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The 411: Youth

Foundation awards scholarships

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June 29, 2011 | 1,418 views | Post a comment


The Father Leopold Moczygemba Foundation is pleased to announce the winners of the 2011 Silesian Polish Texans Essay Scholarship Contest. Winners include Katherine Stepke of Floresville High School, Sarah Pruski of Richardson High School in Dallas, and Kathryn Moczygemba and Jordan Haley Sheppard of La Vernia High School.

The contest required that each contestant submit a 400-600 word documented biographical essay about a Silesian Texan with supporting material from a personal interview. The interview with a senior of Silesian-Polish descent enhanced the students’ portrayals with vivid details. Silesia is a region in Europe, now in Poland. In the 1850s, many Silesian-Polish immigrants settled in South Texas. Juniors or seniors of any ethnicity or religious faith were invited to enter the contest.

Judging was done by a panel of professional authors, historians, and genealogists. The panel of judges did not know the names of the participating students. They evaluated the essays based on very strict guidelines established by the essay contest committee.

Many of the stories in the winning essays included touching experiences recalled by the Silesian-Polish person interviewed.

Jordan Sheppard wrote about her great-grandmother, Mary Moczygemba Mutz, who said, “My mother, ‘Grinny,’ told us that we had to behave well all year, and the better we were, the more gifts we would get from ‘Dzieciatko’ (Baby Jesus).”

“To us,” she continued, “there was no Santa. Grinny and Daddy would tell us of Dzieciatko.”

Kathryn Moczygemba shared culturally rich stories from her grandfather, Henry Moczygemba. “One of the bigger challenges placed before him was having to learn how to speak English. He grew up knowing only how to speak Polish, because that was the only language his family knew. When it was time for him to start going to school, he had to go to a separate school for a year to learn how to speak English.”

Each winner will receive a $500 scholarship, an awards certificate, and an invitation to attend the Father Leopold Moczygemba Foundation Gala, where they will be recognized for their achievement.

For more information about the contest, visit or the Father Leopold Moczygemba Foundation at

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