News and Updates


Houstonfest Scholarships - winners posted!


Scholarships at State


Special Rules and Procedures for the 2021 Remote Contest


Teacher-to-Teacher Tips


Tips for Pair Discussion


Photo Gallery 2014


Arrival at Heights High School


Lunch options


Plays will be performed at Houstonfest


Daily log of changes to state-qualifier list



Important Dates


Sat., Mar. 6, 2021 State online awards ceremony posted. Also, Houstonfest Scholarship applications due.


Fri., Mar. 12, 2021:  Gail Cope Scholarship applications due.


Fri., April 30, 2021:  Gail Cope Teacher Grant applications due.


The rest of this will be updated for 2022 some time soon:


Sat., Jan. 16, 2021:  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).


Mon., Jan. 25, 2021:  Final deadline to submit registration spreadsheet for late price of $12/student and deadline to postmark payment.


Wed., Feb. 3, 2021, 8:00 p.m.Deadline to submit changes (adds, drops, substitutions). After this point, no more additions or substitutions will be allowed.


Sat., Feb. 6, 2021 Houstonfest (100% remote): some events conducted "live" (online) that day, all others submitted digitally by 9:00 a.m.


Thur., Feb. 11, 2021 Houstonfest online awards show emailed to teachers.


Wed., Feb. 17, 2021:  State online registration due by 11:59 p.m. for "early bird" price of $10/student (payment does not have to be mailed yet). Also, deadline to apply for the Mary El-Beheri Memorial Scholarship.


Mon., Feb. 22, 2021:  State online registration due by 11:59 p.m. at regular price of $12/student. Also, entries for promotional video contest due to State director Jennifer Christianson by 8:00 p.m. and deadline to postmark payment.


Sat., Feb. 27, 2021:  Texas State German Contest (100% remote): some events conducted "live" (online) that day, all others submitted digitally by 9:00 a.m.

Tips for Pair Discussion


First, the official rules:

Entry Limit:  2 entries (pairs) per school (Level 3 only).

Discussion time:  3 minutes (not including a 30-second reflection time).

A pair of contestants draws a topic instructing them to plan something (trip, purchase, celebration, etc.).  Both are expected to make suggestions and voice opinions, to agree or disagree, and to make alternative suggestions.  At the end of the discussion, they must come to an agreement.  The topics will pertain to the daily life of teenagers.  No contestant pairs will have the same topic.  From the time the topic is drawn, the contestants may take up to 30 seconds to read the topic and gather their thoughts, but they may not speak to each other during this time.  At the end of the 30 seconds, the contestants have 3 minutes to role-play the situation.  The two team members will be scored independently of one another, but both scores will be added together to obtain the team score, i.e., contestants will be ranked and potentially advance to State as a team.  Download critique sheet


Now, some tips to the contestants:

  • Make good use of the 30-second reflection time to brainstorm ideas, but remember that you can't consult with your partner during this time.  The time is meant purely for you to read the prompt and gather your own thoughts.

  • Start the conversation by taking a few seconds to establish the scenario from the prompt card rather than launching immediately into debating the solution.  Although the judges will know what is on your prompt card, it will create a more natural conversational flow if you restate the situation (in your own words) and THEN start exchanging ideas.  For instance, if the prompt tells you to discuss ideas for a wedding gift...

    Good beginning:

    A: Hey, Thomas and Wiebke are getting married next weekend.  Are you invited?

    B: Yes, I am, and I haven't bought them a gift yet.  Do you have any ideas?

    A: I haven't bought them anything, either.  Maybe some nice towels?


    Bad beginning:

    A: Towels would be nice.

    B: Or a lamp for their living room.

    In the first example, the contestants have begun the conversation in the way that such a conversation would start in the real world.  In the second example, there is no context; it's as if we've been plopped into the middle of the conversation and we don't know what it's about.

  • Be assured that the prompts are realistic situations that teenagers would encounter in daily life.  You will not be asked to pretend that you are someone you aren't, such as a doctor or a police officer.  Both contestants will be "playing" teenagers.

  • Don't panic if the conversation starts off slowly.  Just keep plugging away, and in most cases, the words will start coming faster as you get deeper into the 3 minutes.

  • The judges will give you a signal when there are 30 seconds left.  At this point, wrap up the conversation, perhaps restating some of the things you have agreed on.

Finally, some video samples:


In Sample 1, Sindhu and Danita of Clements High School are playing out this scenario (which is NOT one of the prompts that will be in the deck at contest):  "Your friend Lothar in Germany is working on a project about Texas in his English class.  He asks you why -- if at all -- someone should visit Houston.  Discuss what advice to give him."


In Sample 2, Sindhu and Danita are playing this scenario (which is also NOT one of the 30 prompts in the deck of prompt cards):  "It has been a tradition in your German class to celebrate Nikolaustag on December 6.  The principal of your school suggests that you end this tradition because it has a Christian origin.  Discuss counterarguments."


In Sample 3, Dakota and Alex of the Westchester Academy of International Studies are discussing the same prompt from Sample 1 (Lothar wanting to know what's interesting about Houston).  Thanks to their teacher Jürgen Müller for making the recording and for writing the two sample prompts.

When is the next Houstonfest?



February 5, 2022


Where is Houstonfest?


Due to COVID-19, the 2021 contest was conducted entirely REMOTELY. We hope to be back at our usual venue, Heights High School in Houston, in 2022.


Link to Texas State German Contest


Texas State German Contest on Facebook