Polish heritage day wows audiences in Ilford
- Credit: Ellie Hoskins
East London’s Polish community came together at the weekend for a special celebration of all things Polska in Ilford.
At the Ursuline Academy in Morland Road, Ilford, on Saturday, the Polska Szkola Ilford, also known as the Polish Saturday School of Forest Gate and Ilford, held a special celebration to mark Polish Heritage Day.
The school was initially founded by a group of Polish parents in 1956, and its first class had just 10 pupils.
Today, the school is the largest Polish school in east London, teaching Polish from nursery level to GCSEs and A-Levels to more than 570 children.
Headteacher Marzena Zukowska told the Recorder the event had been a great way to invite people from outside the Polish community to learn a little bit about the work the school does.
She said: “One of the main reasons we did the event was for our British friends and neighbours to feel free to come down and see what the local Polish community is doing.
“It was good fun – we had some children perform a play telling the story of Polish independence and then afterwards we had a quiz about Poland and the correct pronunciation of Polish words and things like that which everyone enjoyed.”
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The event was held on the first weekend in May to mark the historical anniversary of the signing of Poland’s May Constitution on May 3, 1791 – commonly accepted as the first constitution enshrined into law in Europe, and the second in the world after the United States of America.
The event, which was open to everyone, featured official artistic performances, which included the school’s choir and Polish folk dance group.
After the performance, lucky guests were treated to traditional Polish food.
The school also took pains to invite local groups from other cultural backgrounds, and some were able to share their own stories in one-to-one conversations with members of the school after the event.
Marzena added: “We are proud of our shared heritage and would like to demonstrate that local communities can cooperate and work together to build a brighter future.”