The History of Our School
The Marie Skłodowska-Curie Polish School in Chicago was founded in 2000 under the auspices of the Polish Women’s Alliance of America (PWA). The School began its operations on September 9 , 2000 at the then-headquarters of the PWA at 205 South Northwest Highway in Park Ridge, Illinois. The PWA is an organization with a long Polish tradition since its founding in 1898. Currently the school operates within the classrooms of Saint Juliana Parish at 7400 West Touhy Ave. in Chicago, Illinois.
The School was established by the 27th Commission of the PWA, and now is under the patronage of District I - Polish Women’s Alliance of America. It is designed to create an attractive atmosphere that encourages students to attend and to give life-long memories of pleasant classes and activities.
The main objective of the school is to introduce Polish language, history, geography, and traditions to children born outside of Poland, and to encourage the learning and use of the Polish language in speech and writing. The School achieves this through innovative teaching methods developed by the teachers and school administration. Because of this effort, the School had great success even in its first few years of existence. The first School Directors, Mrs. Czeslawa Kolak, Mrs. Marta Klus, and Mrs. Małgorzata Wasilewska – Szypluk deserve great credit for their stewardship of the School during that time.
Mrs. Grazyna Migała developed the original idea for the school. In August 1999 , during a meeting of the Sejm (Congress) of the Polish Womens’ Alliance of America, Mrs. Migała was elected Secretary -General of the organization. One of the main purposes of the Polish Women’s Alliance of America is the preservation of Polish tradition and the promotion of Polish-language learning. It also facilitates the learning of Polish history, geography, and literature by young Polonians. To fulfill these tasks, which are outlined in the Constitution of the PWA , Mrs. Migała proposed the establishment of a Polish school , with the purpose of teaching Polish language and culture.
After Commission 27 of the PWA approved this idea, and with the consent of the then-President of the Polish Women’s Alliance of America, Mrs. Virginia Sikora , Mrs. Migała gathered a Founding Committee composed of Dr. Lidia Filus , Mr. Czeslaw Kolak , Mr. Marta Klus , Mrs. Małgorzata Kot, Mrs. Grazyna Ozorowska , Mr. Alexander Skorba (now deceased ), Mrs. Urszula Ulankiewicz and her mother Zofia Frackowiak , who was then Chairwoman of the Commission 27. In addition, two Members of the Board of Commission 27, Mrs. Christine Mazur and Mrs. Helen Nowicka participated, since the school was under the patronage of the PWA.
At the first meeting of the Founding Committee, which was held at the headquarters of the Polish Women’s Alliance of America at 205 South Northwest Highway in Park Ridge on July 25, 2000, in a conference room that happened to be named after Marie Skłodowska-Curie, the Committee selected her as the patroness of the school and also named the director of the newly established school , Mrs. Czeslawa Kolak. The school held its first registration at the PWA Headquarters, on Saturday, the 26th and Sunday the 27th of August 2000. The then-President of the PWA, Virginia Sikora , the employees of the organization, and members of the Founding Committee of the school all participated. The majority of the members of the Founding Committee constantly assisted the parents and children, often provided advice and support, and selflessly devoted their time to the school.
The first leader of the school’s Parents’ Committee (Komitet Rodzicielski) was Mrs. Agata Królicka. In 2001, Mrs. Małgorzata Kościelak – Królikowska took this position, and in 2002 Dr. Halina Anioł fulfilled this function. In later years, the building of the PWA was no longer available to the school, since it was put up for sale. A new school board and group of supporters of the Polish school, including Dr. Halina Anioł, Grazyna Migała, Mrs. Małgorzata Albekier and Mr. Krzysztof Samulak, approached the parish of Saint Juliana to negotiate a lease of school space. Thus the school moved from the building of the PWA in Park Ridge to building the parish school . In 2005, Małgorzata Albekier became the leader of the Parents’ Committee, and the school benefited from her contribution and personal commitment to the school at every turn. The current president of the school is Ms. Sylvia Wojtowicz , who is involved in school life with unflagging zeal.
Our School continues to enjoy an excellent reputation in the Polonia and in Poland. The increasing number of new students, the respect of their parents for the School and the smile of satisfaction on the faces of our children are the greatest reward s the School can receive. Undoubtedly the continued success of the school is the result of careful selection of the teaching staff and the School Board. The current School Director, Ms. Agnieszka Trzupek , constantly nurtures and respects the needs of the school , preserving its good name.