of The Mahoning Valley, Inc.

Youngstown, Ohio

The American Slovak Cultural Association of the Mahoning Valley held its Annual Vilija Dinner ( Traditional Slovak Christmas Eve Meal) on December 10, 2000.

This dinner is a tradition of our Slovak ancestors which we want to continue and pass on to our children and grandchildren. The dinner's menu is fresh fish, oplatky, pirohy, mushroom soup, peas, bolbalky, an apple, kolachi, wine and coffee, tea, or milk.

This beautiful Slovak tradition consists of the entire family partaking in this meatless dinner. The mother with her daughters, if she has any, prepares this dinner which consists of Bobalky or Opekance (American dumplings) made of raised dough, soup, fish, peas and fruit--usually prunes, nuts, apples or pears.

The father is the head of the family so he presides at the dinner with the mother at his side. It is very festive, although poor, but rich in spirit, prayer and singing. After the dinner, everyone goes to Holy Mass at midnight.

It is a beautiful custom--family oriented--and this is what we are trying to preserve and carry on in America. So as a Slovak community, we gather together to remember our grandparents, parents and relatives and to carry on this beautiful tradition they had given us.

Do Videnia!

Vilija Dinner tradition was written by Mary Babnic, President ASCA.

Be sure to read Father George Franko's Christmas Wafer history.

The first in a series of histories of the Slovak churches of the Mahoning Valley is now on line. We invite you to learn more about Saint Matthias Roman Catholic Church in Youngstown, Ohio.

The American Slovak Cultural Association of the Mahoning Valley, Youngstown, Ohio was formed on July 5, 1976 to participate in America's Bi-centennial Celebration. This date coincided with the Centennial anniversary of the arrival of Slovaks into the Mahoning Valley. The association continued to meet and on June 27,1991, presented Articles of Incorporation to the Secretary of State of Ohio. The incorporation was finalized on September 2, 1993.

The association's purpose is to display and nurture the cultivation of Slovak cultural and to preserve and pass on the traditions of their heritage. During the Bi-centennial "Grand Parade" our float won the premier prize. It was entitled "From Slovakia to the Moon" and on the float was Astronaut- Captain Eugene Cernan who on three occasions commanded flights to the moon. He is of Slovak descent, his grandparents were born in Vysaka, Slovakia.

The association's specific purposes are to promote and preserve the Slovak language, heritage, cultural and civic activities through the dissemination of literature, music, history ideals and to implement scholarship grants.

In 1976 the association published a documentary entitled, "History of Slovaks in the Mahoning Valley--1876 to 1976." It is available on request by E-mail.

The association meets 4 times a year: February--May--August--November. Membership dues must be paid by June 1 of each year and are valid until the end of that year.

The Association has a Slovak Display Booth at the Canfield Fair every year, has a Slovak Scholarship Picnic with all proceeds going towards Scholarship grants to students of Slovak descent and a Traditional Slovak Vilija Dinner every December.

We encourage all Slovaks in the Mahoning Valley to join us in carrying on our Slovak Traditions and pass them on to our children and grandchildren. As the first line of the Slovak National Anthem states "Hej Slovaci! este nasa slovenska rec zije", (Heh, Slovaks! our Slovak language still lives). So its up to us to see that it continues to live.

The American Slovak Cultural Association of the Mahoning Valley is pleased to announce the winners of its two $1,000.00, 1998 Scholarships, The Ervin J. Begalla Memorial Scholarship and The American Slovak Cultural Association Executive Committee Scholarship. The Scholarship Funds were raised through the Association's Annual Scholarship Fund Raising auction, picnic and bake sale.

The Association's Ervin J. Begalla Memorial Scholarship went to Douglas Lawrence, a 1998 graduate of Ursuline High School, Youngstown, Ohio. Douglas is the son of Raymond and Beverly Hudak Lawrence, 1103 N. Ward Avenue, Girard, Ohio. He is a member of Saint Rose Parish were he served on the Liturgy Committee as a Eucharistic minister and lector. He has been a member of the Slovak Catholic Sokol for 17 years.

Lawrence was a National Merit Commended Scholar and a Top Ten Student in grades 9-10-11-12 maintaining a 4.14 GPA. He earned varsity letters in football and track. Other school activities he participated in were: National Honor Society, Mahoning Valley Ulster Project for Peace, Student Council Treasurer, Ursuline Theatre, Student Assistance Team and Ohio Math League.

Continuing his Catholic Education is important to him and being accepted to the University of Notre Dame was the realization of a dream

The American Slovak Cultural Association Executive Committee Scholarship went to Jennifer Krapacs, daughter of Theresa M. Krapacs of 1303 Bedford Road SE, Apt. 12, Masury, Ohio. She is a 1998 graduate of Brookfield High School, Brookfield, Ohio and was the Class Salutatorian graduating with a 3.955 GPA and 2nd in a class of 127. She is a member of Saint Bernadettes Church and was active in it's Youth Ministry Program. She was active in The First Catholic Slovak Ladies Association--Jednota.

Jennifer's academic honors include the Presidential Academic Excellence Award, Outstanding Student of the Year for Civics and Geometry, and High Honor Roll. Her high school activities include Art Club, Future Teachers of America, Students Against Drunk Driving and she is listed in Who's Who Among American High School Students, Beta Club and National Honor Society. She also worked as a volunteer at the Hillside Rehabilitation Center in Warren Ohio and volunteered her artistic talents at the Center and Church.

She is attending Youngstown State University, Youngstown Ohio, in the Art and Technology Division. She plans to earn a bachelors degree in animation and has taken classes with the Shenango Valley Art Guild.

1997 scholarship winners were: Christine Jennifer McCarthy and Steven Colaianni.

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