Jun 262008

Anne Beers Elementary School students visit Poland and perform for the First Lady Maria Kaczyńska

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American Students Visit Poland
Ewa Hancock 2008-06-25

Sixteen children from a school in Washington D.C. visited Poland in June as part of a program that aims to show students from public schools in the United States the culture, customs and history of other countries.

The students’ visit started with an impromptu performance at Warsaw airport upon landing. To the delight and amazement of other passengers, they sang the popular song “Jedzie pociÄ…g z daleka”. On June 17 they performed at the Belweder palace in Warsaw before First Lady Maria KaczyÅ„ska, a patron of the children’s Polish visit, ambassadors’ wives and many other people who had supported them. The young Americans danced a polonaise and portrayed famous Poles.

In 2006, Hanna Reiter, wife of the Polish ambassador to Washington, Janusz Reiter, oversaw a collaboration project between the Polish embassy and the Anne Beers school. During a year-long educational program the children learned about Poland and prepared a show called Poland the Beautiful, an Imaginary Flight according to a script written and directed by a Polish actress living in the United States, Hanna Bondarewska.

The culmination of their efforts came with a 2007 visit to the Polish embassy in Washington and a performance for KaczyÅ„ska. This was when the idea was born that the children should see the country they had learned about, helped by KaczyÅ„ska, Reiter, Bondarewska and Marek Michalak, who heads the International Committee of the Order of the Smile, which was also a patron of the children’s Polish visit. All of them worked on making the trip come true. The Order of the Smile is an international award given to adults for efforts in caring for and helping children.

“This program helps develop children’s talents and skills,” said Reiter. “Learning about another culture broadens their horizons and builds a special bond between them and the country they learn about. Thanks to this project children can start feeling like citizens of the world.”
(The Warsaw Voice)

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