The Deutscher Sprach- und Schulverein (DSSV) or German Language and School Society of Wisconsin, Inc. was founded in Milwaukee on June 9, 1956. The Society’s primary goal is “to promote and stimulate interest in and understanding of the German language and culture, by means of an annual German Essay contest.”
The DSSV is chartered as a non-political, non-religious, and non-profit educational organization under the laws of the state of Wisconsin.
Annual German Language Test and Essay Contest
The contest is open to students of all public and private high schools in the State of Wisconsin who are currently enrolled in a German language course and is held annually in December and January.
All 2nd through 4th year high school German students are eligible to participate in AATG National German Language Exam. The AATG (American Association of Teachers of German) awards medals and vacation/study trips to Germany to students who qualify. In addition, the DSSV awards books and cash prizes to Wisconsin students who demonstrate exceptional German language ability on the AATG German Language Test.
The DSSV Essay Contest is held annually in conjunction with the AATG German Language Test. Essay topics are announced at the time of the essay and students are then given 30 minutes to write a brief essay in German. Essays are evaluated on content and grammar. For a listing of essay topics that have been assigned in previous years, click this Essay Topics link.
Third and Fourth year Wisconsin German Students are eligible to compete in the DSSV Essay Contest. The DSSV grand prize is a 4 week trip to Germany and a cash award. In most years the AATG is also able to award t second study trip to German. The DSSV also awards additional cash prizes of up to $500 to the runners-up for their essays.
A joint DSSV and Wisconsin AATG Chapter Award Ceremony is held every year on the first Sunday in May in the Marquette University High School auditorium. On that day the DSSV and AATG trips to Germany are awarded. The Wisconsin German teacher of the year is recognized with the AATG Duden Award along with a cash award from the DSSV. DSSV award certificates, cash and book awards are presented to winners. Students and their teachers are encouraged to attend this event and be recognized for their accomplishments.
In 2012, the DSSV in conjunction with the AATG awarded two study trips to Germany, books and over $8,000 in cash awards to 2011 – 2012 contest winners.
The DSSV has sponsored this annual essay contest for over 57 years. In the 2011 – 2012 contest, over 735 Wisconsin students took the AATG German Language Test and close to 400 Essays were submitted by Wisconsin students. During the last 57 years:
- 33,585 students have participated in these contests.
- 8,381 awards have been presented for outstanding achievement in German.
- 86 four-week DSSV Grand Prize Study Trips to Germany have been awarded in addition to the AATG Study Trip awards.
- Winning students have received over 7,850 books.
- More than $275,000 has been raised to fund trips, scholarships, cash awards and contest expenses.