Folktales, Legends, and Stories


2011 Wilkes University course on The History of Wyoming Valley


The Slovak Heritage Society is one of the organizations that has partnered with Wilkes University to produce a course on local history.  Project History: Northeastern Pennsylvania is a three-credit, interactive graduate Education course designed for teachers who like to integrate local history into their curriculum. Through authentic experiences, teachers will learn about regional heritage and culture. The goals of the Project History class are: to promote the study of local history in the area's school districts; to instruct teachers in grades three through twelve to integrate local history topics into lesson plans across the curriculum; and to encourage a creative approach to the study of local history and culture and to attract student  and community interest. Our involvement began in the fall of 2010 when Michael Stretanski was asked to join a group of teachers headed by Dr. Diane Polachek of Wilkes University to assemble the class. The course would meet once a month as a whole with much of the course work done online.

The 2011 class met on November 3 at St. Mary’s Church of the Immaculate Conception. After welcome and opening remarks, Mr. Clark Switzer and Ms. Mary Ann Storz presented an overview of Wyoming Valley’s immigration. They gave copies of individual maps of all areas in the Valley with information on the various nationalities that settled in each area.

Seventeen ethnic groups settled in the various municipalities: Polish, Irish, German, Italian, English, Slovak, Welsh, Ukrainian, Lithuanian, Scottish, Hungarian, French, Lebanese, Afro-American, Swedish, Syrian, Hispanic, and Greek. There were other ethnic groups that also settled in smaller numbers.

Ms. Maria Augustine presented the history of her Italian family and how she researched the background.

Mr. Michael Stretanski gave a brief talk on Slovak immigrant food and culture. Students, teachers, and board members enjoyed real haluski with Brynza, two types of stuffed cabbage, pirohy, and poppy-seed cake.

Mr. Michael Novrocki, who had researched and created a video for a History Day Project, presented information on Father Murgaš. The Heritage Society’s Murgaš’s traveling exhibit was set up.

Mr. Matthew Stretanski presented the dairy of his Great Grandfather Stretanski’s experiences as an immigrant and information on a History Day.

Mr. Joseph Kowach, Mr. & Mrs. Jack and Anna Hendershot, Mrs. Elaine Palischak, Mr. Pete Kmec and Ms. Bernadette Yencha assisted Michael with the Murgaš Exhibit and the buffet.

Father Murgaš's Life in Pictures

Father's Patents ->