Published on March 16th, 2017 | by editor0
Celebrating Polish Heritage at Wright College
The week of March 6th marked the beginning of the Polish Heritage celebration on our campus. With a variety of special events and exhibits, we wanted to honor the heritage, culture and significant achievements of Poles in our community and throughout history.
We started our college-wide celebration on Monday, March 6th with the kick-off event featuring authentic Polish food from Montrose Food Mart & Deli (like Polish dumplings [pierogi], cabbage and meat rolls [kapusniaczki, paszteciki], Polish mini-sandwiches and roll-ups, and homemade cookies – to name a few), Polish history, geography and culture, as well as Polish music and artwork of Polish students and faculty.
Tuesday, March 7th, was a day of poetry and book discussion. At 11:00 AM, Professor Malgorzata Dzwonowski presented the poetry of Zbigniew Herbert, one of the main poets voicing opposition to communism in Poland. His poetry reflects the cultural challenges and realities of the time, using universal themes that still resonate today.
At 1:00 PM, Librarian Paulina Dzieza conducted a discussion of “A Polish Book of Monsters” by Michael Kandel, which is an outstanding collection of the best work in Polish science fiction from the past couple of decades.
Finally, at 2:00 PM, we were able to shake off some calories with Dzika Fitness in her fun, high-energy fitness class.
Throughout Tuesday, March 7th, we also enjoyed Polish food in our cafeteria. Taher’s March 7th Polish Heritage Day menu included:
Breakfast menu: Potato Pancakes with sour cream or apple sauce
Entrée: Stuffed Cabbage Rolls – Green leaf cabbage stuffed with seasoned ground beef and smothered in tomato sauce, with rice on the side
Grill special: Rope-style Kielbasa Sausage on a hard roll with kraut and spicy mustard
On Wednesday, March 8th at 12:30 PM, we enjoyed the film screening and discussion with Professor Adrian Guiu, who presented “Witness to Hope: The Life of John Paul II” documenting the life of the third-longest pope in the history of the Roman Catholic Church.
At 7:00 PM, Lajkonik – Polish Song & Dance Ensemble gave an outstanding performance of Polish traditional folk dances and songs and presented costumes from different regions of Poland. It was very engaging and so much fun to watch.
Thursday, March 9th was our last day of celebration. At 11:00 AM, we participated in the Entrepreneurs’ panel discussion where our guest speakers: Matthew Lagodzinski (Accenture), Eva Prokop (GetSet) and Bogna Iwanowska-Solak (Oak Mill Bakery) shared their experience – the challenges and opportunities, and talked about their roles and responsibilities in their current position. After the meeting, we shared the famous Oak Mill Bakery pastries.
From 2:00 PM to 4:00 PM in the Gym, some of students and staff enjoyed playing polska piłka nożna while the rest of us cheered on our favorite team during the Polish soccer tournament. Finals took place on Thursday, March 16th.
We ended our celebration of Polish Heritage with the event at Wright Humboldt Park where staff offered a mix of Polish history, poetry, music, and shared traditional Polish cookies and pastry with the Humboldt Park students.
Events like these during Polish Heritage Week (but also Black History Month, Hispanic Heritage Month, Woman History Month, etc.) provide us with an opportunity to be exposed to things we might not be familiar with that help to shape our future, including education and career choices. They also allow us to get together as a community, and learn about different cultures and nations – their customs and traditions, their history, geography, and their cuisine, while also having some fun. They give us a sense of belonging.
We hope that through such events (through exploring different cultures) people gain a broader perspective and a better understanding of those who surround them or work/live with them.
Thank you to all who assisted in the planning process and during the actual celebration – for their commitment and hard work, and thank you to all of you who participated in the events. A big thank you also to President Potash for his support and guidance.
We were happy and proud to see so many come out and join us for the Polish Heritage Week and we hope that we will be able to continue this in the future.