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White Plains' Deutsche Schule Honors 13 Graduates

When Nataly von Pflug’s family mulled over moving from Hamburg, Germany to Westchester three years ago, she told her father it would be “a dream come true.”

Friday, von Pflug graduated from the Deutsche Schule New York in White Plains. However, her hankering for an American Dream has only just begun.

“It feels good to have everybody giving you applause and it really is a once in a life time experience,” said Pflug, who will be studying at Bennington College next fall. “Living in New York City has always been one of my biggest dreams. Why would I leave?”

Von Pflug and 12 other graduates enjoyed a serenade by kindergarteners, whose finale involved handing white roses to the graduates, a long-standing tradition at the international German school. About 200 attendees listened to speeches by school head Wolfgang Dietrich, the New York German Consul General Dr. Horst Freitag , and two student speakers.

Unlike most of her peers who will return to Germany for college, von Pfluge is excited to pursue visual and performing arts at a Vermont school.

“I’ll miss my classmates, and I’ll miss speaking German because English is still a foreign language for me,” said von Pflug, who began learning English in Germany in fifth grade. “I’m a little nervous to have everything be in English.”

Regardless of their plans, the class of 2011 was thrilled to receive both German and American diplomas. Students including Lucas Umann look forward to the larger student bodies they’ll join at German colleges.

“It’s so small that everyone knows everything about everyone, but there’re not many people to be friends with,” said Umann, 16, who guessed the Deutsche Schule had 300 students. “I’m excited to graduate. Now I just have to get an apartment and look for schools.”

His father’s journalism career has taken Umann to Colon, Warsaw, Mexico City, Westchester and Latvia. Umann said he’s not particularly attached to any city.

“Every place has good and bad sides,” said Umann, who spoke at the graduation. "It’s cool to meet new people and to get to know a new place.”

The head of the Deutsche Schule Wolfgang Dietrich said he was proud of the graduating class.

“It was great to see what they did today,” said Dietrich. “They did a concert and made it a fundraiser for their class. They were the first class to do that.”

The 13 graduates used money from their concert to fund their graduation party and upcoming prom.

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