Mount Mercy College was thrilled and honoured to welcome the Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany, Her Excellency Mrs Deike Potzel, on the 8th February 2018. History was made as Mount Mercy was the first all-girls school in Ireland to receive a visit from the first ever female German Ambassador to Ireland.
The German Ambassador was welcomed upon arrival at 10.30a.m. by 1st Year students of German together with Ms Loftus and Principal Ms Ryan. Ambassador Potzel was then accompanied to the library where she was greeted with a standing ovation and applause from all students of German at Mount Mercy. Short speeches of welcome were made by Ms Ryan and Ms Loftus, followed by a performance of the Deutsch in Mount Mercy poem by 5th year students of German. The Ambassador then delivered a very engaging speech and interacted warmly with our students of German. A question and answer session ensued and Ambassador Potzel very thoughtfully answered all questions posed by our students of German. Some of the questions posed included:
· Who inspired you?
· Is it a wonderful experience to be the Ambassador?
· What was your first impression of Ireland?
· Do you think it is important that we encourage an interest in politics in young girls so that women will have a greater influence in politics in the future?
· Climate change is a reality that we are all experiencing on a daily basis – do you think Ireland can learn from Germany in terms of environmental protection?
· As the first female German Ambassador to Ireland, what special qualities do you bring to this role?
· What advice would you give to young people?
· How do you feel Brexit will affect Ireland and Germany?
· What was it like to work as head of the personal office for German Federal President Joachim Gauck?
· You have worked in Iran and Singapore, as well as in Bonn and Berlin – what have you learned from working in these places? What stands out from your experience in these countries?
Following the very interesting and informative question and answer session, a presentation of Cork Crystal was made to Ambassador Potzel to commemorate her visit to Mount Mercy College. Flowers were presented to the German Ambassador by 1st Year students of German, Angel Metro and Aoife Feehely. The German Ambassador presented a very generous gift to our Mount Mercy students of German – a wonderful selection of German books for the 12 to 18 age group. Photographs were taken and musical accompaniment was provided on cello by Roisin Fleming who played classical Bach pieces. To conclude our special hour with the German Ambassador, the European Anthem, Beethoven’s Ode to Joy, was played by music teacher Mr Vincent Whelan on piano and accompanied by Roisin on cello. The Ambassador took her final leave to a standing ovation and rapturous applause from our students of German at Mount Mercy College.
In conclusion, Mount Mercy German Department sincerely thanks the German Ambassador H..E. Mrs Deike Potzel and her team at the German Embassy in Dublin for choosing to honour us with this very special visit. Special thanks must go to Dr Florian Rehli, First Secretary, Ms Nelly Reske, P.A. to the Ambassador, and Annemarie Sullivan, Protocol. Ambassador Potzel’s warm and engaging approach proved to be a big hit with our students of German and we really appreciate the time she made available for them.
A special word of thanks must go to our management team at Mount Mercy College, namely, Principal Ms Ryan and Deputy Principals Ms Van Walleghem and Ms Roche, all of whom greatly supported this special visit. Sincere thanks to our office administrators Vivienne O Shea and Susan Archbold and to Michael Aherne and James Linehan, our caretakers, for their great help and support at all times throughout the organisation of this event.
The Music and Art Departments provided invaluable assistance during this event and most sincere thanks must go to Mr Vincent Whelan, music teacher who coordinated wonderful musical accompaniment for the occasion and to art teacher Ms Dervla Coffee, for the creation of beautiful posters to welcome the German Ambassador. Heartiest congratulations to all the Mount Mercy students of German who participated wholeheartedly in this event. Well done to our students of German.
‘Was glänzt ist fur den Augenblick geboren,
Das Echte bleibt der Nachwelt unverloren.’
– Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe