POLISH COMMUNITY | Liverpool Polish School says thanks for help after the storm

Poland's culture and heritage was celebrated and honoured at the National Treasures of Poland event run by the Liverpool Polish Saturday School last month at Casula.

It was also an occasion to thank all the people who helped restore two decades worth of the school's resources damaged in last December's severe hailstorms at Liverpool.

Guest of honour was John Sidoti, NSW Minister for Multiculturalism, who, when accepting, noted the importance of a second language.

Other guests joining the students, graduates, parents, families and friends included many representing the Polish community in NSW, including Poland's Vice-Consul Joanna Spocharska, Polish Education Commission president, North Shore Polish School principal and Polish Educational Society representative Elisabeth Cesarski, Polish Association Cabramatta president Krystyna Cyron, NSW Polish Organisations president Adam Gajkowski and Polish Teachers Association representative Bronislaw Lacek.

As part of their studies, the students have celebrated famous Poles who made a huge contribution and difference in the history of the world.

Students of the school performed at the event. Graduate students and dancers from Polish folk-dance group Lajkonik performed a dance that represented wonderful Polish culture.

"These kids are full of energy and so eager to learn!" Mr Sidoti said. "They're a huge credit to their hard-working teachers and families."

An important part of the event and visit by the special guests was so the school could express its gratitude and appreciation for all the support in rebuilding the school's resources.

At the end of last year, the school was affected by severe hailstorms that went through the Liverpool area in December. It had been classified as natural disaster. Sadly, most of the school resources that had been collected over the last two decades were lost.

Many people have helped the school during this difficult time so the school staff decided to express their gratitude and appreciation and thank the supporters.

'We were overwhelmed with the help we received and the fact that our students didn't feel the full impact of the loss we experienced and that classes were able to continue as normal," Parents Committee member Monika Prestia said.

All the guests who'd donated and helped the school during this difficult period were presented with certificates of appreciation by Mr Sidoti.

That day, the school also officially opened the new school library with new books that the school had been given by people from the Polish community across Sydney and for which the school was extremely thankful.

Mr Sidoti and a guest from Liverpool City Library, Jadwiga Krejza, together cut the ribbon to declare the new school library open.

We live in one of the most multicultural countries in the world and it's important we reach out and learn to communicate and live in harmony and all work together and community languages are playing a huge role in that space.

JOHN SIDOTI, Minister for Multiculturalism

Afterwards, the school held a morning tea for the guests and students. Everyone enjoyed the delightful Polish cakes and traditional sweets and it was a good opportunity for the school community to socialise with the invited guests.

Pupil Izabella Wojciechowski, of year 5, spoke to Mr Sidoti who emphasised the importance of learning a second language and giving it significance and value.

Addressing all the pupils, he said NSW was made up of people who come from 300 different ancestries and how very important it was for everyone to learn their native languages.

"We live in one of the most multiculturally diverse countries in the world and it's important we reach out and learn to communicate and live in harmony and all work together and certainly, I think, community languages are playing a huge role in that space," he said.

And he said Australia was a great example of that. "When you take citizenship in Australia, it's one of the first things we say, that we want you to know peace and harmony and practise them in freedom.

"And that happens. It's important that we value and cherish the traditions and customs of various groups."

The school's principal, Ewelina Ellsmore, said: "This was a very special and joyful day in our school's history. To learn another language is to gain a superpower that can change and enrich one's life. At the Liverpool Polish School, we help young minds develop by creating innovative and engaging opportunities for all our students.

"I believe learning languages is essential to building awareness in the community, to building better multicultural communities. Through our school we also have the opportunity to show how we serve the NSW community to benefit the next generation of Australians who seek to learn the language of their ancestors."

Liverpool Polish Saturday School is based at Casula Public School. The Polish language classes are for children from preschool age up to year 6, on Saturdays during school terms. The pupils' language-learning experience is enriched by exciting projects, excursions, participating in national and international competitions and meeting interesting people.

The pupils truly value their Saturday classes and are passionate to learn new things there. Even though most were born here to Polish background, all share a special bond to their parents' country, which is integral to the school spirit and community.

The school door is open to all pupils 3 to 12 and enrolments are open all year.

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