Jockel with "little bro" Brody Wisener
Exchange student enjoying transition
By Michael Butler
Patrick Jockel is new to Tallassee. The 15-year-old tenth grader is a German exchange student who attends Tallassee High School.
Jockel arrived in Alabama to meet his new family, the Wiseners, four months ago.
"He arrived for picture day of football," said Tommy Wisener, who is playing the fatherly role. "It's been a good experience."
Jockel has been learning English since third grade. The Alabama dialect has been a slight adjustment.
"At the beginning it was a little bit difficult," Jockel said. "It's gotten better. I can understand most people now. They can understand me."
This now home away from home, which is near Frankfurt with a population of approximately 750,000.
Jockel at basketball practice
"That's the biggest difference, living in the country and not in the city," added Jockel, who admitted to feeling a little homesick with the onset of the holiday season near.
"He's done great and fit right in with our family and the school," Wisener said. "To be that far away from your family at 15-years-old, I don't know many American kids that could have done that."
At 6-6, Jockel is a towering figure on the athletic field. He played soccer in Germany. He played football in Tallassee and is currently on the THS basketball squad.
"I wanted to play football. I watched it on TV," he said. "It was really exciting this year."
Jockel was a placekicker for the Tigers. His range on field goals was from 45-48 yards. Coach Cecil Hollinquest asked Jockel to come out for basketball.
"It's a little more exhausting than just kicking a football," said Jockel.
"He's a soccer guy and never played basketball before," THS head basketball coach Cecil Hollinquest said. "He's got a lot of promise."
The student-athlete role has been relatively easy in the classroom. Jockel is a straight-A student.
"His lowest grade on his report card was a 96," Wisener noted.
Jockel getting into the holiday spirit with the Wiseners.
Pictured (left to right):
Jill, Jacob, Brody, Santa, Patrick, Tommy.
Jockel also enjoys American cuisine.
"It's my kind of food. I like eating burgers and pizza." His favorites are Tommy's ribs and Jill's lasagne.
Jockel like's being around the Wisener boys too.
"It's fun. They're really nice. I'm hanging around with Jacob all the time. I play Madden with Brody."
The Wiseners have enjoyed the new addition as well.
"Watching how excited he gets doing new things is really fun. I'm glad we did it," Wisener said. "He's like our own. He calls us Tommy and Jill, and every once in a while he'll say mom or dad."