Polish Scholarship Fund Celebrates Students Annual Polish Festival Comes to Clinton Square

Recognition of students brings a community together once a year.

SYRACUSE, N.Y. (NCC News) – The sounds of polka music echoed throughout downtown Syracuse and Clinton Square for the annual Polish Festival.

The event, sponsored by the Polish Scholarship Fund, provided traditional food, beer, and music for everyone visiting. The main purpose of the event, however, is to honor recipients of their annual scholarship. This year, PSF selected multiple winners for their $1,000 scholarships, who were honored with their own ceremony. PSF volunteer and Syracuse Polish Home member Marta Chmielewski said they look for specific traits in a recipient.

“On a daily basis show perseverance, leadership in what they do in what they want to achieve in life,” Chmielewski said. “So, mostly, just good and passionate students.”

Even thought the scholarship possesses many stipulations, Chmielewski put one major factor to rest for those who might have been concerned with their eligibility for the scholarship.

“You don’t have to be 100 percent Polish so to speak,” Chmielewski said. “Any Polish heritage is to your advantage.”

The annual festival comes at a time where there is a lot of tension in Europe, as Poland’s neighbors to the southeast are currently at war with Russia. Chmielewski says that even though the festival calls for celebration, Ukraine will always be on their minds.

“We celebrate but we don’t, we haven’t forgotten that Ukraine and the people of Ukraine are going through such a horrible time,” Chmielewski said. “So, we support them as much as we can.”

Even though it is a tough time overseas at the time of celebration, PSF volunteer Jasiu Klocek simply reminded all what the Polish Festival is all about.

“The music, the food and the Polish beer is what stands out,” Klocek said.

When asked if he had a favorite of the Polish beers, Klocek responded with no hesitation and a few laughs.

“Okocim is good, though there is another one but we don’t have it here,” Klocek said.

The festival single-handedly proved that although the people in suffering are on the minds of many, there is always time to show pride from the country your heritage comes from.

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