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News and Updates


What's new for 2018


Teacher-to-Teacher Tips


Tips for Pair Discussion


Arrival at Heights High School


Lunch options


Plays will be performed at Houstonfest


Houstonfest Scholarships


Scholarships at State


Photo Gallery 2014


Daily log of changes to state-qualifier list



Important Dates


Fri., Jan. 18, 2019:  Regular deadline to submit registration spreadsheet in order to pay regular price of $10/student (payment does not have to be mailed until 1/25).


Fri., Jan. 25, 2019:  Final deadline to submit registration spreadsheet for late price of $12/student and deadline to postmark payment.


Mon., Jan. 28, 2019 Proof sheet of entries sent to teachers for final verification and changes.


Tue., Jan. 29, 2019: Research Papers due to David Kniess by 11:59 p.m.


Wed., Jan. 30, 2019, 8:00 p.m. Deadline to submit changes (adds, drops, substitutions).  After this point, no more additions or substitutions will be allowed in individual events.  Substitutions in group events may continue in emergency situations.


Thur., Jan. 31, 2019: Videos due to Mark Johnson by 6:00 p.m.


Sat., Feb. 2, 2019 Houstonfest !


Feb. x, 2019 State online registration due by 11:59 p.m. in order to qualify for early-bird price of $10 per student.  Online registrations submitted after this point incur the regular registration fee of $12 per student.  Also, deadline to apply for the Mary El-Beheri Memorial Scholarship.


Feb. x, 2019 State online registration due by 11:59 p.m. (regular deadline). Also, postmark deadline for State payment, regardless of whether you completed your online registration by the early-bird or the regular deadline.


Feb. x, 2019:  Entries for promotional video contest due to State director Jennifer Christianson


Sat., Feb. 23, 2019 Texas State German Contest, Texas State University, San Marcos.


Sat., Mar. 2, 2019 Houstonfest Scholarship applications due.


Mar. x, 2019 Gail Cope Scholarship applications due.


Tue., April 30, 2019 Gail Cope Teacher Grant applications due.

Changes to Rules and Procedures Effective for 2018


The changes described below flow from the Houstonfest steering-committee meeting held on May 20, 2017, and the State steering-committee meeting held in Boerne on July 29, 2017.


  • Due to a scheduling conflict at our usual location, Heights High School, Houstonfest will be held this year only (2018) at Hogg Middle School in Houston. We should return to Heights in 2019.

  • New as of 1/3/18:  Given the extra effort that will be required of the organizers to pull off the event at a different location this year, we've decided not to offer Bubble Soccer in 2018. We hope that it will return in 2019.

  • We will continue to invite food trucks and have a concession stand to provide lunch.

  • Incentives for new schools to participate (continued from 2017):  We will waive the registration fee for up to 5 students from any school that has not attended Houstonfest in the last 5 years, and new schools will pay the regular price of $10 for any students beyond the first 5, even if they enter during the "late" registration period. Also, teachers who are brand new to Houstonfest may request to be excused from judging for the first year so that they can move freely around the contest and see how things work. Contact director Rustin Buck to take advantage of these offers; the registration spreadsheet is not set up to reflect them.

  • We have added a sample press release that you can use before or after Houstonfest to the Teacher-to-Teacher Tips page. There is a similar release about the State contest on the State website.

  • A clarification in case there was any doubt: All drama entries must be memorized. Points will be deducted if fellow cast members or the judges have to prompt performers.

  • The event Oral Presentation will continue to be offered in all three regions but will not advance to State in 2018 (as in 2017). The State Steering Committee would like to see improved participation in this event at the regional contests before approving it for State competition -- so please, encourage your students to enter. This event is excellent practice for the AP exam.

  • Advantaged speakers may not enter or help with the writing or revision of the narrative story in Photo Essay.

  • There are a few changes and updates to Pass auf! First, there will no longer be a Grammar category, so now there are only four categories: History & Politics, Arts & Letters, Odds & Ends, and Erdkunde. However, there will still be 25 questions per round. There will be 5 questions per category (which yields 20 questions), and then there will be an additional set of 5 from one of the categories to round out the 25. In other words, there will be 10 questions from one of the 4 categories and 5 questions each from the other 3 categories. Some things that were formerly in the Grammar category will be folded into the Odds & Ends category. This is the second year that we will have an annual theme about which there will be at least one 50-point question per round. The theme for 2018 is The German-Speaking World 1914-1945 (inspired by the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I -- 1918 / 2018).

  • In 2018 we will return to the old sweepstakes system to maintain consistency with the other two regional contests and with the State contest. Schools will be classified as "Large Schools" or "Small Schools" based on how many students are enrolled in German classes at the school, and at least the top 5 schools in each division will receive trophies.

  • In April 2017 the long-awaited Folk Dance Summit brought together teachers with experience sponsoring folk dance groups, teachers hoping to start folk dance groups, and members of several of the adult folk dance groups from around the state (who, besides being experts, are also our potential coaches and judges). The impetus for the summit was the desire to get everyone pulling in the same direction and to make it much easier for schools to get started doing folk dance. The summit was very productive and resulted in a range of planned changes:

    • The event formerly known as Einzelplattler will now be called Einzeltanz. Since its inception, this event has focused on one particular dance, the Heidauer Plattler, which will remain the designated dance for 2018. However, we expect to install a four-year rotation of dances by introducing different (non-Plattler) dances in 2019, 2020, and 2021. A committee of folk-dance experts is currently choosing the other three dances. The Heidauer Plattler will return again in 2022 as the cycle starts over.

    • In the coming months, we will publish a list of folk dances on the contest websites. The list is currently being generated by a committee of folk-dance experts who will rank the dances according to difficulty (Category I, II, or III). The list should also include links for each dance to the dance instructions, the music, and a video demonstrating the dance. This should provide everyone -- schools with experience in folk dance and those just starting out -- with a common reference point for the proper categorization of the dances and for commonly-agreed-upon versions of the dances. Schools wishing to perform dances not on the list will follow a procedure to submit the dances in advance for categorization by a panel of experts.

    • The contest websites will feature contact information for folk-dance groups around the state who are willing to work with schools to help them start or build up their dance groups.

    • The critique sheet for Group Folk Dance has been substantially revised. The new critique sheet has only 100 points (instead of 150). Precision is worth the most, at 40 points. (It was a common theme at the Folk Dance Summit that the judges would like to see students in firm control of the basic dance steps, as opposed, for instance, to attempting extremely difficult dances before truly mastering the basics -- thus the great weight placed on precision.) Technical difficulty (level of dances) is worth only 10 points on the new critique sheet, as opposed to 50 on the old one. Artistic variety (doing dances from a variety of genres and a variety of German-speaking regions and with props) is worth 10 points as well.

  • More to be added soon regarding a new contest to create a video promoting the Texas German contest system.

When is the next Houstonfest?



February 2, 2019


Where is Houstonfest?


Heights High School

413 E. 13th Street

Houston, TX 77008


Link to Texas State German Contest