By Katie Kilbourne, Guest Writer

Editor’s note: The Dunwoody Reporter is supporting the journalism program at Dunwoody High School. Printing costs for the Dec. 14, 2012 edition of Wildcats Today were underwritten by Reporter Newspapers, and our creative and editorial staff assisted the students and their faculty advisers with layout and design. This article is reprinted from the Dec. 14 issue of Wildcats Today.

What would homecoming look like to someone with “fresh eyes”?

Exchange students Tamara Ulrich and Kerstein Schllenberger from Nuremburg, Germany, experienced an American homecoming for the first time Saturday, October 27, 2012, at Dunwoody High School. Both girls stayed with junior Halle Scott and her family for two and a half weeks this October.

Their visit was timed perfectly to al-low them to attend an authentic, American dance. “We don’t have homecoming in Germany,” Schllenberger states. “Instead we have a Fall Ball.” Schllenberger and Ulrich describe their Fall Ball as a much more casual experience. Parents attend the school dance, but no one dresses up or goes with a date.

Left to right, Dunwoody High School junior Halle Scott and German exchange students Tamara Ulrich and Kerstein Schllenberger smile for the camera at the Kemmerlys’ Picture Party before going to the homecoming dance.

First Stop: The Picture Party @ 5:30 p.m.

Ulrich and Schllenberger began the evening at a picture party hosted by Tarra Kemmerly with a group of juniors, friends of Scott.

Ulrich describes the picture party with, “it was confusing because we didn’t want to be in every picture because it isn’t our dance.”

Schllenberger admires the picture-taking aspect with, “when you are American and you attend the dance, it is really cool to have a picture because you have a souvenir that’s pretty and cute.”

After the pictures, dinner was served: lasagna! “I didn’t expect lasagna. … I’m not sure what I expected!” Schllenberger laughs.

What was the biggest difference be-tween this part of the evening in Germany vs. the United States? Ulrich was surprised that the group ate after they got ready. “I expected to eat before we got ready. We usually do this in Germany to avoid spilling any food on our clothes.” That does seem to make more sense, doesn’t it?

Second Stop: The Dance @ 9:00 p.m.

The group arrived at DHS for the dance around 9 p.m. Ulrich “liked how everyone knew certain steps for a particular dance.”

Both girls learned how to “wobble”and “wop” during the dance. “I liked wobbling much more. It was much easier to learn to wobble than to wop,” Schllenberger recalls.

Third Stop: The Afterparty @ 10:30 p.m.

After the dance, the girls attended an afterparty at Katie Kilbourne’s home. Schllenberger acknowledges that the party was similar to parties in Germany, “but American parties seem to be more relaxed and laid back.” Yet she “thought it was funny that after the dance everyone changed into normal clothes. If we did this in Germany, people would think it was weird.”

Did the Evening Meet Expectations?

Both girls recall that they enjoyed the dance. Ulrich observed that the music was similar to the music in Germany, which made the dance enjoyable for her. Schllenberger enjoyed the dance because everyone danced together. In Germany it is abnormal for students of all ages to dance together. The older students typi-cally avoid the younger ones.

Ulrich “expected that the music would be slower at the actual dance and that the guys would come pick up their dates at their houses.”

“Like in the movies,” Schllenberger added.

Scott, their hostess, “really enjoyed getting to see them try to dance.” All three laugh.

Until Next Time

Overall, Scott had “fun getting to know the two girls, because I knew what to expect. I visited Germany last year, so I knew how Germans usually acted.”

She also got to use her language skills as “occasionally when they speak in Ger-man, I can still understand them because I can understand German well.”

Ulrich and Schllenberger returned to Germany the following Friday with a good sense of what American life is like! Perhaps this event will be a one-time ex-perience, but hopefully they will return to Dunwoody in the future. To Schllenberger and Ulrich, come back and see us again!

Auf Wiedersehen!

Katie Kilbourne is a junior and a member of SG