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.

Rules:  Oral Testing Events


Below are the "normal" rules for Houstonfest in a non-pandemic year.  To preserve a record of the normal rules, alterations to the rules for the 2021 remote contest will not be reflected here but rather documented at this link: Special Rules and Procedures for the 2021 Remote Contest.  In a nutshell, however:  ALL oral testing events will be offered in 2021, adapted to the online environment.


Directed Dialogue:

Entry Limit:  2 contestants per level, per school (Levels 1 & 2 only).

The judges will ask the contestant questions on his/her level of understanding (things generally covered in first-year and second-year textbooks).  Questions will be selected by a combination of students drawing 3 questions and judges asking the same 2 standard questions to all contestants.  Judges will grade on pronunciation, degree of complexity and fluency, knowledge of topic, and grammatical correctness.

Download critique sheet.

Download Level 1 questions.

Download Level 2 questions.


Extemporaneous Speaking:

Entry Limit:  2 contestants per level, per school (Levels 3, 4, and Advantaged only).

Speech Time Limits:  Level 3: 1-3 minutes; Level 4: 2-4 minutes; Advantaged: 3-5 minutes.

The contestant will draw a topic at the beginning of his/her time slot.  (At Regionals only, students may draw 2 topics and choose 1 of the 2 to prepare.)  The topics will not be technical and will pertain to daily life.  Different contestants will receive different topics, but the topics will be of approximately equal difficulty.  After drawing a topic, the contestant will have a maximum of 10 minutes to prepare.  He/she may write during this time, but no books or dictionaries may be used in preparation, and NO notes, even those made during the preparation period, may be used in the speech. 

Download critique sheet.


Oral Presentation:

Entry Limit:  2 entries per school (Level 4 only; EXCEPTION: If a school has no Level 4 students attending contest, Level 3 contestants may enter, but with the understanding that they will be competing against Level 4 contestants.)

Presentation Time Limits:  2-4 minutes; total time allotted is 10 minutes, including set-up and take-down of visuals.

The contestant gives a prepared presentation on a current topic based upon a provided picture prompt.  The picture will be posted on the contest website by December 1.  The contestant may use notes that will be submitted to the judges after the presentation (maximum 10 bullet points, maximum 5 words per bullet).  The presentation must compare cultural perspectives between German-speaking countries and the student's own region related to the topic suggested by the picture.  The presentation may be accompanied by a visual component (presentation on a laptop or tablet, picture cards, poster, photo story, etc.), but the visuals cannot include any words.  If the visual component is electronic, the contestant must bring all necessary equipment.  No data projector or any other equipment will be supplied in the contest room, and contestants should not expect that there will be wi-fi access.

Download critique sheet.

Download picture for 2021.


Pair Discussion:

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.

Tips for Pair Discussion, with samples.


Sight Reading:

Entry Limit:  2 contestants per level, per school (Levels 1, 2, 3, & 4).

Time Limits:  up to 1 minute preparation time plus 2 minutes to read the piece to judges.

The contestant will receive a copy of a prose piece that he/she has never seen before.  The contestant may look at the prose for up to 1 minute before reading it for the judges.  Contestants then have 2 minutes to read aloud the prose selection.  The judges will stop the contestant after 2 minutes, regardless of how far he/she has read into the selection.  Download critique sheet.

Main Rules Page Arts Declamation Drama Music
Oral Tests Pass auf! Research Paper Scavenger Hunt Written Tests

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