It’s that time of year again! That is when high school seniors are starting to think about college admission and scholarship applications. The Polish Heritage Society (PHS) wants to remind students and their parents that several undergraduate and graduate-level scholarships are available to those of Polish descent. Prospective candidates can research them through the Polish Cultural Club of Greater Hartford, the Kosciuszko Foundation and the Polish American Journal Foundation websites.
One of the critical requirements of these applications is a demonstration of interest in Polish heritage and culture. The PHS has many opportunities to do just that, and the projects are as appropriate for older adults as they are for students. In fact, some of them would be suitable for a grandparent/child team. Since the PHS exists to learn and perpetuate the history and culture of Suffield’s Eastern European immigrants, most of the projects that would benefit from the assistance of volunteers pertain to genealogic research and family histories.
For example, we have audio recordings of PHS meetings during which members told the stories of their parents, the earliest Polish residents of Suffield. We would like to have these transcribed and made available in the library. There is also plenty of cluster community research that could contribute to the picture of Suffield Polonia. This research involves linking our ancestors to their family, friends and associates from Poland who also came to Suffield and surrounding towns. To date, the 1900, 1910, and 1920 censuses have been analyzed to see the growth of the Polish population in Suffield. More work needs to be done for the ensuing decades.
Most importantly, as we approach America 250, the Polish Heritage Society sees a significant opportunity to demonstrate our ancestors’ contributions to our country’s development. Polish craftsmen were present at the colony of Jamestown, Virginia in 1608. Two Polish generals are considered heroes in the United States for their strategic participation in the American Revolutionary War. In the 20th century, Polish immigrants significantly impacted Suffield’s success as a farming community. We hope to highlight our history and culture in future articles, presentations, and static displays throughout the years between now and July 2026.
We welcome help from anyone who wants to participate in the commemoration of the semiquincentennial from the Polish perspective. Don’t hesitate to get in touch with email@example.com to learn more about these projects.