60th Kiel Exchange - 2017

Diamond Jubilee of the Madras Kiel Exchange - 60 Years of Partnership and Friendship

What an achievement!  We believe that our German exchange with the Kieler Gelehrtenschule in Kiel, Schleswig-Holstein is the oldest unbroken school to school exchange between the two countries.  To celebrate this amazing milestone in the history of the exchange, a number of special activities took place in St Andrews during the 60th exchange visit in June 2017.

31 German pupils, accompanied by 3 members of staff, including the head teacher of the KGS, enjoyed the warm hospitality of their Scottish host families for 10 days.  The weather was kind, blue sky and sunshine for most of the visit, which allowed the German group to see Scotland at its best. 

Kiel Group Photo

'Alumni' from both the German and Scottish sides of the exchange joined the 60th exchange group on a number of occasions during the week.  Two members of the Madras 1957 exchange group and former Madras exchange leader, Donald Macgregor, joined pupils of the current exchange for a 'Question Time' session.  Throughout this session, the youngsters seemed to sense just how significant a role the exchange had played in the lives of the 'Alumni'.  Fife Council held a Civic Reception in the Assembly Hall in recognition of the durability and longevity of our unique partnership.  We all enjoyed looking at the black and white images of past exchanges and suddenly realising that some of those then young faces were actually in our midst.  Madras pupils and their Kiel partners attended assemblies, giving a presentation about the history of the exchange to all year groups.  Pupils from both schools also visited two of our cluster primary schools while other partners visited the Rotary Club of St Andrews to highlight within the community the role which the Kiel Exchange has played for many local families over the past six decades.

The highlight for many of the exchange participants this year was the Anniversary Ceilidh (KIELidh).  The Germans had been captivated by the Madras College Pipe Band at the school summer concert earlier in the week.  The band played on the lawn in front of the school to welcome many former exchange participants to the ceilidh as we handed out flyers (about the history of the exchange) to passers-by and tourists.  The local onlookers already knew all about it.

Kiel Diamond mobile

'The Diamond', the focal point and enduring symbol of our anniversary project, was unveiled at the ceilidh.  For many months the Kiel pupils had been working on creating a 'Diamond' mobile, its sides depicting milestones in the history of the exchange.

rectors   Cake

Thanks go to the head teachers of both schools for their enthusiasm and ongoing support of the exchange programme.  The response of the participants over the years has been very positive.  The only complaint nowadays being that the 10 day exchange is too short in comparison to past 3 week exchanges which also had the added excitement of epic journeys rather than just a short flight.