September 16, 1998

20th

Once upon a time, in a small village in southern Germany called Haundorf, an international school started its operations. The Franconian International School, an initiative of adidas, the city of Herzogenaurach and representatives of the Nürnberg region, opened its doors for the first time to 25 students in Grades 1 and 2 on Wednesday, September 16. A Head of School, one class teacher, twelve excited boys and thirteen thrilled girls from nine different countries, and proud moms and dads were present. Finally, this was the day they had all been waiting for. Balloons, the “Schultüte” and a big yellow cake completed the celebrations.

Twenty years have passed, but the memories of that first day in that special, brand new school haven’t faded… And probably never will!

Mrs. Sperber was the first teacher at the FIS. For her, the experience was a real adventure!

It was an exciting new adventure for me professionally to be asked to be the first teacher at the Franconian International School when the concept was first being developed back in 1997. It was a great opportunity to work in collaboration with adidas and their vision of the future development of the school. It is an honour to have been part of the FIS for eighteen years, to watch it grow from its infancy into the respected institution that it is today.

Ms. Niemczyk, Head of School when the FIS opened and current Deputy Director, remembers that day as if it were yesterday.

All of us, the students, the parents, the “officials” and the teachers felt proud and honored that we were able to open the FIS after many years of effort to meet the regulations which you need for starting a school. It was fantastic that parents of 25 students entrusted their children into our care to begin something new, exciting and different. Already on our first day of school we were able to welcome kids from all over the world, from India, from Venezuela, from Spain, Sweden, the Netherlands, Switzerland and Iceland, from the United States and from our host nation Germany.

Felix K., a pioneer student, has very clear memories of the school building in Haundorf.

I can hardly remember the first stages of the school, only the huge yellow face that was painted on the wall of the first school building in Haundorf and the first Halloween party, the first 100-day party and the first Christmas party. The days when we were practicing how to jump rope every free minute we had will always stay in my memories.

That day was just the first one of many more to come. After the 1998/1999 school year, the FIS had grown to 70 students and therefore moving to a bigger building, the Dassler Villa, in Herzogenaurach had become necessary. After another expansion in 2003, the school moved to Erlangen in 2008, exactly ten years after the first day in Haundorf.

And the success story didn’t end there. Currently, over 700 students attend the school and, every single day, almost 200 members of staff put all of their love and dedication into making the FIS a ‘second home’ to these kids from all over the world.

Now, what about the happy ending? The FIS’ story has definitely not come to an end yet, but we sure are all very happy to be part of this school and its community.

During this year of celebration, a new post regarding the Anniversary will be published on the 20th of each month. We look forward to celebrating this Anniversary with you. Join one of our events which we are planning this school year e.g. a Sports Day and Golf Tournament in Herzogenaurach, an exhibition of pictures from the FIS’ history, an “International Festival”, etc. So stay tuned! For more information about the FIS’ history, check out the History page.

Kelly Vandermeeren
Communications Officer

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