Robert Synakowski, president of the Syracuse Polish Home is the "Pole of the Year!" Being an officer of the Polish Home, Synakowski is following a path started by his Grandfather and Father.
A graduate of the Westminster Choir College in Princeton, New Jersey, Synakowski has quite a background. He studied at the Jagiellonian University in Krakow, Poland originally going to teach with the Kosciuszko Foundation. Synakowski fell in love with the country, the people and the food staying for three years teaching the English language.
Now he is teaching at Seymour Dual Language Academy here in Syracuse where his students are from Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic and Cuba. He speaks fluent Polish and can get by in Spanish.
Being a historian, Synakowski is interested in Polish history as well as Polish-American history including the history of our Central New York Polish Community.
He was elected vice-president of the Polish Home in 2002, and president in 2004. He became involved in the Polish Home to help re-embrace Polish culture and introduce other aspects besides polkas and pierogies, such as the Polish Cafe atmosphere, more diverse foods and Polish beer.
The Polish Home was originally founded to "Americanize" Polish immigrants, and Synakowski believes its mission now should be to "Polonize" Americans.
Membership has grown considerably by expanding their horizons beyond the original Polish neighborhood and into the greater Syracuse area. To get the word out, Polish Home now prints a monthly newsletter, it has a Web site too.
Synakowski would like to see the Polish Home grow in size and mission, becoming once again a Polish Cultural Center, offering high quality Polish foods, promoting Polish films, music, literature and language. He would like to see an area devoted to materials pertaining to the Polish presence in Syracuse such as old photos, program booklets and stories.