Community Relations & Public AffairsCouncil Present:
September 15, 2010
12:00 – 1:00 p.m.
Chair, Mary Dean, Jason Hearn, Andy Ryder
Carol Litten Lacey Minsk Sister City Presentation
Steve Dobosz, President of the Lacey-Minsk Mazowiecki Sister City Association, provided a report of his recent trip to Minsk as a representative of the Sister City Association.
Steve remarked the purpose of his trip was threefold:
- To visit the schools to discuss ideas for student exchanges between the two cities, and to determine which types of schools would be most suitable and beneficial for American students
- To learn more about the culture of MILA to promote cultural, educational and business opportunities;
- And, on a personal note, to find his heritage.
Steve reported on his visit to several types of schools:
- The technical school is a satellite school for the poly-tech school and the focus is on very specific applications, which would not be appropriate for a student exchange.
- The Budowlanka High School offers an English immersion program in English, math, and biology and would be a great opportunity for American students to exchange languages.
- The economic/arts school is a magnet school for students interested in business and economics, and those interested in art.
- The college prep schools would be a great opportunity for American students to experience the cultural differences between American and Polish schools, where Polish students have fewer resources, but a greater appreciation for learning.
Steve met with members of MILA and they encouraged the American students to visit their county to participate in their language camp. There was discussion about another concert tour, inviting an adult Polish band to perform at Lacey in Tune and the Dixieland Jazz Festival, creating a swim team program, where a swim coach and 4 high school team members would travel to Minsk to sponsor a swim clinic, and displaying the artwork of Polish students at community events. MILA also requested that their students have an opportunity to participate in exchanges with all NTSD high schools, instead of only one.
Steve noted that in discussion with MILA and NTSD staff, many ideas have been generated and are in the process of being coordinated:
- In fall of 2011, Steve plans on accompanying four or more students to Minsk for two weeks to experience the Polish education and culture; students may be able to earn school credits for participation
- Coordinate band exchange from Minsk to Lacey
- In February 2011, two teachers and six students from Minsk will visit Lacey and participate in NTSD classes
- In spring 2013, the NTHS band has been invited to travel to Minsk
- The MILA Director has offered assistance to help anyone interested in searching their Polish genealogy.
Steve concluded his report of the Minsk trip by remarking on the genuine and heartfelt hospitality and generosity of the Polish people. He said it was an amazing trip, and with the help of his host family and teachers, he was fortunate to make connections with relatives of three of his Polish grandparents. He is looking forward to another visit in 2011.
In other Sister City Association news:
- Members participated in the August and September Lacey Community Market, which generated interest from a dozen or so people
- Members participated in the Sand in the City in the international event. More than 700 children stopped by the booth to craft Polish pottery, and many adults expressed an interest in joining
- Members developed a marketing brochure to promote the Lacey – Minsk Sister City Association, which was distributed at community events
- Students at New Market Skills Center created a sister city logo which was used on t-shirts to promote the association
- The association is preparing for the February visit by teachers and students from Minsk
- Planning has begun for a Polish Festival, or perhaps a Sister City Festival with Olympia and Tumwater.
Councilmembers thanked Steve for a wonderful presentation and look forward to many more great activities from the organization.