BY Amanda Connelly | October 20 | comments icon 0 COMMENTS     print icon print

7-POLISH-SCHOOL-ABERDEEN

Polish school celebrates a decade of busy Saturdays

The Polish community in Aberdeen are celebrating after the Scottish Parliament congratulated a Saturday school in the city on its 10th anniversary of making Polish language and culture come alive for young people

The ‘Polskiej Szkoły im św Stanisława Kostki’, or Polish School of St Stanisława Kostki, was established in October 2007 by Fr Piotr Zieliński, Arleta Jasinska and Joanna Schmitz at St Peter’s Church in Aberdeen.

A parliamentary motion lodged by MSP Lewis Macdonald congratulated and praised the Polish school’s work.

It reads: “The Parliament congratulates the Polish School St Stanislaw Kostka in Aberdeen on its 10th anniversary; recognises that more than 300 children and young people attend the Saturday school and are supported by almost 80 volunteers and staff; acknowledges that the school is a vibrant part of the community and supports the young people by helping them becoming bilingual not only through language, history and culture classes, but also through other activities such as its youth club, a choir, theatre and football team, and looks forward to many more years of Polish language education, cultural and sporting activities in Aberdeen.

The motion was supported by Kenneth Gibson, Ivan McKee, Edward Mountain, Stewart Stevenson, Claire Baker, Ash Denham and Bill Kidd.

The school hosted a show on October 7 for all children, and the consul general of the Republic of Poland in Edinburgh paid a visit to both Aberdeen Grammar School and Harlaw Academy, where the school is based.

A show was then put on for guests, the consul general and parents, before a reception at Aberdeen Grammar School.

The following day, all joined in celebrating a thanksgiving Mass led by Fr Janusz Wilczynski, the Polish chaplain in Aberdeen.

The school’s main objective is to teach Polish language, tradition and history, but it also provides religious education.

Working closely with the Church, the school has received particular support from Bishop Hugh Gilbert of Aberdeen. The school not only helps children prepare for the Sacraments, but also assists the Polish chaplain in arranging Mass for the children, which includes a children’s choir. The group also prepares the Sunday issue of the parish newsletter.

The Polish School received support at its beginning from Fr Keith Herrera, who allowed the church to be used for classes. As demand grew and numbers leapt from 30 to more than 130 children, the school moved to St Mary’s Cathedral, where it stayed for a year with 150 pupils. It then moved to Aberdeen Grammar School where it still runs classes, with some split to Harlaw Academy, as 300 pupils attend each week.

Today, more than 70 staff serve over 500 Polish people at the school, the biggest Polish Saturday school in Scotland.

As well as catechesis and Polish language and culture classes, there is a show for Independence Day, a Nativity play, St Nicolas Day celebrations, a Constitution Day show, an end of year ball, an All Saints ball, reading competitions and exhibitions.

The school hosts charity events, an SFA-registered football club, courses for parents, adult language classes, speech therapy, a choir, a theatre class, and talks from historians, artists and musicians.

The school said: “We thank God for His care and blessing over the years.”

 

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