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American Council
for Polish Culture

Spring Board Meeting Report

Date: Friday, Apr. 8 and Saturday, Apr. 9, 2011
Place: Chicago, IL

Hosts: Polish Arts Club of Chicago
Dr. Vivian Walkosz, president


by Jo Louise Winters

It is always a great pleasure for the American Council for Polish Culture (ACPC) to participate in Board Meetings and Conventions sponsored by such Affiliate members as the Polish Arts Club of Chicago, Dr. Vivian A. Walkosz, President. Ms. Walkosz, MA Ed, has an interesting background. As a professor in the Curriculum Dept. for Northeastern Illinois Univ., she taught courses in mathematics and mathematical & science methods at graduate and undergraduate levels, and authored new courses of study. She was appointed by Mayors Daley and Byrne to the Chicago Manpower Planning Council. Dr. Walkosz's love for her Polish Heritage began very early in her life and intensified over the years. ACPC honors Dr. Walkosz as an important leader in the fields of Polish culture and heritage. ACPC members attending the Spring Board Meeting were most appreciative of the superb arrangements made by Dr. Walkosz and the Club's welcoming committee.

ACPC President Deborah Majka opened the Spring Board Meeting and provided copies of the agenda for the weekend. The business session began with a report by Mrs. Camille Kopielski, Chair ACPC Summer Studies in Poland Scholarship. Mrs. Kopielski announced that two students had been chosen for summer studies at universities of their choosing in Poland. Each winner will receive a $2,000 scholarship. Past winners have invariably submitted highly enthusiastic reports about their experiences, particularly at the Jagiellonian University in Krakow ­ enriching their Polish language skills, taking weekend tours including hikes in scenic mountain ranges, and visiting old salt mines with beautiful crystalline sculptures.

Marcia Lewandowski, Chair of Membership Outreach Committee, reported on the successful launching of our Affiliate Matching Grants program. The Committee selected two winners. In 2010, our $500 grant went to the Polish Arts Club of Trenton, NJ for its literary competition "World War II: Behind Closed Doors, Stalin, the Nazis and the West". The current $500 grant goes to the Polish Arts Club of Youngstown, OH for its area High School Student Art Contest, Jan. 3 ­ Feb. 2011. Both Affiliate organizations submitted excellent well-conceived proposals. A determination was made to offer two additional grants to projects initiated by ACPC Affiliates. Information as to deadlines and requirements for submitting proposals are posted on the ACPC website Go to ACPC website Home Page.

Marion V. Winters, Chairman of the Pulaski Scholarships for Advanced Study Committee announced the two winners of the 2011 competition: Lisamarie Gora of Colonia, NJ, a Juris Doctor candidate at the NY Law School, and Beata Hrynkiewicz of Wethersfield, CT, a PhD candidate in Physical Therapy at the University of CT. The $5,000 checks will be presented on ACPC's behalf to Ms. Gora by the Polish Arts Club of Trenton, NJ and to Ms. Hrynkiewicz by the Polish Cultural Club of Greater Hartford. Mr. Winters has submitted a press release to the Polonia press describing the remarkable achievements of these two outstanding students.

Mr. Winters also reported on behalf of Ms. Ursula Brodowicz, Chair of the Skalny Scholarships for Polish Studies in Memory of Louis & Nellie Skalny, that following the filing deadline of May 15, 2011, the Committee will select two scholarship winners of $3,000 each.

Music Chair Alicia Dutka announced that our annual $2,000 Marcella Sembrich Music prize will be awarded to the selected vocalist at the ACPC's Convention in Cleveland, July 2011.

Jamestown Marker Committee Chairman Tom Payne successfully applied for approval of a marker honoring craftsmen from Poland for their exceptional skills which contributed richly to the success of the Jamestown Settlement in the early 1600s. Board members congratulated Mr. Payne and were very pleased with the statement he prepared for the plaque, which will cost $1,500. The VA Dept. of Transportation still needs to review and approve the marker location and installation logistics. Assuming that these matters will be finalized this year, our Board Meeting Arranger Committee will prepare for a Fall Board Meeting at Jamestown in October, 2012. Mr. Payne will develop an appropriate program and commemoration ceremony for the historical event.

In the absence of Awards Committee Chair Mary Flanagan, Marion Winters served as temporary chair. He has submitted the results of selections made by the Committee and the Board to Mrs. Flanagan who will contact the chosen candidates to determine their availability to accept the awards at our Convention this summer in Cleveland, OH.

News that the ACPC's very talented and energetic President, Debbie Majka was recently selected as the first Honorary Consul for the Republic of Poland caused spontaneous applause to erupt at length. 1st V.P. Bernadette Wiermanski presented an ACPC award honoring Debbie for the Embassy's appointment to such distinguished status. The award consisted of a beautiful wooden clock and two pens for her desk as well as a matching wooden holder for business cards. More applause followed revealing the happiness expressed by the admiring ACPC attendees. Three days after our Chicago meeting, over a hundred friends, well-wishers, leaders of Polonia organizations, and diplomats from other countries gathered at the elegant Stotesbury Mansion in Philadelphia to witness the formal inauguration of Deborah M. Majka as the newest Honorary Consul of the Republic of Poland. Conducting the official ceremony were Robert Kupiecki, Ambassador of the Republic of Poland in DC, and Marek Skulimowski, Deputy Consul General in NY City. The Ambassador expressed the fact that a long time need was at last being filled and his pleasure that such a highly qualified candidate could be found to fill this vital post.

The highlight of the ACPC Board Meeting in Chicago was clearly our visit, to the "jewel of Polonia" the Polish Museum of America, established in 1935. The event was magnificently organized by Pres. Vivian Walkosz and members of the Polish Arts Club of Chicago. The full story of the Museum's history from creation to the recent remarkable renovations was presented eloquently by the Museum's President Mrs. Maria Ciesla. We had the opportunity to stand in awe before many priceless paintings and historical artifacts as we strolled through the richly refurbished Museum. We were treated to a special tour of the famed Paderewski Room with a true expert, Jan Lorys, Museum Director with special focus on the life of the famous Polish pianist, composer and statesman. Here we beheld many of Ignacy Paderewski's personal belongings, including his priceless piano, his desk and even the pen used to sign the Paris Peace Treaty in 1919.

Our host club topped off the exciting afternoon with a magnificent luncheon that included champagne and had most everyone going back for seconds of the very tasty meal! Our recollections of the ACPC Spring Board Meeting in Chicago, Illinois will live in our memories for a long, long time.

The 2011 ACPC Annual Convention will be hosted by the Polish American Cultural Center, John Paul II, in Cleveland, OH, Mr. Ben Stefanski, Pres. It is scheduled for July 13-16 at the Hilton Garden Inn (members will be furnished with full details by the Host Club). Go to Convention Information

Photographs courtesy of Jacqueline Kolowski.

[Photograph Chicago Meeting]

1. At the Business Meeting - (l. to r.) Jo Louise and Marion Winters, Teresa N. and Walter Wojcik

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2. Marion Winters reports on the Pulaski Scholarship Awards

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3. Tom Payne reports on the successful application for a Jamestown Poles 1608 historical marker

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4. Lunch at the Polish Museum Main Hall

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5. Lunch at the Polish Museum Main Hall - (l. to. r.) Museum President Dr. Maria Ciesla, Polish Arts Club of Chicago President Dr. Vivian Walkosz

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6. Lunch at the Polish Museum Main Hall

[Photograph Chicago Meeting]

7. Lunch at the Polish Museum Main Hall

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8. Lunch at the Polish Museum Main Hall

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9. Lunch at the Polish Museum Main Hall

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10. Museum President Maria Ciesla speaks during lunch at the Polish Museum Main Hall

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11. Touring the Polish Museum - (l. tp r.) Ilona Frederick, Audrea Heschmeyer, Museum Director Jan Lorys, Peter Obst

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12. Touring the Polish Museum - Ignacy Jan Paderewski Room

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13. Touring the Polish Museum with Museum Director Jan Lorys

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14. Debbie Majka - ACPC President and now Honorary Consul, Polish Republic for the Philadelphia area