“MINT Teacher of the Year”
A Sister of Mary from the Schoenstatt Movement is the "MINT Teacher of the Year
By Hna. M. Verena Röhrig
There is great joy at the Schoenstatt Marian School (SMS) in Vallendar, which is still in the splendor of its 75th anniversary; because Sister Christamaria Brück, herself a former student and now a teacher of Catholic religion, mathematics and computer science, received the Klaus von Klitzing Prize on November 10, 2020. This prize is awarded to teachers who are especially dedicated to the so-called MINT subjects (mathematics, computer science, natural sciences, technology). Klaus von Klitzing, the winner of the 1985 Nobel Prize in Physics, has dedicated himself to promoting this commitment
VIRTUAL AWARD CEREMONY
Professor Klaus von Klitzing usually presents the award in Oldenburg, where the EWE Foundation – responsible for the award, and the Carl von Ossietzky University there, as its partner – are based. In view of the Crown Virus pandemic, this time the award ceremony took place virtually in different locations: in Stuttgart, Oldenburg and Schoenstatt.
With Sister Christamaria, a small group of students and teachers in the spacious school cafeteria waited eagerly for the award ceremony. Among them was Sister M. Gabriele Schreck, the school principal, and a special guest of honor, Sister M. Aleja Slaughter, General Superior of our community of Schoenstatt Sisters of Mary. Many followed the program – which lasted about an hour – with much excitement through the live broadcast.
SELECTED FROM 48 “FIRST CLASS” CANDIDATES…
After greetings from Marion Rövekamp, Chair of the EWE Foundation Board, the President of the University of Oldenburg, Professor Hans Michael Piper, and a scientific lecture by Christoph Hahn on the meaning of kale, the long-awaited moment arrived: the announcement of Sister Christamaria as the winner of the award. Marion Rövekamp emphasized that Sister Christamaria had been selected unanimously by the jury from a circle of 48 “first class” applicants. Professor Klaus von Klitzing expressed his regret that he could not present the award in person in Oldenburg, but virtually in Stuttgart, where he carries out research work at the Max Planck Institute.
In her speech, Sister M. Gabriele Schreck said that Sister Christamaria received the award on behalf of the whole school, for all the committed teachers. She highlighted the “extraordinary commitment” of her co-sister, as well as the “genuine enthusiasm” and ability to develop the best in the students.
WE NEED WOMEN LIKE YOU.
He literally said, “Today we have to find answers to the many ethical, medical and ecological questions, which are pressing, to name just a few of the hot topics. That’s why we need women like you, who are committed with their mind, will and heart to empowering many young people to commit to finding viable and responsible solutions.
The director of the school, thanked Sister Christamaría, for her valuable contribution to the Schoenstatt Marian School, in which, just like Father Kentenich, the founder of Schoenstatt and of the school, strives to have his ear to the heart of God and his hand to the pulse of the times. In thanking the sponsors of the award, Sister M. Gabriele pointed out the perspective of being able to discover and form the researchers of the future with the award and thus fulfill the Christian responsibility for the new configuration of society. She stressed: “Young women in particular are needed to introduce the female perspective into the sciences of the MINT and thus enable a more lively vision to be adopted. Being a school for girls with a focus on the natural sciences, we see our mission here as very specific”.
ROBOT AG “A PLACE OF JOY”
The grateful and proud Karolin Gräwer, 11th grade, gave a commendable speech. As she said, she experienced Sister Christamaria as a “special teacher” as early as 5th grade in religion and basic education in information technology. Since 6th grade, she participated in the robot weekends that Sister Christamaria provided with the project: Robot-AG (working group). She had so much fun building and programming robots that she successfully participated in the ‘First Lego’ league competitions each year along with other interested students. As the student confessed, Robot-AG became “a place of joy”.
Finally she revealed Sister Christamaria’s recipe for success: “Every Friday shows us how much fun and enjoyment you can have with technology. She likes to help with problems, gives ideas, but never reveals the real solution. She always lets us try everything, and if something doesn’t work, she encourages us to find a solution quickly. With his tireless commitment he convinces everyone. His positive attitude transfers to us, the students, and that’s why we don’t want to miss the GA at our school anymore”.
Also, Karolin Gräwer called attention to Sister Christamaria’s commitment to digitalization. With a small group of students, Sister created the Cocuun school’s own communication platform in 2017, from which all classes, teachers and parents will benefit.
As Karolin Gräwer explained, Sister Christamaria not only places importance on technical knowledge by supporting the students in the technical team or leading the reconstruction of the school website, but also on the preservation of Christian values and personality development by offering early classes and inviting them to the “I’m on my way” pilgrimage weekend. The student also emphasized Sister Christamaria’s “passion for mathematics”, her patience to explain and her serenity with which she also motivates students for whom mathematics is not a favorite subject. In addition, Karoline Gräwer confessed: “Sister Christamaria always listens to us carefully and takes the time to address our concerns and needs. You can feel the great connection she builds with us students. We can learn a lot from Sr. Christamaria, not only academically but also humanly. With much joy in life and through her open and friendly way of showing others, she has become a role model for us.
Karoline Gräwer is convinced that Sister Christamaria definitely deserves the Klaus von Klitzing Prize, “because it shows, especially with her commitment in the area of MINT, how well girls can also develop in that area. This area is still considered male-dominated, so it should be noted that she is the first sister and the first woman after six consecutive male winners to receive this award. By supporting growing women, it gives us a glimpse of an area we probably would not have dared to enter otherwise. It encourages us all to never give up and to keep going no matter what obstacles are put in our way.
MANY THANKS TO STUDENTS AND COLLEAGUES
Finally, Sister Christamaria thanked the EWE Foundation, Professor von Klitzing and the jury for the award. She then said that thanks to the implementation of the computer course of the graduating class of 2018 who, with their enthusiasm and willingness to invest time, gave the starting signal for the first robots in SMS. He also thanked the friends of the school and the alumni association for their generous financial support and the school management for the “Promotion Room”. He also thanked the collaborators: Dr. Fislake from the University of Koblenz and Mr. Schwaderlapp from Exec Software, for the good cooperation and the promotions they have offered.
Sister Christamaria also thanked all the parents who contribute their expertise to Robots AG, especially Ms. Plies and Ms. Pötzschke.
Sister Christamaria expressed her greatest gratitude to her students and colleagues, because it means a lot to her to shape the school day together with them in such a way that the students can develop their talents and personality and take advantage of their opportunities. Sister Christamaria stated:
“Here with us, co-responsibility, freedom, creativity, commitment, friendship and team spirit count. For all your cooperation I say thank you with all my heart!
That is why I am firmly convinced that the Klaus von Klitzing Prize belongs not only to me, but to all of us. Thank you”.