American Council for Polish Culture - Annual Convention
Hyatt Regency Hotel in Buffalo, NY; July 30 - August 2, 2014
Please note that many of the names in this article are linked to biographies and additional information. We encourage you to look at this information.
Convention opens with a greeting from president Mary Ellen Tyszka.
(l. to r.) Councilman David A. Franczyk, Tom Payne, Mary Ellen Tyszka, Debbie Majka, Judge Carl Bucki
The American Council for Polish Culture Convention in Buffalo, NY
from a report by Janet Hedin
This year's American Council for Polish Culture (ACPC) 66th Annual Convention was held at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in downtown Buffalo, New York, July 29 - August 2, 2014. The opening ceremony began with the Chopin Singing Society leading the assembly in the Polish and United States national anthems. Then the group was greeted by Buffalo Councilman David A. Franczyk. He was followed by the keynote speaker, Honorable Carl Bucki, Chief Judge U.S. Bankruptcy Court, with an inspiring speech about the history and influence of Polonia in Buffalo. A greeting from John Micgiel, the recently installed president of the Kosciuszko Foundation, who was unable to attend in person, was read into the record.
The sessions were led by Mary Ellen Tyszka who assumed the presidency from Camille Kopielski after her resignation due to health problems. Judi Tompkins took on the job of treasurer from Greg Biestek. Tom Payne moved up to First Vice-president, while Alicia Dutka was appointed to the Second Vice-presidency.
All of the ACPC committees reported on their accomplishments during the previous year. Co-Chairs Ceil and Ray Glembocki spoke about the ACPC display booth and the successful presentation by Rita Cosby at the National Conference for Social Studies (NCSS) in St. Louis. They outlined their plans for the Boston Conference in November. After the presentation many of the delegates and affiliates pledged financial support.
A new feature of the convention this year was an informative workshop, members heard how their organizations could benefit from the varied resources available within the ACPC. Members were provided with detailed information regarding the Affiliate Grant Program, archiving their records, borrowing ACPC's posters for an exhibit, submitting articles regarding affiliate activities for the Heritage newsletter, and the opportunities to benefit from the ACPC Literary competition and scholarship programs.
The new ACPC Education Committee Chair, Peter Obst, reported that it was not successful in dealing with the administrators of the National History Day Competition (NHD). For various reasons, we will not be able to present medals to two outstanding finalists for entries relating to Polish and Polish-American History at the University of Maryland 2015 finals. The ACPC, however, will send letters of congratulations and certificates to the 11 students who made it to the finals this year and whose entries incorporated events from Polish history.
During Thursday's lunch, historian Gregory Witul gave an interesting, humorous, and informative talk about the history and cultural influence of Polonia in Buffalo. He also led a bus tour of the historic Polish sites of Buffalo. The group stopped at St. Stanislaus Bishop & Martyr and Assumption BVM Churches, the Broadway Market, took photos on Superman Corner, had drinks at the Mickiewicz Library and contemplated the spiritually inspired architecture of Corpus Christi Church.
The winner of this year's Marcella Sembrich Vocal Competition, Alexandra Nowakowski, delighted the delegates with a recital that included selections from Fryderyk Chopin as well as from composers Francis Poulenc, Vincenzo Bellini, Charles Gounod, and Jules Massenet. She was accompanied beautifully by pianist Jianan Yu. For the encore she sang the Jerzy Petersburski nostalgic tango "To ostatnia niedziela" with unexpected accompaniment by our own Dr. Wanda O'Brien-Trefil, The Sembrich Music Committee Chair. (see program)
In the convention's resolutions several important events were incorporated. The first was the wreath laying ceremony in recognition of Lt. Col. Matt Urban held on August 23rd at Arlington National Cemetery. A signed copy of his autobiography, "The Matt Urban Story: Our Most Decorated Combat Soldier" was donated by Henrietta Nowakowski to the library of Cornell University, Lt. Col. Matt Urban's alma mater.
The other important events included in the resolutions were: the 70th Anniversary of the outbreak of the Warsaw Uprising on August 1, 1944; 75th Anniversary of the invasion of Poland which began World War II on September 1, 1939; and the 100th Anniversary of the start of World War I -- originally called "The Great War to End All Wars" -- on June 28, 1914.
The convention concluded with the Awards Banquet. Recipients of the ACPC's Founders Award were Mary Ann Mlynarski (Youngstown, OH) and Angelus "Angie" Iwanczyk (Pittsburgh, PA); the ACPC Career Achievement Award went to Fr. Philip S. Majka, our longtime spiritual shepherd; the ACPC Cultural Achievement Award was presented to Polonia activist Szymon Tolak (Boston, MA), and the ACPC Distinguished Service Award given to Marcin Chumiecki of the Orchard Lake Schools' Polish Mission.
At conclusion of the proceedings the delegates were in agreement that it was a very productive convention and went home energized to continue the mission of promoting Polish heritage in their own local clubs and communities.
The ACPC promotes Polish culture, art and heritage, through numerous programs, initiatives, and scholarship programs. Further information can be found on the web site at www.polishcultureacpc.org
ACPC Convention Photographs
Group photo taken (by Greg Witul) during the tour of Buffalo, ACPC President Mary Ellen Tyszka (center)
There were approximately 50 persons attending the convention, but not all took advantage of the opportunity to join the group tour
1. The Chopin Singing Society with Dr. Thomas Witakowski
2. A rendition of the Polish and US National Anthems
3. Shopping at the Broadway Market
4. Drinking at the Mickiewicz Library, while tour guide Greg Witul tends bar
5. Debbie Majka and Fr. Thaddeus Bocianowski at St. Stanislaw B & M Church
6. Waiting for the "man from Krypton" on Superman corner - Jaroslaw Golembiowski and Barbara Lemecha
7. At St. Stanislaw Bishop and Martyr Church, Greg Witul presents
8. At Assumption BVM Church, Greg Witul explains
9. The Lt. Col. Matt Urban Award Plaque 9a. John Paul II Reliquary at St. Stanislaw's Church
10. Mary Ellen Tyszka, Al Hennessey and Alice Lanning
11. The assembled delegates
12. Buffalo Councilman David A. Franczyk
13. Judge Carl Bucki 13a. Award winning singer Alexandra Nowakowski
14. ACPC President Marry Ellen Tyszka and singer Alexandra Nowakowski
15. Accompanist Jianan Yu, singer Alexandra Nowakowski
16. Music Committee Dr. Jaroslaw Golembiowski, Dr. Wanda O'Brien-Trefil, Mary Ellen Tyszka,
Alexandra Nowakowski (winner of the Sembrich Vocal Competition) and Alicia Dutka
17. Singer Alexandra Nowakowski at the recital
18. Debbie Majka and Greg Witul
19. (l. to r.) Mary Ellen Tyszka, Tom Payne, Founders Award recipient Mary Ann Mlynarski, and Marcia Lewandowski
20. Ron and Cecile Glembocki present items for the 2014 NCSS Conference
21. Jacqueline Kolowski and Judge Carl Bucki
22. Barbara Lemecha and Councilman David A. Franczyk
23. President Mary Elen Tyszka and award Recipient Marcin Chumiecki
24. Detroit Group Photo with Marcin Chumiecki and family
25. 1st VP Tom Payne and award recipient Szymon Tolak
26. Award Recipient Ange Iwanczyk and 2nd VP Alicia Dutka
27. Marion and Jo Louise Winters
28. Drs. Jim and Wanda O'Brien-Trefil on a side trip to Niagara Falls
29. Mary and Robert Flanagan
30. Helen and Tad Cooke
31. (l. to r.) Jaroslaw Golembiowski, Richard Wiermanski, Debbie Majka, Tom Payne, Ted Mirecki
See you at the 2015 ACPC Convention!