National Conference for the Social Studies
Washington, DC -- December 2-4, 2011
POLISH PERSPECTIVES BOOTH AMERICAN COUNCIL FOR POLISH CULTUREReport submitted by Raymond and Cecilia Glembocki
NCSS Co-Chairs, ACPC
For over a dozen years, the American Council for Polish Culture (ACPC) has featured a booth "Polish Perspectives" at the annual National Conference for the Social Studies, which is attended by thousands of educators. 4,000 were in attendance at the most recent Conference in Washington, DC. Without the Council's initiative and steady development of this project and the strong support of many Polonia organizations and individuals from across the country, thousands of educators might never know the true history and traditions of our great Polish culture.
The 2011 booth was prepared and manned by the program Co-Chairs Cecilia & Raymond Glembocki. Support for manning the booth came from Mary Flanagan and Jason Franzen. Mrs. Flanagan, author/biographer of Jan Henryk de Rosen in her book With Paintbrush and Sword, was present to address de Rosen's work. The significance of his works are visible in many churches in Washington DC and around the world. A former Social Studies teacher of Minnesota, Mr. Franzen displayed an excellent knowledge of the history not only of Poland but many other countries, which was greatly appreciated by the teachers who engaged him in keen discussions.
Some hundred sponsors willingly supported our educational efforts. Publishers sent valuable books on Polish history, culture and other Polish topics for distribution to teachers. Many Polonia organizations as well as individuals vested monies to this highly successful program. Supporting groups and individuals contributing to the ACPC booth in the 2011 Conference included:
* The Polish American Congress, Washington DC Chapter, which shared the art work for the posters, designed two posters depicting famous Polish inventors and scientists. Dr. Barbara Anderson worked cooperatively on this project. The Polish American Charitable Foundation supported our educational efforts with a donation of $2,500.
* As in past years, Dr. Andrzej Pronczuk, Pres. Polish Cultural Fdn. of Boston, provided fine plastic bookmarks and educational materials that are prized by teachers and students.
* Piast Institute provided CDs containing educational and scholarly papers about Poland.
* The Friends of John Paul II Foundation, Washington, DC contributed copies of the DVD "Nine Days that Changed the World" film depicting Pope John Paul II's visit to Poland, along with lesson plans the Foundation developed, which can be downloaded from the ACPC website, www.polishcultureacpc.org. Many Catholic school educators were thrilled to receive such materials.
* Aquila Polonica offered a generous number of books and bookmarkers. Everyone who picked up the books seemed visually impressed as the stories are compelling.
* The Polish Embassy, Washington DC generously supplied 200 travel-type guide brochures of Poland and 200 Polish Cuisine cook books. The latter was a favorite book as many of the recipies featured famous chefs known for their fine Polish cuisine throughout Poland. The Embassy also supplied 200 bookmarkers and 200 pencils for the teachers.
* Dr. Wanda O'Brien-Trefil, Ph.D contributed a lesson plan: "Research Your Heritage with a Cooking Project" for 8th grade students. Cecilia Glembocki presented a lesson plan, "Linking Cultures and Enriching Lives" through her work for years at the White House Easter Roll in displaying Springtime traditions. These two lesson plans are available on CD and through the ACPC website www.polishcultureacpc.org.
* A new poster of Marie Sklodowska Curie, designed by Carla Tomaszewska, was exhibited for the first time at our booth. Five hundred of these 11x17 posters were distributed during the Conference. Madame Curie was a most inspirational female scientist. She was the only Pole in the list of 25 most influential women in the 20th century by Time magazine in 2010. 2011 marked the 100th anniversary of Curie's Nobel Peace Prize award. Our Polish Perspectives team worked cooperatively with the Intl. Division of the American Chemistry Society as it held an event in the Capitol Rotunda celebrating Marie Curie with Senator Barbara Mikulski presiding over this prestigious event and supplied 75 T-shirts for the teachers.
* Since many teachers requested craft ideas for elementary children, Connie Donnelly of Fall Church, VA developed craft kits and directions for Polish dolls and the poppies.
* There were 500 additional posters that featured Jamestown's Polish craftsmen and three previously designed posters by Barbara Lemecha and Henrietta Nowakowski who had chaired this Social Studies project in prior years. A CD previously developed by Lemecha and Nowakowski provided a complete history of Poland's major events, historians and military heroes who not only fought wars in Poland, but were also recognized for their contributions to American history.
* Teachers found irresistible the contribution of Adamba Imports -- delicious raspberry candies imported from Poland!
Our exhibit called "Polish Perspectives" was located in the International Alley of the huge Convention Center. By selecting a corner booth, we provided hundreds of teachers a view of our displays from many angles. With more than 1,000 posters available, the teachers just wanted each one as they were a perfect 11 x 18 size and pre-rolled for their travels.
The Polish Perspectives display consisted of three large panels that served as a background for the booth. The displays were designed by Carla Tomazewska of Maryland. The panels pictured stories of Poland's history. Comments from teachers visiting the booth revealed the Pole's in-depth history "remarkable", "reflective", and "enduring through all the ages", and indicated that they knew that the Poles were persistent and no other country had given so much destroyed by some and yet to rise again with pride and dignity.
On the Traditions table, the booth featured a Polish craft called Wycinanki, decorative paper cutouts from Poland, a Christmas tree decorated with Polish straw ornaments donated by Deborah Majka, and a lovely Szopka (creche) featuring a scene of the nativity donated by Edyta Dudek. The traditions display also featured Polish pottery, Boleslawiec and an Easter basket filled with Pisanki (hand-colored Easter eggs). These displays thrilled attendees as they recalled holiday celebrations at home or visits with Polish families. Some indicated they were inspired to prepare such displays in their classrooms.
The Co-Chairs, Cecilia & Raymond Glembocki, together with supporting team members, Mary Flanagan and Jason Franzen, feel that they have been privileged to share their Polish heritage and appreciation of Polish culture with thousands of educators at the National Conference for the Social Studies in Washington, DC. "It was more than we had expected, to be so thrilled to be Polish and to address teachers, curriculum specialists and department heads from schools, colleges and universities." They found it priceless that others whose parents/grandparents were of Polish descent, loved seeing the exhibit and recalled growing up in loving and sharing households with the Oplatek, Swieconka, Wigilia and other traditional ceremonies. Now that they are involved in teaching, the teachers, too want to share their Polish traditions, historical highlights and clarification of misconceptions with their students.
More than 50 teachers signed our Polish Perspectives' guest book requesting posters or offering complimentary comments, e.g., "Wonderful display & presentation", "Can use your materials in Social Studies and Religion", "What a wonderful booth filled with amazing Polish cultural items" etc.
The Polish Perspectives Committee is already hard at work developing plans for the 2012 Conference in Seattle, Washington in November.
To assist our mission and to "Keep Our Heritage Alive", please make checks payable to ACPC/NCSS and mail to:
Cecilia and Raymond Glembocki e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
ACPC NCSS (National Conference for Social Studies)
911 Saddleback Court
McLean, Virginia 22102-1317
tel: 703 790-1984, cell: 703 501 6152
Next year's (2012) event will take place in Seattle, Washington in November
You are most welcome to join us and tell your story, share your Polish Culture.
Donations are tax deductible to the extent of the law. Thank you!
1. (l. to. r.) Jason Franzen, Cecilia Glembocki, Raymond Glembocki, Mary Flanagan
2. Cecilia Glembocki (center) and friends
3. Jason Franzen at the book table
4. (l. to. r.) Jason Franzen, Mary Flanagan, Raymond Glembocki
5. Poster of Famous Polish Scientists