The Washington Diplomat
Polandâ€™s First Lady Experiences Embassy Adoption Program
Front page: From left, Polish first lady Maria KaczyÅ„ska, wife of the Polish ambassador Hanna Reiter, and Artistic Director Hanna Bondarewska attend a program by children from the Anne Beers Elementary School to celebrate the Polish Embassyâ€™s participation in the Embassy Adoption Program.
Throughout the year, Hanna Reiter, wife of Polish Ambassador Janusz Reiter, along with Monika KrÃ³l, director of the American Center of Polish Culture, have been visiting and working with the sixth-grade classes at Anne Beers Elementary School in Southeast Washington.
With underwriting from IBM, the group created a special play project and a â€œPolish Summer Campâ€ from June 25 to July 17, which also included Randle Highlands Elementary. Artistic Director Hanna Bondarewska created the program, which turned into a very colorful learning adventure that would surely delight any first lady.
Close to 30 very excited sixth-graders and their parents traveled up 16th Street to the handsome Polish Embassy to present â€œPoland the Beautiful, an Imaginary Flight.â€ This colorful and educational play about a sleeping bear not only impressed Mrs. KaczyÅ„ska but also WPAS, which heralded this Polish partnership as one of the best and most inventive in their 33 years of doing the Embassy Adoption Program.
The Embassy Adoption Program provides teachers and students with the opportunity to increase their knowledge and appreciation of the culture, government and geography of other nations. Each year, schools and embassies are paired to share and participate in multicultural experiences.
With the encouragement of Gwendolyn Payton, Anne Beersâ€™s new principal, the Embassy Adoption Program was re-instated at the elementary school this year. This presentation was the grand finale to a year in which the children learned about Polandâ€™s history and culture. One of the most successful segments was having the students learn which Poles made major contributions to the world, including scholar Nicolas Copernicus, scientist Marie Curie and the legendary composer Frederic Chopin.
Along with the play, Polish artist Inna Slutskaya nurtured the artistic skills of the students as they created tiled artwork, portraits, cityscapes and puppets.
During her visit with the children, Polandâ€™s first lady was presented with the Childrenâ€™s Heart Award, a unique decoration given by children that was presented to Pope John Paul II in 1997.
â€œOf course,â€ Hanna Reiter said, â€œwe are hoping that our imaginary trip to Poland will one day become a reality for these children who learned so much about our country.â€
Children from the Anne Beers Elementary Schoolâ€”which joined with the Polish Embassy at part of the Embassy Adoption Programâ€”performed a show called â€œPoland the Beautiful, an Imaginary Flightâ€ for Polish first lady Maria KaczyÅ„ska, pictured center, with Artistic Director Hanna Bondarewska to her left and wife of the Polish ambassador Hanna Reiter to her right.