Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Fayette County Retired Teacher Honored by the Federal Republic of Germany

The Federal Republic of Germany has awarded the Cross of Merit, First Class, to retired Fayette County High German teacher Mechthild Vogt.

She was officially presented with the honor on October1 during a special ceremony at the Georgia Department of Education. Dr. Lutz Goergens, consul general of the Federal Republic of Germany in Atlanta, presided over the presentation.

The Bundesverdienstkreuz (Federal Cross of Merit) is the only general state decoration of the Federal Republic of Germany, between 3,000 and 5,200 awards are given every year in all eight classes.

Vogt taught German at Fayette County High for 30 years, for 20 of them she sponsored a German-American Partnership exchange program with a high school outside of Frankfurt in Hofheim, Germany. Over 500 German students visited Fayette County during that time, making friends with American students and experiencing American culture first hand. She spent many of her summer vacations taking her students to Germany for three weeks for a similar experience with German culture.

In awarding the Cross of Merit, Goergens credited Vogt with helping people from both countries better understand each other.

“Ms. Vogt, there is more understanding and sympathy for Germany in the United States today as a result of your work. And there is more understanding and sympathy for the United States in Germany,” he said.

Vogt looked back on her career with great satisfaction as she summarized her feelings while finishing her remarks.

“If I have done my part to help with the understanding and with friendships between our peoples, then I feel that I have reached my most ambitious goal and that all my work was worth it,” she said.

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