Welcome to the official website for Memorial High School’s (MHS) German American Partnership Program (GAPP). My name is Kerri Patton, otherwise known as Frau Patton, Frau P and/or Frau, and I am the fearless GAPP coordinator at MHS. I’m also the only German instructor there, having moved into the realm of education in 2009 after working as a project coordinator and report writer for a global leadership development firm in Minneapolis, MN. Prior to this, I taught English in a German prep school on a Fulbright scholarship, and I also worked in technology. Though my background spans many fields, I can honestly say that the GAPP exchange is where my heart is!
On the home front, I spend my time with my husband Bradford (Brad) with whom I’ve been married since 2006 (Jane Austen’s birthday, to be precise). Together, we are the proud parents of two beautiful daughters: Olivia (5) and Elise (3.5), both of whom were born with heart defects. Olivia’s, being more severe than Elise’s, required open-heart surgery when she was a mere three-days old. Talk about a harrowing pregnancy! Thankfully, via a successful arterial switch procedure conducted by an enormously talented pediatric heart surgeon at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN, she was able to come home with us just 12 days post surgery, and she’s been going strong ever since. She requires yearly echo-cardiograms – and will forevermore – but so far, aside from an arterial stenosis that is there as a result of the surgery, she’s doing just fine. Elise’s defects (two holes in her heart) healed themselves with time, and she is catching up to Olivia in both height and “output of sound” (who knew little girls could be so loud?!). We could not be more blessed by two little munchkins than these.
On the animal front, we share our home with Sneak, a 2ish-year old black cat who’s full of spritely mischief, and until very recently, our lovely black lab Violet, who passed away on June 29, 2017. She will forever remain the best misfit pup we were crazy enough to adopt and adventure with over the past 10.5 years. She is sorely missed.
Back to the topic of work, namely the GAPP exchange: I have been coordinating MHS’ bi-annual exchange with the Gustav-Heinemann Schule (GHS) in Rüsselsheim, Deutschland, since 2010. The exchange officially began in 1993 when Neal Fleming, the former German teacher at MHS, and Uschi Bauer, a former English teacher at GHS, formed an international friendship on the basis of fostering educational visits between their respective students.
Over the years, the MHS-GHS GAPP exchange has grown and changed with the times, including switching hands when the beloved founders retired and my GAPP counterpart Maren Unruh and I gladly picked up the reigns. It remains, however, a powerful avenue by which to expand intercultural understanding, promote language learning, and catalyze long-lasting, international friendships. What’s not to love about that?!
Why the Website?
This purpose of this blog is twofold:
1: I intend the blog to serve as a resource regarding all things GAPP.
2: The blog will be a catalog of MHS-GAPP’s international adventures, so one and all can experience our proud program at its finest.
Fall into the GAPP!