VP Trish: Scholarship Appreciation Event

Teofil Starzynski, a Pittsburgh Doctor of medicine was President from 1912-1952.

Teofil Starzynski, a Pittsburgh Doctor of medicine was President from 1912-1952.

For quite some time, we have discussed having a gathering of scholarship recipients. It sounds like a great idea but logistically, it simply didn’t make sense. Well, the upcoming National Convention is providing the opportunity for us to gather, celebrate and cultivate the Dr. T. A. Starzynski Scholarship Program.

On Friday, July 15, there will be such a gathering at Nest 4 (MR) on the corner of Bendix and Keller Streets. The evening will begin with dinner being served from 7:00-8:30. Tickets are available for the cost of $25 per person which includes dinner and an evening of fun! (Winner need not be present.) Nest 4 will provide refreshments for a minimal cost. Vegas games will begin at 7:30.

Bus transportation from the hotel begins at 6:30.

This sounds like a perfect evening to me. One gets to support the Scholarship Program, possibly win a bit, socialize with Members, and support the local Nest! What could be better!?!

Show your alumni status proudly; wear some type of garment from your college. It may be a shirt, hat, cheerleading outfit, football uniform, wrestling singlet, or bring your pom-poms.

All are invited! This event is open to everyone, not just Convention Delegates. It would be nice to see former recipients attend.

The first grant of the scholarship program was issued in 1962 to James Sopata of Nest 8, Pittsburgh and Joanne Zielski of Nest 401 Enfield, Conn.; each received $250! Since that time, the PFA has awarded over $720,500 to more than 11,000 Falcon Members!

Chairing the Scholarship Committees is something I enjoy and embrace. There have been many improvements made to the program. There are now three categories-Achievement receives $1,500, Involvement receives $1,000 and General receives $750. The Mary Kus grant of $3,000 is chosen from the Achievement Category. The deadline is February 15 of each year; the application is available online the beginning of December.

Our website has a list of all recipients, take a look!

As always, if interested in making a donation, please send your check to my attention to: Polish Falcons of America, 381 Mansfield Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15220. The program is funded exclusively from donations. We need a few more Genevieves, Pats and Matthews!

Looking forward to seeing you in South Bend!


President Kuzma: Spring Travels

On Monday, May 9, I had the honor of attending ceremonies at the Polish cemetery at Niagara-on-the-Lake. Polish President Andrzej Duda laid a wreath in the cemetery in honor of the young Polish men who died while in training for the Polish Army during World War I. A Polish Falcons Honor Guard led by Druh Steve Flor, a Member of Nest 52, Rochester, N.Y., helped welcome President Duda. It was a great honor to briefly meet President Duda.

At the ceremony at the Polish cemetery in Niagara-on-the Lake is PFA National President Timothy Kuzma and his wife Patti with members of the Polish Falcons Honor Guard. On the far left is Rick Mazella, National Vice President Membership Development of the Polish American Congress.

At the ceremony at the Polish cemetery in Niagara-on-the Lake is PFA National President Timothy Kuzma and his wife Patti with members of the Polish Falcons Honor Guard. On the far left is Rick Mazella, National Vice President Membership Development of the Polish American Congress.

Andrzej Duda, President of the Republic of Poland, lays a wreath in honor of the Polish cemetery in Niagara-on-the-Lake.

Andrzej Duda, President of the Republic of Poland, lays a wreath in honor of the Polish cemetery in Niagara-on-the-Lake.

As part of a trip to District I in May, I had the opportunity to visit the Nest 946 Polish School in Somerville, N.J. This impressive School was started 31 years ago by Frank and Regina Grodzki, longtime Members of Nest 946. There are 185 students, many of them Falcon Members, enrolled in the school this year. I had the pleasure of watching some of the 11-year students take their final oral examination (Matura in Polish). They did a great job and I was most impressed. I also talked with the director of the school, Lucyna Lis, as well as two of the instructors.

Nest 946 Polish School

Nest 946 Polish School

Also in May I attended the Executive Summit meeting of the American Fraternal Alliance in Toronto, Canada. The highlight of this meeting was the presentation of a potential new branding campaign that can be used by all fraternal organizations. In very broad terms, think of the milk industry and its “Got Milk” campaign that has been so successful. If the concept is eventually adopted and implemented, PFA can use the program to establish awareness about who we are and what we do. I will certainly keep a close eye on this idea as it develops.

I wish you all a wonderful and safe summer, and I look forward to seeing those of you at the Convention.

Elizabeth Furiga: Toruń, Gingerbread Capital and So Much More

Toruń and gingerbread go hand-in-hand. The medieval city in Northern Poland has been known for its particular type of gingerbread, Toruńskie pierniki, since the Middle Ages. Today, pierniki is one of the most popular Polish food products both in Poland and abroad. The cookies come in several different distinct shapes. A popular variety is the katarzynka made of six circles joined together. The main and original pierniki factory, the Kopernik, has a store outside the town’s square where they sell everything from complex gingerbread “pictures” to chocolate-covered, jam-filled pierniki hearts.

But, Toruń has more to offer than just gingerbread. The city also features beautiful gothic architecture, museums, lively cultural events, and a great culinary scene. Having visited Toruń myself when I was in Poland, I can say that it is a city you will want to stop by if you take a trip to the homeland.

Although people often mistake Poland for a cold place, in the summer it gets quite warm, making for a great time to visit Toruń. The cafes and restaurants will put out the patio and outdoor seating, and you can drink wine and eat dinner outside on the square. When visiting Toruń, be sure to purchase some pierniki to take home with you, and also visit the Pierniki Museum where you can witness demonstrations of the gingerbread being made.

Toruń is also the home of the Polish astronomer, Nicolaus Copernicus. You’ll want to visit the Copernicus house, a museum that is situated where Copernicus once lived.

In addition, you can tour the remains of the city’s medieval fortified walls and gates. Small sections still exist as well as the Leaning Tower, which was a fortified tower that made up the wall system.

You cannot fly in and out of Toruń easily, so it is suggested that you fly to Gdańsk or Warsaw and take a train or the Polski bus (the Polish Mega Bus) into the city. However, the sights and the experiences as well as the delicious pierniki are definitely worth the trip.

Elizabeth Furiga: How to Navigate a Milk Bar

The milk bar or “bar mleczny” is a culinary holdover from communist times. These no-frills establishments feature homemade Polish meals at little cost. In the Communist Era, the milk bars were subsidized so that all Polish workers could afford a meal. Then and now, the restaurants serve mostly dairy and flour-based vegetarian dishes. If you don’t eat meat and are traveling in Poland, a milk bar is a great place for you to eat, however, navigating one can be a little tricky.

Milk bars are usually run by lunch ladies in aprons that look like stern Polish grandmothers and don’t speak a lick of English. This makes for an interesting experience ordering at a milk bar if you know little to no Polish. It’s a good idea to learn the names of a few basic Polish dishes before you go to a milk bar. That way, you can recognize the item on the menu and point and say “Proszę” (pronounced Prosh-eh), and the name of the item (if you can muster that or just point if you can’t).

Because the government subsidizes milk bars and many of the ingredients they use, you can still to this day get soup, an entree and a drink for about $4 USD, making milk bars a favorite among seniors, university students and the working class.

Milk bars have reached a mythical status in Polish pop culture. Films have depicted communist era milk bars as having dishes and silverware bolted to the table. While this may have been true (although I highly doubt it) milk bars now use cheap generic plates, which customers clean off the tables themselves. Despite the shabby presentation, the taste of the potato pancakes with mushroom sauce, strawberry Polish style crepes or tomato soup far outweighs the picnic style tableware.

Milk bars are not the place to come and linger after a meal. Most patrons eat quickly and quietly with their heads down, absorbed in their meal. Conversation is verboten.

If you ever get a chance to go to Poland, especially Warsaw or Kraków, make sure to look for a milk bar. It might seem intimidating to order somewhere where no English is spoken, but the reward of delicious, cheap Polish food is worth the hassle.

Holland Brown: Picture Perfect!

Working at Polish Falcons of America is a rewarding experience. Knowing that my designs and layouts are viewed by our Members is great; words can’t describe the happiness I feel when people enjoy my work!

On the pages of the Sokol Polski, I have the opportunity to design layouts using your photos. We, those of us in the Communications Department (Courtney and I), love when you submit stories recapping the happenings at your Nest or share your Members’ accomplishments. The key for us to make your stories stand out is having photos that are of print quality. When Courtney and I are reviewing your photos, it is important that the images reach a basic print standard.

Ideally, we love photos that:

  • Are JPEGs, TIFFs, PDFs or PNGs.
  • Are at least 300 dpi (if digital).
    • DPI stands for Dots Per Inch. The best way to describe it is each individual dot creates an image and the more dots, the better the image will look. The less dots that make up the image, the more pixilated it will appear.
    • The file size of your photo should be at least 1MB or greater. If it is only a few kilobytes, then it’s too small for printing.
  • Have a caption.
  • Are submitted digitally.

Photos that we don’t love as much:

  • Are inserted in a Word document or Quark file.
  • Are less than 300 dpi.
  • Have no caption.
  • Are printed and need to be scanned.

Side note: We accept photos from your average everyday camera. But, please ensure there is no date present in the corner of your image. It’s distracting!

Follow these rules and your photos will be picture perfect!

To submit your next story, visit polishfalcons.org/sokol_submissions.