News Flash


Posted on: March 24, 2023

Council welcomes German exchange students, recognizes WPSCA

Council, Tracey Trimble, and German Exchange students and staff, March 21, 2023

The City of Lenoir Council welcomed a group of German exchange students and recognized the 30-Year Anniversary of the Western Piedmont Sister Cities Association during the Council meeting Tuesday, March 21, 2023.

Twelve German students and two chaperones are currently staying in Lenoir as part of the German American Partnership Program (GAPP). Sascha Sanderlin, a German and Spanish language teacher at Hibriten High School (HHS), manages the program here in Lenoir.

"The students and chaperones fly into New York from Germany and view important American sites including New York City, Washington D.C. and Williamsburg. Then, they stay in Lenoir for two school weeks," Sanderlin said. "While here in Caldwell County, they stay with host families, where they experience the purpose behind the exchange - to experience the American way of life through the host family and the local school and have an exchange of cultural perspectives and practices."

The exchange groups come to Lenoir every two years. Anyone interested in being a host family can email Mr. Sanderlin at

Council also recognized the 30-year anniversary of the Western Piedmont Sister Cities Association (WPSCA). City of Lenoir Mayor Joe Gibbons read and presented a resolution to Tracey Trimble, WPSCA Chair & Catawba County Designee. 

WPSCA was officially organized in 1992 and incorporated as a regional non-profit in 1993.  In 1997, WPSCA made international history by connecting four counties located within the Western Piedmont region of North Carolina (Alexander, Burke, Caldwell and Catawba), together with the Altenburger Land, a region located in the central part of Germany in the former East German Federal State of Thuringia.

During the past 30 years, WPSCA has organized many cultural exchanges between the Unifour and Altenburger Land.

Click the following link to learn more about and get involved with WPSCA,

Resolution Honoring 30 Year Anniversary of the Western Piedmont Sister Cities Association

WHEREAS, Western Piedmont Sister Cities Association became an official non-profit organization on March 24, 1993, representing Alexander, Burke, Caldwell, and Catawba Counties, as well as the municipalities within those counties; and

WHEREAS, Western Piedmont Sister Cities Association (WPSCA) chose to pursue a Sister Cities relationship with Altenburger Land Region in Germany due to the area’s strong culture and business ties to that country; and

WHEREAS, in 1997, WPSCA made international history becoming the first ever region-to-region member of Sister Cities International (SCI); and 

WHEREAS, 2023 marks the 30-year anniversary between the Western Piedmont Sister Cities Association and the Altenburger Land Region in Germany; and

WHEREAS, during the past 30 years, there have been countless in-person exchanges, programs, and official delegation visits between the two regions including high school and sports exchanges, government and business exchanges, arts and cultural exchanges, and community service projects; and

WHEREAS, WPSCA plans to celebrate their 30-year anniversary throughout 2023 and encourages Mayors, Commissioners, and leaders representing our four-county region to donate items to be placed in a time capsule commemorating the anniversary; and

WHEREAS, representatives from Altenburger Land will be visiting this region during Oktoberfest this year to honor and celebrate their partnership with WPSCA; and 

WHEREAS, WPSCA will bury the time capsule at the Western Piedmont Council of Governments property during the Altenburger Land delegation’s official visit.

NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that I, Joseph L. Gibbons, Mayor, and on behalf of the City of Lenoir Council and all the citizens, do hereby congratulate Western Piedmont Sister Cities Association on their 30-year anniversary and encourage our citizens to support and participate in all activities connected with this special year of celebration.

Council, Tracey Trimble, and German Exchange students and staff, March 21, 2023

Pictured from left in front of the dais, German exchange students Elric, Tobias, HHS German teacher Sascha Sanderlin, Felix, WPSCA Chair Tracey Trimble, Noah, Mayor Joe Gibbons, Svenja, German teacher Gregor Fuetterer, Skrollan, German teacher Svea Beiser, Lisa Marie, Maren, Marlene, Lisa, and Noemi. City Council is standing behind the dais. Pictured from left: Councilman Kent Greer, Mayor Pro Tem Crissy Thomas, Councilmen Ralph Prestwood and Todd Perdue, City Manager Scott Hildebran, Councilmen David Stevens, Ike Perkins, and Jonathan Beal, and City Attorney T.J. Rohr.

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