German club provides extra-curricular option for Parkland students

Photo provided by German Club | Bread and Chocolate Sale (during Cultural Fair in the Union).

Photo provided by German Club | Bread and Chocolate Sale (during Cultural Fair in the Union).

Photo provided by German Club | Celebrating St. Nikolaus Tag with residents of Clark-Lindsey Village.

Photo provided by German Club | Celebrating St. Nikolaus Tag with residents of Clark-Lindsey Village.

Photo provided by German Club | Melissa and Ron Coffel and Nancy Goodall enjoy dinner at the Bayern Stube in Gibson City, IL.

Photo provided by German Club | Melissa and Ron Coffel and Nancy Goodall enjoy dinner at the Bayern Stube in Gibson City, IL.

EvyJo Compton

Staff Writer

Of the many different clubs around Parkland, German Club is one of the oldest and richest.

The club is headed by Mary Jo Licht, a German instructor at Parkland. She has been teaching German for three years. She has taught as a teacher’s assistant and has studied abroad for two years.

It was founded in part by Eva Frayne in the mid-1970s. Frayne is a native German speaker, having grown up in Germany. She has taught German since 1967.

A big part of the club is going on trips. To do this, the club has to fundraise.

“It all started with Bruno’s bread,” Frayne said. “I used to get it all the time from this store… after a series of events, the store shut down. I was told to just call the company and order…soon, I was bringing it to Parkland and people were buying it.”

Shortly afterwards, the club started selling the chocolates along with the bread.

“We fundraised every week on Wednesday,” Frayne said. “This was maybe six, seven years into the club. When I retired, it became once a month.”

Unlike most clubs, where members have to pay for their own cost of participation, the German club covers costs for the members.

“The club pays for the trips, because of all of the fundraising,” Frayne said. “We always did something, but one thing we never got to do is go to Germany… maybe one day in the future the club will.”

Over the years, the club has done a variety of different things. They have gone to Chicago, Indianapolis, and the Bayern Stube restaurant in Gibson City, Ill.

“In December, we usually went to Chicago. We’ve also gone to Cincinnati, St. Louis, and New Harmony, Ind.,” Frayne remarks. “We always did something. We also put on a yearly Oktoberfest in the College Center with brats, German potato salad, Sauerkraut, rye bread and lentil soup.  In 2014, we had a party to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Berlin Wall coming down.”

The schedule has changed a little bit over the years, but it is the same German Club.

“We meet every Monday from noon to 1 p.m.,” Licht stated. “We have a lunch of German style bread or sometimes homemade bread. Of course with a range of lunch meats… There are treats- usually cookies or cakes.”

Not only does the German Club serve a German lunch, they also host a range of activities.

“Sometimes we sing or do poems…usually in English, but if something is in German we do translate,” Licht added. “On Mondays, we meet in the back of the language lab, D203, D204. It’s okay to go through if there’s a class; we’re in the small room in the back.”

The German Club has been around almost as long as Parkland. While Parkland celebrates its 50th anniversary, the German Club celebrates its 40-plus years.

Originally unsure whether or not there was enough interest in German for a club, Frayne almost did not start the club.

“We thought there were too few of us to start a club,” Frayne stated. “But a student in one of my classes, who was the president of the Parkland Student Council, encouraged us. So we filled out the necessary papers, wrote a constitution and the rest is history.”

The German Club is open to everyone and there are no requirements to join.

“We are open to all those interested in German,” Licht stated.  “But really, we are open to all students. Even the community can join. We are an international club. Foreign students sometimes know German, and join the club. We really are here for everyone.”

German Club holds fundraising once a month where they sell breads and chocolates. They are stationed in X-wing by the library stairs from 10:30 a.m.–1:30 p.m. For 2017, their dates are February 15, March 15, April 12 and May 10. They also hold meetings every Monday at 12 p.m. until 1 p.m. in the language lab in D203 and D204.