GALA EVENING – IT’S JUST ‘SEE YOU SOON’ IN …SEMMERING

To mark the end of Christmas in Europe each organising school makes a point of giving of its very best to its guests. There was no exception in Orebrö at this fantastic gala evening. Björn Sterner and his team had invited Johan Suedmark, the school’s administrator together with the sponsors.
The tone was set as you entered the hall: you were greeted with a welcome glass, and, a little later, with a true banquet.

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The top table

In a short speech Björn Sterner greeted those present, wishing them all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year full of fulfilled wishes. Then a band, imitating the famous ABBA group, began to play, rather too soon for some people who would have preferred to wait for the march-past of the students who had provided the kitchen and food service teams for the evening.

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On behalf of the AEHT, vice-president Klaus Enengl took the opportunity to thank the 200 students for all their work, and asked those present to thank their absent colleagues – as well as extending his thanks to the sponsors of this Christmas in Europe.

A little later on, in the auditorium of the Virginska Skola, it was time for speeches. Johan Suedmark spoke first, saying what a magnificent event this was and encouraging everyone to keep up traditions. He gave a bouquet of flowers to Björn Sterner, and wished everyone a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

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Björn Sterner dedicated the bouquet to the students and to all the members of his team of teachers who had worked so hard. ‘It’s the end of six fantastic days,’ he said. ‘And why have they been fantastic? It’s thanks to you. You are going to return back home full of good memories, you have been able to see the traditions of our country and the differences with your own countries. I hope that this has awoken your curiosity and that you have enjoyed your stay here. Thanks to all of you, thanks to the AEHT delegations who have come here to ensure the continuity of this event and … see you next year in Semmering.’

Next the delegations were called to the platform to receive the official certificate of attendance. Christiane Keller reminded the audience that ‘an idea is no use if it remains an idea. Many thanks to all those of you who have understood what Christmas in Europe is all about – about building bridges between the different countries of Europe…’

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AEHT vice-president Alfonso Benvenuto also thanked the organisers and passed on the greetings of AEHT president Louis Robert. He then declared, with great conviction, ‘I have experienced an amazing event, the 15th of its kind, and Mother Christmas is an amazing woman.’ And as you can imagine, his words were loudly applauded.

Vice-president Klaus Enengl pronounced the same message using other words: he thanked the organisers and, paraphrasing the famous words of President John Kennedy, ‘Ich bin ein Berliner’, Klaus Enengl concluded by saying ‘I’m an AEHT member … ‘

Then came the last part of the ceremony – handing over the AEHT flag from Orebrö to Semmering.

The whole Semmering team took to the platform, headed by Jürgen Kürner, director of the Semmering hotel school. He in turn thanked the Orebrö team for their warm welcome and issued an invitation to everyone to come to Christmas in Europe 2007 in Semmering. A dynamic video was used to convince any remaining doubters. Semmering in the snow – it’s a promise for 2007!

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