NEW YORK -- Executives with the $1 billion Polish & Slavic Federal Credit Union have said that once they managed to settle the several long-standing lawsuits preoccupying the credit union they would spend some of the money they previously directed toward legal fees on their members instead.
On Oct. 19, the CU began making good on that promise by offering 180 high school aged CU members and their parents a map to a good education with the first "Polish Day" at Columbia University. During the event, different leaders and professors from the university briefed students and their parents on what they needed to do to prepare themselves for higher education.
"We have such talented and exceptional young members who should be encouraged to push themselves to get the best education this country offers," said Alex Storozynski, first vice chairman of the board and a graduate from Columbia's journalism program. "Inspiration and good advice are crucial in the life of a young person in setting them on the path to success. We want our members to strive for the highest rung."
Dr. Katarzyna Kowalska of the Polish Student Organization that partners with the credit union, led a seminar that outlined strategies for applying for admission to a top-flight school. She stressed the need for students to take advanced, or AP, classes in high school, prepare rigorously for the SAT and SAT II tests, acquire strong recommendation letters from teachers, and demonstrate achievements in extracurricular activities.
The event, held at Columbia's School of International and Public Affairs, was co-sponsored by PSFCU, the Polish Student Club at Barnard College, Columbia University and the Polish Student Organization of New York.
"Much of this practical advice may have been overwhelming at first to some of our members, but I feel that everyone walked out of these presentations with the belief that an Ivy League education is well within their reach if they give it their best effort," said Alicja Malecka, CEO of the Polish & Slavic Federal Credit Union.
One of the evening's hosts was the Columbia professor Dr. John Micgiel, who has been instrumental in pushing forward a Polish studies program at Columbia. Dr. Micgiel commended the most recent crop of Polish-American students and expressed his gratitude to PSFCU for its continued support of higher education.
"The Polish & Slavic Credit Union is a strong supporter of having this intelligent young generation of Polish-Americans reach its full potential. The credit union's support of the future Polish studies chair is further indicative of this remarkable commitment to education," Dr. Micgiel said.
Polish & Slavic FCU made $300,000 in scholarship money available to 187 students so far in 2006, according to the CU.