Ingenthron selected to spend 2006-2007 school year in Crailsheim
WORTHINGTON -- Toni Ingenthron fell in love with Crailsheim, Germany, when she visited the town last summer.
Now, she'll get to spend a year there. Ingenthron, currently a junior at Worthington High School, will spend the 2006-2007 school year as an exchange student in the German community, it was announced Sunday at the annual Worthington Crailsheim International banquet.
"I went with the choir over the summer and am also friends with the person there right now (Andrew Stewart) and Todd Nordell, who went the year before," Ingenthron said. "They've told me a lot about it (exchange program), and I'm really excited."
Ingenthron, the daughter of Casey and Rosa Ingenthron, was one of four students vying to be selected as Worthington's exchange student to Crailsheim. Jennifer Mammen and Thomas Mammen -- twin children of Lee and Jeanne Mammen -- and Khyrstyna Paplow, daughter of Steve and Donna Schroer, had also applied. All three of those students are currently sophomores.
The banquet, which took place at Worthington Country Club, also featured comments from 2005-2006 Crailsheim guest Torben Schafer as well as remarks from Jerry Langendorfer, a Worthington native who spent 16 months in Crailsheim from 1965 to 1966 while serving in the U.S. Army.
"When I was a junior in high school, we had two young ladies from Crailsheim here," Langendorfer recalled. "I remember talking with them and how nice they were, but I wasn't too familiar with the exchange program or Crailsheim and really didn't think about it all that much.
"I don't know if it was luck or divine intervention that got me to Crailsheim," he added. "Besides being married and having a family, it was the best 16 months in my life."
Langendorfer explained that he went to a dispensary early during his time in Crailsheim "to get stitched up" and ended up talking with a young woman who was the receptionist.
"She and I got to talking, and she asked where I was from," he said. "I said, 'Worthington, Minnesota,' and she was so excited. I mean, she was beside herself excited."
That encounter ultimately led to special invitations from Crailsheim's burgermeister (mayor) to the city Volksfest celebration in both years Langendorfer was in the city. He spoke of many friendships he made while in the German community, and the opportunity to get to know students participating in the Worthington-Crailsheim exchange program.
"I think it's wonderful. ... From the young people I met there, it's obvious what this program can do," Langendorfer said.
The City of Worthington adopted Crailsheim in 1947 as its sister city after Crailsheim had been severely damaged in World War II. Material assistance was given in the form of clothing, seeds, school supplies and other goods. Since 1956, there has been a mutual student exchange.
Ingenthron is excited to have the chance to continue the exchange tradition. She said her travels there last summer -- she was accompanied by her father and brother -- included visits to schools and the city hall, plenty of walking around town and performances with the WHS choir in a school and church.
"I want to thank the committee for selecting me, and Mrs. Rowe, my German teacher -- her class is so much fun," Ingenthron said. "And my parents, for all their support, and for everyone who has made this relationship and this experience possible."
Ingenthron said she believes she may be leaving for Germany on July 4.