Pulaski Association of Business, Polish Army Veterans and the Polish National Home raised money textbooks for children at P.S.34 in Greenpoint Brooklyn.
Published on February 7, 2023
The Greenpoint P.S.34 Elementary School hosted representatives of the Pulaski Association of Business and Professional Men, the Polish National Home, the Polish Army Veterans Association of America, the parent committee and the Polish press on Friday, February 3. The event was organized to thank donors for raising funds to purchase books needed to teach the Polish language in the Dual Language program.
- Thank you very much for funding the venture, but also for allowing direct contact with Polish publishers - said school principal, Mr. Alain Beugoms. - Access to Polish textbooks and educational books is not that easy at all, because there are no direct contacts between the Department of Education and Polish publishers. But it is you Polish activists, representatives of the Pulaski Business Association, the Veterans and the Polish National Home who have proved to be a bridge between these institutions, and this is an invaluable help to our children. Principal Beugoms, teachers and parents emphasize that the bilingual program is a great tool for language learning.
- The whole city should be familiar with it, as it is an excellent option for children and their parents - director Beugoms said. - As for Greenpoint, which is a historically well-known Polish neighborhood, this makes such a program all the more useful here. It was created for many reasons, but primarily for children whose first language is Polish and are just learning English. And so far there has been no better program that allows them to learn both languages simultaneously.
The Dual Polish-English Language Program is not mandatory and any student can join. The age range is from kindergarteners to fifth grade students.
- Its participants include children whose first language is Polish, but need to learn English, but also children whose first language is English, but in turn want to learn Polish because their grandparents or even great-grandparents came from Poland - Principal explains. - Knowledge of any second language, moreover, is a great advantage and a skill that will be useful in the future.
The children themselves confirmed to the visitors that they enjoy learning both languages.
- When I came to America I only spoke Polish, but once I started speaking English, I suddenly started having problems with Polish - said Maja, one of the students of PS 34. - But now, thanks to the fact that I'm learning in this very program, those problems have disappeared.
The advantages of the program are also seen by parents, who made every effort to make sure their children had access to it.
- This is a fantastic school and teachers with real passion work here - says Katarzyna Kajosi, mother of 7-year-old Emilka. - I live in Greenpoint, my children went to a Polish kindergarden because I always wanted them to speak Polish. I myself came to America when I was 4 years old and I speak Polish, but I have problems with reading and writing. And now, thanks to the fact that my daughter is in the program, I help her with homework and learn on my own. Even my dad laughs that I started speaking Polish better thanks to it.
- There is nothing more beautiful than giving books to children so they can learn the Polish language in exile. I'm glad that there are people and organizations among the Polish community who have a sense of social responsibility and without hesitation made donations that make it possible to purchase books for all classes at P.S. 34. This is our duty to the Polish community and at the same time a beautiful act of patriotism - said Grzegorz Fryc, president of the Pulaski Association of Business, whose son Julian is a student at PS 34 and, of course, part of the bilingual program.
A textbook donation of $6,500 will allow the school to purchase Polish textbooks and exercises for the more than 150 children who study in the bilingual program in Greenpoint.
Individuals, organizations and companies that helped the Polish students and teachers are: Pulaski Association of Business and Professional Men, Polish National Home, Polish Army Veterans Association, Roger Kwapisiewicz of Z&R Funding, Piotr Praszkowicz of PDP Contracting, Mariusz "Harry" Konopka of Harry's Contracting Inc. Pawel Sabaj an accident lawyer from Sabaj Law Firm, Grzegorz Fryc from GramX Promotions and Anna Kosakowska from Skin Gems.
- PS 34 is a school with a flagship dual language program and can always count on our support, but we wish the Polish business community would be more sensitive to the needs of all schools attended by Polish children in the tri-state area because additional support is always needed and Polish youth are, after all, our future - President Fryc added.
Principal Alain Beugoms further explained that the school runs a 50/50 program model, meaning that during classes students receive half of their instruction in English and the other half in Polish.
The possibility of creating a Polish-English bilingual curriculum was the hard work of many people. A special thanks is due here to Alicia Winnicka, superintendent of the 14th District of the New York City Department of Education, her colleague in charge of bilingual programs Elsa Nunez, now retired PS 34 school teacher Elzbieta Cząstkiewicz, who created the first materials for the work, former PS 34 principal Carmen Asselta, who decided to introduce the program at the school, and many others.
The Dual Polish-English Language Program is the first of its kind established on the East Coast of the United States.