School History

The Maximillian Maria Kolbe School began with a desire and a dream for people of Polish heritage. The desire kept the Polish language and culture alive in the hearts and minds of their children. The dream came true and the desire was fulfilled by the establishment of the Maximillian Maria Kolbe Polish School in Riverhead. With the support of St. Isidore's Pastor, Fr. Julian Wenda, and the Parent's Club, on October 14, 1972, the school was finally ready to be open. The first principal was Feliksa Sawicka, who has held that position for 30 years.  In the first year, 48 children were registered to attend Polish School.  The classes were taught by 8 teachers:  Józefa Kigiel, Katarzyna Kornafel, Janina Matuszczak, Feliksa Sawicka, Czesława Zakrzewska, Father Witalis Pędzik, Władysław Świątek, and Father Jerzy Widoniak.

First students

Classes have been held at St. Isidore's School in Riverhead ever since. The parents and teachers are very grateful to the parish and Sisters of the Holy Family of Nazareth for letting us use their facilities for all those years.  

November 15, 1975 was a memorable day for all students, teachers and parents.  The school's banner, which has the portrait of our patron Maximillian Maria Kolbe, was blessed.  Franciszek Gajowniczek, for whom reverend Maximillian gave his life in the Aushwitz/Oświęcim concentration camp during World War II, visited the school and participated in the celebration.

Franciszek Gajowniczek on the left

 In 1976, for the 200th Anniversary of the United States Constitution, students, teachers and parents participated in the Riverhead parade and received an award.  In October of 1982, the school's representation went on the pilgrimage to Rome to be present at the canonization of Maximillian Maria Kolbe. 

In Rome
On February 6, 1994 in the Polish Institute of Education in Manhattan, Ms. Feliksa Sawicka was presented with the Commission of National Education Medal and on May 28, 1996 she received the most honorable Gold Cross of Merit from Poland's President Aleksander Kwaśniewski, presented by Polish Consul Jerzy Surdykowski.  
The teachers of St. Maximillian M. Kolbe School participated in all of the Polish American Congresses held in Cambridge Spring, Pennsylvania;  Orchard Lake, Michigan;  Washington, D.C.; Chicago, Illinois;  New York, New York;  Los Angeles, California;  Las Vegas, Nevada, Buffalo, New York.  Furthermore, they also take an active part in conferences organized by the Polish Supplementary School Council of America in New York.  A special recognition should go to the parents who encourage their children to attend the Polish Supplementary School and who are helping them to learn the Polish language, history and culture.  
Our students can take the Regents Exam in Polish Language and the Polish "Mała Matura".


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