CCES Voices

Tim Tacke

German Alumnus Tim Tacke '08 Credits CCES’ German Program for International Students

The time right before middle school is a challenging time for anyone, whether or not you transfer to a new school. Or move across the world. But that’s just what happened to this CCES alumnus! In the summer of 1999, Tim’s father, a BMW employee, moved his family from Germany to Greenville.

A New Country, Classroom, and Language

When Tim began CCES at the Lower School, everything was new: the classrooms, the people, and even the language! (When he entered CCES that fall as a fourth grader, he could barely speak English.) But Tim says the students welcomed him from the beginning. That made all the difference for a 10-year-old.  

“It was hard at first because I didn’t speak the language, but it was a really good experience too, because all of the students were very open,” Tim said.
“Whenever I needed help, I could always ask them, and they would help me out.”
Tim received the help he needed in the classroom, too. His teachers were instrumental in his success.

“Ms. Yerkes, the first teacher I ever had at Christ Church, always helped me when I had a problem. I knew I could always go to her,” Tim said. “She always asked if I was understanding what we were covering in the classes, and she took the time after class to speak with me.”

Courses at CCES helped Tim (and continue to help other international students) learn English while continuing to improve his native language. While Tim took the English courses that all CCES students take, he also took English as a Second Language (ESOL) courses to help him improve his English.

Tim was integrated into these courses quickly. He said his teachers were always available after class to help when he needed it, and they also kept in touch with Tim’s parents to keep them updated on his progress.  

“The class was really an international class,” Tim said. “Students from all over the world took the class to learn English.”
“Christ Church was the best opportunity for me because I wouldn’t have gotten the same level of support if I went to a different school or a public school,” he said.

CCES’ German Program Helps International Students Succeed Long-term

Many students, like Tim, return to Germany after living in the US for a short time, but CCES offers a German program to help them stay on pace! While at CCES, Tim took German classes with German-speaking students in order to maintain fluency in their native tongue.

In accordance with Germany’s strict curriculum which requires Latin instruction, German CCES students like Tim also take Latin. These German and Latin classes help make sure the students are prepared to re-enter the classroom when they return to Germany.
“The teachers did a really good job at keeping us up to date with our German,” Tim said. “The German and Latin classes were very unique and something you couldn’t get at other schools.”
Tim returned home, fully prepared to return to school in Germany. Over the years, he has worked for English and British companies and has benefited from his English language studies.

“I always like to speak English now,” he said.    

After studying communications, Tim did PR work before settling into his current role with an IT company. Tim credits CCES for allowing him to take courses he wouldn’t have had the opportunity to take if he were in Germany during middle school. For example, Tim took music classes and learned to play the guitar at CCES.

Tim’s affinity for CCES is so great, he recently returned with a close friend and his fiance for a tour of campus. There’s nothing like visiting your old school to bring back fond memories and reflect on how far you’ve come.

“At Christ Church, you were able to learn the things you wanted to learn and do the things you wanted to do,” Tim said. “I’m really curious. I want to learn different things. That is something they taught me at Christ Church.”

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Christ Church Episcopal School (“CCES”) admits students of any race, color, national and ethnic origin to all the rights, privileges, programs, and activities generally accorded or made available to students at CCES. CCES does not discriminate on the basis of sex, race, color, national or ethnic origin, creed, religion, or sexual orientation in the administration of its educational policies, admission policies, financial aid, scholarship or other programs, or athletic or other school-administered programs and activities.