. While we want to maintain our contests as
primarily in-person events, a few categories do lend themselves nicely to being
submitted and judged online. Thus, the committee has designated these
seven events to remain online permanently: Digital Logo Design,
Oral Presentation, Photo Essay, Poetry Reading, Prose
Reading, Research Paper, and Video. Of course, we have
since had to move the entire 2022 contest online, but for 2023 and beyond:
having some online
events will give students who have conflicts on contest day more avenues to
participate, will let us continue to use judges who live far away or who can't
or don't want to come to the contest venue on contest day, and will make contest
day slightly less hectic with some events already "in the can." Some
judges may even be willing to do double duty and judge both an online and a live
event. In non-pandemic years, online entries will be due one week prior to contest day,
but for 2022, they will be due on contest day just like all the other events. Judging will occur during the
ensuing week, and the results will be announced along with all the other events
at the awards ceremony on contest day. For those familiar with how we did
contest in 2021, the procedures remain pretty much the same. See the
rules of each event for details, but here is also a
of the rules of all 7 digital events in one document. Here are a few thoughts about
taking/keeping these events digital:
Digital Logo Design: The main difference here
is that (in future years) the design will be due one week earlier than usual. The upside
is that we can dispense with USB drives, manila envelopes, etc.
Oral Presentation: The participation numbers
for this relatively new event are still lower than we'd like to see.
Perhaps more students will be willing to try this if they can do multiple
takes until they get the presentation just right, without the intimidation
factor of having to do it live in front of several adult strangers. On
the other hand, they'll have one less week to prepare (in future years), so get started early!
Photo Essay: We expect most students will opt
to organize their photos and captions in Google Slides, Microsoft PowerPoint,
etc. (before converting to a PDF), but if they really want to do it old-school
and paste photos and captions on a poster board, they still can; they'll just
have to take and upload pictures of the pictures on the poster board.
Poetry and Prose Reading: In 2021, we offered
simply "Poetry" and "Prose" without the usual memory and reading divisions,
because we didn't want to deal with potential cheating in the memory category
(students claiming to be reciting a piece from memory in their videos when
they were secretly reading it). So we simply said: "Read it or
memorize it, we don't care -- just make it entertaining." Going forward,
we'll continue to have Poetry Memory and Prose Memory live on contest day
(when we finally return to in-person contests), but
as we discovered last year, the reading events work quite well through video
submission, and there's no way to cheat, because you're ALLOWED, indeed
SUPPOSED to read. This does change the nature of the events somewhat,
because now, the students can do many takes until they get it just the way
they want it, as opposed to the one shot they used to get on contest day, but
that's probably a good thing. They're more likely to turn in a polished
performance this way, which makes judging more pleasant and the experience
more positive for the students, especially those who might be shy about
reading in front of strangers.
Research Paper: As with digital logo, it's due
one week earlier (in future years), but we no longer have to hassle with paper copies, USB
drives, envelopes, etc.
Video: Submitting the videos online changes
nothing about the essence of the contest; it just moves the deadline up one
week (in future years). Get. Started. In. The. Fall!
Also sticking around from 2021's digital contest will be the
use of Google Forms to sign up judges for Houstonfest and State and the
requirement for the students to fill out a Google Form for most if not all of
their events to facilitate the generation of judging spreadsheets.
When is the next Houstonfest?
February 4, 2023
Heights High School in Houston
Link to Texas State German Contest
State German Contest on Facebook
State German Contest 40th Anniversary Facebook Group