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Our History

Our History

Discover the Surrey German Language School


The Surrey German Language School was founded in October 1971 to preserve the cultural heritage of its respective country of origin for its children. Throughout this history, it has been supported primarily by a number of individual parents.

Classes started in two modest basement rooms of the Sunshine Ridge Baptist Church in Surrey with 42 students and two teachers. By 1973 the school had grown to four classes and was moved to St. Angela Academy in Delta, which offered proper classrooms.

Further expansion forced the principal, Mrs. Ruth Berndt, to look for new facilities once more. The Surrey School Board offered her adequate classrooms at the Guildford Park Community School. Under the leadership of Mrs. Berndt in collaboration with a devoted staff and the voluntary assistance of many parents, a school developed within a few years, which has found recognition exceeding the boundaries of British Columbia.

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1984 - 2006

In 1984 Mrs. Berndt entrusted the school to Mrs Isolde Hey who furthered its degree of professionalism, gaining yet further recognition both in Canada and Germany. Since 1983 the Surrey German School, as one of the few in Canada, is able to offer preparatory courses leading to the examinations for German Language Diploma I and II. 

The 1991/92 school year marked the introduction of another very unique program: language instruction for children between of the ages 4 and 5. The Surrey German Preschool Program is destined for success and is a forerunner for preschool language instruction in the German language in Canada.
By 1993, 25 teachers saw to the instruction of over 300 students.

From 1991/92 until 1998 three different principals led the school – Johannes Sauer, Siegrun Price and Thomas Falkenberg who all left their distinctive mark on the school.

In 1998, Mrs. Dagmar Cox took over and has provided dynamic leadership as principal of the Surrey German Language School. Mrs. Cox joined the Surrey German school staff as a teacher in 1989. Born in Austria, growing up in Germany, and raising her children in France, Mrs. Cox brought an international perspective to the school. In 1985, her family immigrated to Canada, and they made this country their home.

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2006 - 2021

When Mrs. Cox retired in 2006, Axel Rechlin was promoted to principal. He had been a teacher at the school for the previous 10 years, mainly teaching level eight classes. Axel Rechlin was also a German teacher at the Delta Secondary School from 1999 until his retirement in 2021.

Over the years he was part of the development of the German curriculum with the BC Ministry of Education and is actively involved and held positions in many German language associations in British Columbia. 

In 2012, Adult Classes were introduced as a stable part of the Surrey German Language School. 

During the school year 2020/21 the classes were entirely taught online due to the pandemic. 

The celebrations for the 50th anniversary were postponed until 2022. 

Principals over the years

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40 Jahre SGLS
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