by George J Elbaum
Gimnazjum No. 32 (named after poet Adam Asnyk) is located in Warsaw’s Praga district on the east bank of the Wisla river. Our first visit to the school was in May 2014, which my wife and I remember very well because of the staff’s warm hospitality and conversation over a delicious family-style Polish lunch. Today’s presentation was organized by the school’s History teacher Slawomir Kaniasty with active support from English teacher Agnieszka Galaszewska. (Mr. Kaniasty also created a giant GE forming my initials with my books – photo below – that were just published in Polish by the Forum for Dialogue.)
My presentation was attended by Ms. Galaszewska and her students, the school’s Director Renata Wilczynska, and Mr. Kaniasty. Students and officials from several nearby schools were also invited by Ms. Wilczynska and Mr. Kaniasty, resulting in an audience of approximately 100.
After my presentation and book signing for the students, we were about to leave for the next school and an afternoon presentation but Ms. Wilczynska, a warm and strong-willed person, insisted that we have a quick lunch, and there was no other choice but to agree! (Ms. Wilczynska’s daughter Kasia said that her mother is the same way at home, “a typical Polish mother.” 😊) We enjoyed all of it and look forward to returning, but next time starting not at 9AM, as today, but at lunchtime.