BMW Manufacturing Lends Financial Support to Local High School Students Headed to Germany to Exchange Ideas
Students from Blue Ridge High School in Greer flew out of Greenville-Spartanburg International Airport this afternoon to rendezvous with students from Karl-Friedrich-Schinkel-Gymnasium in Neuruppin, Germany, as part of a German/American exchange program that began between Brandenburg, Germany and Upstate South Carolina in 1993.
The German/American exchange began as part of “The Brandenburg Project” initiated by the late Governor Carroll Campbell as a cultural, educational, agricultural and leadership program meant to exchange ideas between South Carolina and the state of Brandenburg, Germany after the Berlin Wall came down and East Germany opened it doors to the western world. Each year, different area schools participate in the program.
Since its inception, the friendship between the two areas has blossomed. Upstate students stay with German families and attend school with their hosts. The same occurs when German students visit South Carolina. Over the past decade, students from the small town of Neuruppin, located northwest of Berlin, and students from Blue Ridge have visited with each other and built friendships through independent visits, phone calls, letters and email. BMW Manufacturing has supported the exchange program financially since it began.
“Emphasis on experiences such as the Blue Ridge High German Exchange Program greatly reinforces the importance of cultural education for students,” said Max Metcalf, BMW Manufacturing’s assistant manager for community relations. “BMW Manufacturing praises educators who work hard to organize opportunities such as these. For several years, BMW Manufacturing has supported efforts by Upstate high schools to participate in exchange programs and we are pleased to support Blue Ridge High School.”
“This is my third time staying with Christiane, the teacher we’re exchanging with,” said Theresa Merck, a chaperone and media specialist at Blue Ridge High School. “We are all excited about seeing friends we’ve made over the years, and seeing the country again.”
“I’m really interested in learning more about the German culture and seeing what it’s like outside America,” said Andrew Weidman, a senior who has taken four years of German. “I’m excited about getting to meet the people we’ve spoken with through email,” said Amy Matsumoto, a senior.
BMW Manufacturing Co., a subsidiary of the BMW Group based in Munich, Germany, is the exclusive manufacturer of the Z4 and M Roadster, Z4 and M Coupe in addition to the X5 Sports Activity Vehicle. Its website address is www.bmwusfactory.com. In addition to the South Carolina manufacturing facility, BMW’s North American subsidiaries include sales, marketing and financial services operations in the United States, Canada and throughout Latin America, and a design firm in California.