News and Updates


NEW: Changes and updates for 2025


Houstonfest Scholarships: Winners Announced


Scholarships at State


NEW: Houstonfest history


Contest promo video #1 (students from one school tell why they love contest)


Contest promo video #2 (one student tells why she loves contest)


State promo video contest


Teacher-to-teacher tips


Tips for Pair Discussion


Arrival at Kingwood High School


Lunch options

Photo gallery


Daily log of changes to State-qualifier list


Important Dates


on a rolling basis but no later than Wed., Apr. 30, 2025 for payment during the 2024-2025 school year: submit Gail Cope Teacher Grant applications.


Mon. Jan. 13, 2025, 4:00 p.m.: (IF THEY ARE OFFERED AT ALL) Application for transportation grants from the Houston Saengerbund opens (teachers will be sent a link to a Google Form).


Tue., Jan. 21, 2025, 11:59 p.m.Houstonfest registration spreadsheet due for regular price of $12/student (payment does not have to be mailed until 1/27).


Mon., Jan. 27, 2025, 11:59 p.m.Houstonfest registration spreadsheet due for late price of $15/student. Deadline to postmark Houstonfest payment.


Sat., Feb. 1, 2025, 9:00 a.m.: Submission of entries in the 7 virtual Houstonfest events due (get link to Google Form from your teacher).


Tue., Feb. 4, 2025, 11:59 p.m.: Remote judging of the 7 virtual Houstonfest events ends.


Wed., Feb. 5, 2025, 10:00 p.m.Houstonfest changes (adds, drops, substitutions) due. After this point, no more changes will be allowed.


Sat., Feb. 8, 2025 Houstonfest, Kingwood High School, Houston.


Fri., Feb. 14, 2025, 11:59 p.m.State online registration due for "early bird" price of $12/student (payment does not have to be mailed until 2/19).


Wed., Feb. 19, 2025, 11:59 p.m.State online registration due for regular price of $15/student. Deadline to postmark your State payment.


Sat., Feb. 22, 2025, 9:00 a.m.: Submission of entries in the 7 virtual State events due (get the link to a Google Form from your teacher). Also, Mary El-Beheri Memorial Scholarship and Sandra Dieckman GTHS Memorial Scholarship applications due (to submit the application, get the link to a Google Form from your teacher).


Mon., Feb. 24, 2025, 8:00 p.m.: Entries in State promotional video contest due to State director.


Tue., Feb. 25, 2025, 11:59 p.m.: Remote judging of the 7 virtual State events ends.


Sat., Mar. 1, 2025 Texas State German Contest, Texas State University, San Marcos.


Sat., Mar. 8, 2025, 11:59 p.m.Houstonfest Scholarship applications due.


x., Mar. x, 2025Gail Cope State Scholarship applications due.





Main Rules Page Arts Declamation Drama Music
Oral Tests Pass auf! Research Paper Scavenger Hunt Written Tests


Advantaged Speakers




All rules in one document


Rules for the 7 virtual events in one document


Show your love for the Texas German contest system by producing a promotional video and entering our contest. You could win $250! Click here for the contest guidelines.


General rules:

  • Only German teachers may register students for Houstonfest; we do not accept registration from individual students.

  • Any German teacher who registers one or more contestants must attend Houstonfest and serve as a judge (unless the director grants an exemption, which will be done only in extremely extraordinary situations).

  • Teachers should follow their school district's policy regarding students' academic eligibility to participate in contests.
  • Each contestant...

    • must be in grade 7*, 8, 9, 10, 11, or 12 ( * 7th-graders may enter if they are enrolled in a course that earns them credit for German I by the end of 7th grade, i.e., they will move on to German II in 8th grade; students who are taking German 1a in 7th grade and will continue to German 1b in 8th grade should wait until their 8th-grade year to start entering contest);

    • must be a student at a school where the registering teacher works;

    • must be currently enrolled in a German course at that school, or if not, must have previously completed at least 2 years of German instruction AND be a current member of that school's German Club or German NHS. There are 2 exceptions to this:  A Classical Ensemble may contain 1 "wild-card" student who is not currently taking and has not previously taken German. A Polka Band may contain up to 2 such "wild-card" students. "Wild-card" entries are allowed only in these 2 events.

      • The spirit of the foregoing rule is to prevent a school from stacking its entries with "mercenary" artists, dancers, musicians, writers, etc. who have no real connection to the school's German program in order to bolster the team's entries, but we're willing to allow a little outside help to make a Classical Ensemble or a Polka Band more viable. Additionally, we do not want to exclude the occasional student who loves German and who took 2 or 3 years of it and who wants to continue participating in Houstonfest but who, for whatever reason, is not currently taking German. Please note, however, that any contestant not currently enrolled in a German course should be entered in the level they would be in if they had continued taking German. For example, if John stops taking German after completing German III but still wants to enter Houstonfest the next year, he should be entered in Level 4 events.

  • In a given year, a student must be entered in the same level for all events, with the exception of drama events (Duet Acting, Puppet Show, Skit - see example 3 below). If a student competes above their enrolled level of German in a given year, they must continue to compete "up the ladder" each subsequent year. Once a student competes in any event at the Advantaged level, they must compete as Advantaged in all events for that year and all subsequent years.
    • Rationale: Generally, we strongly discourage entering students in any level of an event other than the level of German they are currently enrolled in, and we discourage entering students in Advantaged events if they are not truly Advantaged. If a teacher nevertheless elects to enter a student at a level higher than their true level, long-term consequences ensue:

    • Example 1 ("up-entering" from Level 1 to Level 2): Joe is enrolled in German I. For whatever reason, the teacher wants to enter him in Grammar 2 this year instead of Grammar 1. This means that he must enter ALL events at level 2 this year, not just Grammar, and next year, he must enter ALL events at level 3 (even though he'll be in German II), and the year after that, he must enter ALL events at level 4 (even through he'll be in German III), etc. (Of course, art events, music events, and research paper are not leveled, so Joe's ability to enter those events this year and in subsequent years is not affected by this rule.) This is a lot for Joe and his teacher to keep track of from year to year, which is why we discourage it.

    • Example 2 ("up-entering" to the Advantaged Level): Sally is enrolled in German III and is not really an Advantaged Speaker, but for whatever reason, the teacher wants to enter her in Prose Memory Advantaged this year. This means that, this year and in all subsequent years, she may enter ONLY events that Advantaged students are allowed to enter. She may not, for instance, enter Culture 3, Duet Acting Upper Level, or Sight Reading 3 this year. She is, in effect, now an Advantaged Speaker and excluded from all non-advantaged events from now on. (Of course, Advantaged Speakers are allowed to enter a number of non-language-based cultural events, so her ability to enter those events this year and in subsequent years is not affected by this rule.)

    • Example 3 (illustrating the "drama exception"): Henry is enrolled in German II this year and plans to enter Directed Dialogue 2, Poetry Reading 2, and Vocabulary 2 (i.e., he plans to enter events at his enrolled level, Level 2). However, the group that is trying to pull together a Level 3 Skit is desperate for 1 more cast member and absolutely no one else in the German III class is willing to join the cast, so they ask Henry to join their skit. Additionally, a German III student who desperately wants to enter Duet Acting Upper Level can't find a partner in the German III class or the German IV class, so she asks Henry to partner with her. Henry may participate in the Level 3 Skit and the Upper Level Duet Acting entry this year in order to help fill out those events with no consequences for the other events that he is allowed to enter this year (he can still enter everything else at his true level, Level 2) or in subsequent years (next year, when he's in German III, he can enter everything at Level 3, including even Skit 3 and Duet Acting Upper Level, the things in which he "up-entered" this year, provided of course that next year's Skit and Duet Acting scripts are different from the ones he performed this year). We didn't use Puppet Show in the specific examples, but the same principle applies to Puppet Show as well. The rationale here is that we want to do everything possible to promote drama entries. Note, however, that "down-entering" is never allowed, e.g., a German II student would not be allowed to join a Level 1 Skit to help fill out the cast.

  • All participants in Houstonfest are responsible for taking care of and keeping up with their own belongings. Neither the host school (Kingwood High School), its German teacher David Kniess, Houstonfest, Houstonfest director Rustin Buck, the Houstonfest steering committee, nor the umbrella organization Texas State German Contests, Inc. is responsible for items lost or left behind at the contest, especially including art entries not claimed at the end of the contest day.

  • For liability reasons, video recordings are not allowed in any room where students are competing or performing. If parents and/or teachers wish to record a performance, they should plan on doing it during a rehearsal or performance at their respective school.
The contest director may assign a designated contest photographer to take pictures or video footage throughout contest for informational or publicity purposes. This will be immediately submitted to the director on contest day. No student faces may be used from this footage.

However, the contest director will accept video segments as well as still photos from individual schools after contest has occurred (to be used for promotional purposes, e.g., on the website). By submitting these, teachers give permission for Houstonfest and Texas State German Contests, Inc. to use them for informational or publicity purposes. Before submitting such photos/videos, teachers must make sure that students have permission forms on file at their school allowing for photos/videos to be used on the website.

When is the next Houstonfest?



February 8, 2025


Where is Houstonfest?


Kingwood High School

2701 Kingwood Dr.

Kingwood, TX 77339

(new location in 2025!)


Link to Texas State German Contest


Texas State German Contest on Facebook


Texas State German Contest 40th Anniversary Facebook Group