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Dreams and Deeds
National Conference for the Social Studies
Atlanta, Georgia, November 13-15, 2009

Article by Barbara Lemecha and Henrietta Nowakowski
NCSS Co-Chairs, ACPC

"Dreams and Deeds" was the theme of this year’s conference in Atlanta, GA, which took place November 13-15, 2009. Once again the American Council for Polish Culture (ACPC) took advantage of this great opportunity for its "Polish Perspectives" manned booths to interact with teachers, providing them with historically accurate facts and highlighting Polish contributions to American and world history that are not readily available in American text books.

At this 89th Annual Conference with a gathering of 4,000 educators, ACPC presented Polish perspectives on World War II and Polish contributions to the Allied victory. Since the year 2009 marked the 70th Anniversary of the beginning of WWII and the 20th of the Solidarity Movement’s success in expelling Communism, materials were prepared that highlighted Poland’s accomplishments during those periods of time.

ACPC invested in a new display unit and filled it with invaluable educational posters that were acquired especially for this year’s conference. A poster Poland First to Fight, was our main focus, supported by posters featuring Irena Sendler’s heroic deeds, the Battle of Monte Cassino, Solidarity, and a few other posters bearing significant historical facts. Also on display was the poster dedicated to the Kosciuszko Squadron, which was created by the Polish Cultural Club of Greater Hartford.

The ACPC display tables were piled high with books and other printed materials such as: "A Question of Honor", "Null and Void", "Warsaw Uprising", "Enigma", "Night of Flames", "The Mermaid and the Messerschmitt", and perennial favorites "Zegota" and "Legacy of the "White Eagle", among others. Available for distribution were smaller versions of the posters on display, book marks, WWII documentary DVD’s, and ACPC’s custom designed CD containing many resources hyperlinked to web sites of all the supporting organizations as well as other resources.

Another very important addition this year was the WWII brochure "For Your Freedom and Ours", reprinted by ACPC with permission from the Polish Combatants of Canada. All 4000 conference registrants received a copy in their NCSS convention tote bag. Some of the teachers visited our booth because of that brochure. The effort was a grand idea, very well received and truly money well spent.

As we have reported in prior years, this Annual Conference is the largest of its kind where professionals in education from all over the United States and across the globe attend and the American Council for Polish Culture has played an important role in it for the ninth consecutive year. The conference offers teachers an opportunity to find new materials to use in their classrooms and we’ve been there ready to proudly present "Polish Perspectives". ACPC is determined to inspire teachers to engage their students to explore, investigate and learn the true history of Poland, its heroes, physicists, engineers, chemists, poets, composers, scientists, writers, artists and other brilliant figures.

This was probably our best year thus far, not only because of our exceptional displays and the contents, but also because for the first time, the ACPC presented a program before a live audience, "World War II: Perpectives on Fear". The Council was selected as presenters by the NCSS Planning Committee out of 900 applicants. The presentation dealt with the psychological factor effecting individuals’ response to wartime tragedy. Meg Heubeck of the University of Virginia Center for Politics, along with her intern Emily Grannis, and Henrietta Nowakowski spent months gathering information, translating eye witness accounts, personal biographies, and other documents for this power point presentation. The result was a very powerful program that was held in a large meeting room with Meg Huebeck as the main speaker and over 150 teachers in attendance. The presentation was augmented with visual historical military and concentration camp artifacts. We were actually very fortunate to have the artifacts on loan from the WWII Museums of the Orchard Lake Schools in Michigan for the 3 days in Atlanta.

After the presentation, an invigorating ‘question and answer’ segment followed with interesting exchanges of historical facts. After the session many teachers came directly to the APC booth to see what else we had on display, full of questions and interest in our exhibit. Incidentally, this same presentation will be published in the NCSS’s official journal "Social Education", which Ms. Huebeck is preparing.

In closing, we must acknowledge our contributors because without them we would not be as successful. We were very fortunate to have the full support of many organizations here in the U.S. and in Poland. A very special thank you is extended to Bozena Radwanska Zayac of Atlanta who was kind enough to store 28 cartons of materials that were shipped to her home directly from publishers and donors. Additionally, she and her colleagues, Renata Cichocka and Joanna Babinska Grzesiak from the Polish School in Atlanta helped man the booth.

ACPC is grateful for the following:

* Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs for sending 100 copies of "The Roads to Freedom, The Roads to Our Shared Europe" and "Poland: It Started Here 1939-2009".

* Lady Blanka Rosenstiel, Pres. American Institute of Polish Culture for 50 copies of the DVD "Warsaw Rising" and other essential books.

* Dr. Barbara Andersen, Polish American Congress, Washington DC Office for a great assortment of material on WWII.

* Polish Embassy in Washington DC, Ms. Malgorzata Szum; Polish Consulate in Chicago, Mr. Zygmund Matynia and Mr. Mariusz Gbiorczyk; and Fundacja Centrum Solidarnosci in Gdansk, Poland for splendid brochures on the Solidarity Movement.

* Dr. Andrzej Pronczuk, Pres. Polish Cultural Fdn, for supplying bookmarks, and booklets: "Europe via Solidarnosc"; and "Third of May Constitution" that teachers and students love, and other printed materials.

* Marcin Chumiecki of Orchard Lake Polish Mission for posters and WWII resources.

* Thad Cooke and Jamestown Colony of Poles, Cleveland for cartons of books.

* Mary Heslin, Polish Cultural Club of Greater Hartford, for hundreds of pamphlets commemorating the Kosciuszko Squadron.

* Jan Lorys, Dir. Polish Museum of America, for a historical catalogue "Gen. Anders & 2nd Corps".

* Walace & Joann Ozog, Polish Roman Catholic Union of America, for hundreds of Gen. Pulaski and Paderewski booklets.

* Jacek Galazka of Hippocrene Books for donation of a Polish-English dictionary and many copies of "Fighting Warsaw".

* Aquila Polonica Publishing for copies of their book.

* Wally West of Pinellas Park FL for a handout, "Brotherhood in Suffering — World War II Holocaust — The Whole Truth."

* Jaroslaw Golembiowski, composer/pianist of Chicago for his music CDs.

* Jadwiga Gewert, Chopin Foundation, and Peter Obst, ACPC Dir., for their assistance and guidance in the project.

This vision, which began with Irene Szewiola and Wally West, continues to grow and make a real impact. So it is very clear that we must continue this vital project that promotes better understanding of Poland and her people. At the core of our success are organizations and individuals that are financially committed to sustain and improve our "Polish Perspectives" program. We gratefully acknowledge all the contributors in our Polish Heritage quarterly newsletter.

As we reiterate in every report, this event is made possible because of the commitment and resolve of many Polish organizations and individuals who see the need for promoting the "Polish Perspectives" program and we are truly grateful.

This year the 90th Annual NCSS "Vistas, Visions and Voices" Conference will be held in Denver, Colorado on November 12-14, 2010 which will give us another opportunity to "Keep This Heritage Alive."

To assist our mission and to "Keep Our Heritage Alive", please make checks payable to ACPC/NCSS and mail to:

Henrietta Nowakowski
23354 Longview
Dearborn Heights, MI48127
tel: (313) 565-7625

Donations are tax deductible to the extent of the law. Thank you!

Photographs from the Conference

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1. (l. to r.) Debbie Majka, Henrietta Nowakowski, Donna Chmara, Meg Hubek

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2. Debbie Majka greets a visitor

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3. The Fighting Poland poster from 1939

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4. Barbara Lemecha welcomes visitors

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5. Barbara Lemecha at the booth

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6. Henrietta Nowakowski, Vincent E. Marmorale (Human Rights Committee Chairman) from Rockville Center, NY and the New York State Council for the Social Studies, Debbie Majka

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7. Visitors at the booth

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8. Visitors at the booth

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9. Visitors at the booth

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10. Visitors at the booth

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11. (l. to. r.) Barbara Lemecha, ____, ______, Henrietta Nowakowski, Debbie Majka