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WA Ghostwriter

The student news site of Westford Academy

WA Ghostwriter

The student news site of Westford Academy

WA Ghostwriter

Freshman Phoenix Dailey awarded with once in a lifetime German scholarship

Sara Metivier
Scholarship winner Phoenix Dailey poses for a photo in front of the German flag.

When freshman Phoenix Dailey applied for the American Association of Teachers of German (AATG) scholarship to go overseas to Germany this summer, he wasn’t expecting too much from it. Too busy navigating different extracurricular activities as a freshman, the scholarship went to the back of Dailey’s mind. Until, one day, Dailey opened up his computer to find a stray email sitting in his inbox informing him that he had won the scholarship.

Dailey was one out of over 15,000 students that took the National German Exam (NGE) this year, but he was also one of 2,000 students who were able to score within the 90th percentile and be awarded with a gold medal. 

The students that scored in the 90th percentile were presented with an opportunity to apply for a scholarship from the AATG which would take them to Germany for three weeks this summer. However, even with the hundreds of students that submitted an application, only 37 students nationwide were awarded with the scholarship with one of those students being Dailey. His impressive 99th percentile score on the NGE and his high grade average in German class made him the perfect candidate.

Once finding out that he was one of the 2,000 possible candidates for this scholarship, it was a no-brainer to Dailey that he had to apply. The application was a long and hard process including lengthy essay questions, an interview, and a four-hour German exam. During the process, Dailey admitted that he had felt doubt about applying for something that would take him so far away. 

“It was definitely stressful because [the application process] was just so long,” Dailey said. “But [I was] also scared because it’s Germany [and] I’ve never been across the ocean before. So I was like, ‘oh gosh, do I even want to do this?’”

Even with the initial nerves of applying, Dailey’s uneasy feelings quickly subsided when he learned he was accepted. However, even with the excitement of being accepted, Dailey realized the miles that would come between him and his family while he is away.

“I’m excited, but I’m also scared because I’ve never been away from my family for that long,” Dailey said. “And it’s with people that I don’t know, so I’m hoping to make some new friends that could be longer than a three week friendship.”

In this long and hard application process, Dailey had many people behind the scenes rooting for him that have known him since he started his German journey. 

“[Dailey] totally deserves it, I’m very happy for him and proud,” freshman Oliver Holway said.

During their time in Germany, the scholarship winners will be able to experience many different aspects of the country. Each student will be staying with a host family throughout those three weeks. During the weekends, each host family will be able to bring the student that is staying with them on fun adventures that the AATG may not be bringing them to. 

 Monday through Friday, the students will be brought to many different places to sightsee and go on excursions with the AATG. They will be brought to explore nearby cities, museums, monuments, and the big tourist attractions. During the week, they will also be going to school with their host families’ kids, experiencing the German school setting and culture firsthand. 

“I think he’s going to be exposed to so much of Germany […]. It’s so different once you’re actually there and getting to see it firsthand and experience it in your day to day life,” German teacher Ashley Smith said. “Also, the language exposure — hearing actual authentic German spoken all around you every day is going to do phenomenal things for him [and I think] it’s going to help him improve his language.”

In addition to scoring in the 90th percentile or higher on the NGE, the candidates applying for the scholarship also had to have very specific eligibility to apply, such as a minimum of a B average in their German class, and not regularly speak the German language at home. Dailey met all of the requirements and exceeded expectations, making him a standout candidate.

“He’s very much engaged in class [and] I think you can tell he genuinely enjoys and genuinely is interested in German,” Smith said. “It’s one of his passions and that comes across in class. He gets excited about learning new things [and] he’s always eager to participate. So I think that that’s a sign of someone who really, really enjoys German.”

His love for German started three years ago when he was in sixth grade and was able to take all four languages throughout the year to test them out. At the end of sixth grade, he fell in love with German and knew that he wanted to take the language for the remainder of his middle school career. With his older brother and mother also having taken German, it was just another reason to continue to take the language. Over the next two years he was immersed in the language in the classroom and loved attending class each and every day to learn something new about the German language and culture. 

“I really liked my teacher in middle school and so that could have been a big factor [on why I wanted to stick with the language],” Dailey said. “But also, I found the culture really interesting and the language wasn’t like other romantic languages. It’s much different and I find that interesting.”                    

Now that the trip is so close, Dailey is getting ready to absorb as much information on German culture and language that he has yet to learn in the classroom while he is there. 

“I think it’s still surreal that I’m actually going and I don’t think I’ll understand it until I’m actually on the plane and [it’s going to be a] ‘Holy smokes, this is happening’ kind of thing,” Dailey said.

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About the Contributor
Sara Metivier
Sara Metivier, Staff Writer
Hi! My name is Sara Metivier and I am a freshman at WA. I’m excited to be writing and contributing to the Ghostwriter this year since it is my first year being a part of the newspaper. Other than writing I love listening to music, shopping, baking, reading, and hanging out with my friends. I am also on a lacrosse and swim team which I love being a part of. The reason that I joined the Ghostwriter is because I love writing and want to expand my skills and also help contribute to the paper. I am excited to be able to write about things that I love and have interest in this year!

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  • M

    Mom and TravisMay 16, 2024 at 10:36 am

    So proud of you, Phoenix! Being only one of 37 selected nationwide was quite a feat! You’ll love it!!!