ACPC 60TH Annual Convention at Williamsburg, VA

Dr. Thaddeus Radzilowski

The keynote address was presented by Dr. Thaddeus Radzilowski, President, of The Piast Institute.  Dr. Radzilowski explained the real meaning of traditions – the living faith of the dead – the stories of lives before us, which enrich the future. We have a rich storehouse in traditions.  With that heritage we need to use those tools now to influence the future.

The evening preceding the convention opening included a brief business session followed by a film presentation and a Welcome Reception.  2nd VP Peter Obst introduced the film, a documentary after 4 years in the making, by Jolanta Chojecka, which premiered in Poland last year – the most authoritative and complete documentary of Gen. Pulaski’s life and times.  ACPC was one of several major sponsors supporting the film.  Those wishing to obtain a copy on DVD (both English & Polish versions on one disk) may reference the ACPC website:

A highlight of the Convention was the event commemorating the 400th anniversary of the arrival of the first Polish craftsmen in the Jamestown Settlement.   Joining the ACPC at the site where the ceremony took place were the National Medical & Dental Assn. (NMDA) and the National Advocates Society (NAS).  The ceremony began with an invocation by Msgr. Stanley Milewski who was joined by the assemblage in prayer.   Rev. Timothy Whalen, Chancellor of Orchard Lake Schools, followed with a spiritual message about the moral and religious values that these early Poles introduced to our country.  ACPC president Thaddeus Mirecki and NAS president George R. Szymanski, who also represented NMDA at this event, each laid a wreath at the historic bronze plaque, which was donated by the Polish Falcons of America in 1958, and reads in part: FIRST POLES/LANDED IN JAMESTOWN, VIRGINIA/OCTOBER 1, 1608/ARRIVED ABOARD BRITISH SAILER/“MARY AND MARGARET”

Falcons' plaque at Jamestown
A large throng of the members of the three national organizations as well as many onlookers had gathered to witness the moving ceremony.  Presidents Mirecki and Szymanski addressed the crowd, reciting the rich historic contributions the Poles made here and their amazing exploits, e.g., organizing the first industry (making/blowing glass products) on American soil; producing soap and tar; building the first lumber mill; digging the first fresh water wells, and initiating and winning the first labor strike in America for civil rights.  The latter victory won for the Poles the privilege of voting equally with the British settlers according to a document sent by the British government, which added that “…some young men shall be put unto them to learn their skill and knowledge therein for the benefit of the country hereafter.”  Thus the Poles were officially recognized as our first teachers in trades and perhaps we can even rightfully refer to them as the “Fathers of American Industry.”  

Following this moving event, the participants were free to tour and explore Jamestown, from the quaint shops down the main street to a large museum, an Indian Village and the waterfront to visit a replica of the ship which brought the first settlers to these shores.  It was an enjoyable and great learning experience for everyone. 


The Board was privileged to enjoy a luncheon presentation after a business session by Ms. Meg Huebeck, Deputy Director, Youth Leadership Initiatives, University of Virginia Center for Politics.


A concert, commemorating the 150th Anniversary of the birth of Marcella Kochanska Sembrich, featured mezzo-soprano Justyna Di Biaggio, who won ACPC’s Sembrich Vocal Competition last year, accompanied by ACPC’s Music Chairman Jaroslaw Golembiowski.  What a spellbinding concert!  Ms. Di Biaggio’s singing enthralled the audience with varied and delightful presentations from the works of Chopin, Mozart, Moniuszko and G. Bizet.  Among the favorites was Bizet’s Sequidilla from Carmen as Justyna’s eloquently vibrant voice and her flirtatious presentation beguiled the rapt listeners, firing their imaginations to seeing Justyna at a full production of the Carmen opera itself.  In contrast, her presentations of Moniuszko’s tranquil Kotek and Piesn Wieczorna were conveyed in lilting and softly caressing tones. 

Ms. Di Biaggio’s performance was enriched by the performance of Mr. Golembiowski at the piano.  There was truly a dynamic interaction of the vocal and piano renditions, with many in the audience expressing the view that this concert was among the very best in our Sembrich series.  Additionally, Mr. Golembiowski offered piano presentations of his compositions,  Zdrowas Mario Op.61, Eight O’clock, Nine O’clock, and Menuet at Ten O’clock from Op 113.  His masterful performance seized the audience’s rapt attention and won energetic and prolonged applause to demonstrate the listener’s appreciation for his enormous talents.  The stirring concert closed as the audience rose simultaneously rendering thunderous applause for an outstanding performance by both artists.      

During the course of the convention business sessions, 2nd V.P. Peter Obst reported the following on a program that he and Director Paul Bosse have been developing: “For the second half of 2009, Iwona Stefaniak, head of the Pulaski Museum in Warka, Poland, is organizing an exhibit entitled ‘Polish Churches in the United States.’  To make an informative display she is looking for photographs, programs, postcards, jubilee books, church bulletins and other items from Polish parishes in the U.S.  Thanks to several generous donors, including Past Pres. Debbie Majka and Al Koproski, Pres. of our Affiliate Polish American Cultural Society of Stamford CT, she has already received some very interesting and valuable items.  At the same time, Poland’s Ministry of Culture & National Heritage is compiling an information database of Polish parishes abroad.  The Museum has agreed to share the materials with the Ministry, but these will remain stored in the Museum’s archives, forming part of its Polonia collection.  All donors will be acknowledged in a program that will be published for the exhibit.  Paul Bosse is heading up the collection effort.  He may be reached at 20 South Edgewater Ave., Yardley PA 19067; tele: 215-493-4169; or e-mail to [email protected].  Our sincere thanks to all the people who have helped this effort already.”

Jacqueline Droleski submitted the names of the nominees for election and they were all accepted by acclamation:  Auditor – Marie Hejnosz, Philadelphia; Directors – Sharon Brzostowski, DC; Jacqueline Droleski, Elmira NY; Alicia Dutka, Chicago; Alice Lech-Laning, DC; Robert Maycan, Chicago; Mary Pearlman, DC.  Nominating CommitteeFlorence Beane, DC; Ed Pawlowski, DC.   Credentials & Grievances Committee – Matthew Meleski, Detroit; Irene Musman, Philadelphia; Ann Oleasz, Hartford CT.

Following the elections, Dr. Charles F. Merbs, Professor Emeritus at Arizona State University, with a doctorate in anthropology and medical genetics, presented an audio/visual program describing in detail his extensive study of the remains of Gen. Casimir Pulaski.  That scientific work led to the conclusion that the remains discovered in Savannah GA were, indeed, those of Pulaski despite a lack of DNA evidence.

­Awards Banquet & Ball:  A full account of the annual awards and the recipients will be submitted to the Polonia press in a separate article.

Convention 2009:  “The Polish Cultural Club of Greater Hartford has the honor to host the 61st Annual Convention of the American Council for Polish Culture at the Hartford Hilton Hotel in Hartford, Connecticut, from August 4 – August 9, 2009.  To emphasize the theme of the convention, “The Soaring Polish Spirit; Welcome to the Constitution State”, speakers, programs and festivities are being planned to provide the participants and guests with a memorable experience and much enjoyment.  Of special interest will be to celebrate the kinship between Connecticut, the first state to have a constitution in 1639, and Poland, which was the first country in Europe to have a constitution in 1791.  The three chairwomen, Anna Oleasz, Frances Pudlo and Anna-Mae Maglaty extend a gracious and sincere “Zapraszamy” to all for Convention 2009.”

Polonia Booth – Co-Chairs Barbara Lemecha and Henrietta Nowakowski reported that the theme for the National Conference for Social Studies to be held in Houston TX, Nov. 14-16, 2008 is “Embrace the Future.”  Anyone interested in helping to provide historical/cultural materials, vital to the success of this program, for distribution to teachers from across the USA, or financial support, please contact Mrs. Nowakowski, 23354 Longview, Dearborn Heights, MI 48127, tele. 313-565-7625.

The four days spent in Williamsburg left the delegates and guests filled with deeply appreciative thoughts.  Attendance at the wreath laying ceremony in Jamestown honoring the first Polish settlers with enlightening comments by Presidents Ted Mirecki of ACPC and George Szymanski of NAS/NMDA awakened the audience’s spirits with pride in their Polish heritage, inspired by the intelligence, hard work ethic and unselfish motivation that prevailed in the hearts of those first Polish settlers. Those noble characteristics are embedded in the hearts and minds of the Polish immigrants and their prodigy that followed in the USA as exemplified today by the fervent and dedicated efforts of Polish American families, individuals, communities and organizations like the American Council for Polish Culture.


The American Council for Polish Culture invites readers to join its national organization and help promote the appreciation of our great Polish culture and heritage throughout the USA.

For full information about the benefits and privileges of membership, please visit our website or contact Membership Chair Mrs. Anna-Mae Maglaty,

 tel:. 860-521-7621.