Katarina had an awesome week. While we were shopping, she won a Christmas tree. Pure luck. All the carts have numbers at the base, and the staff called out numbers every hour. I heard them ask for cart number "blah-blah-blah" to come to the service counter but had no idea what was going on or that Katarina had that cart. When we met at the exit, she stood with the gift certificate in her hand, beaming, proud she would be providing the tree for our family this year. Since she won it, we allowed her to choose the tree herself. It was bundled and loaded into the car without my seeing it, and now it is propped up next to the basement door waiting to be unwrapped, set up, and decorated. I can't wait to see it.
On Wednesday, she represented her class in the Lesewettbewerb (reading competition). Her doing so was also a bit of luck. The girl who was supposed to take part became ill and Katarina stepped in for her. All participants had to read a chapter book beforehand. Katarina had just finished reading The Seventeen Secrets of the Kharma Club by Karen McCombie, so all she had to do was quickly prepare a speech introducing herself and explaining what happens it the book.
After reciting their speeches, each participant had to read aloud from their book to the judges (there were 8 of them). Of course, the students had time to practice this the past week or so. There is a grading system based on the number of errors made but points are also given in terms of how clearly they read and how exciting they make the story sound. They are looking not just for someone who can read well but a storyteller who reads with feeling and makes it interesting for the listeners. Then they had to respond to many questions the judges asked regarding the book. That was the first half.
After that portion of the competition, the hard part came. All the students were given a book they had never read before and told to read from it. Now the pressure was on. Katarina said the word Pygmaeen (pygmies) came up in the story text and some of the others didn't pronounce it correctly. She, too, stumbled over a strange word of which she cannot recall, but she said she gave it her best shot. I guess it was good enough because she won the competition by one point and will now go on to represent her school at the district competition. She received a rose, chocolate, and a 15 Euro gift certificate to the bookstore. Being an avid reader, she always has a list of books she would like, so the next day we HAD TO go redeem it. She picked out a 223 page book, the third in a series she is currently into. (The Guardians of Ga'Hoole by Kathryn Lasky)
She thinks it is luck that she won. I told her it IS luck that she had the opportunity after her classmate couldn't take part, but luck played no part in winning. She is a good reader, and she obviously showed the judges that. I am so proud of her. I hope she does as well in the next round, but if not, I'll still be her biggest fan. Whether German or American (etc, etc), that's just how mothers are.