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And the Winner Is…

Lauer Learning announces winners of the recent ‘Best Submission Contest’ for the Hungarian American Community Website, www.thegulyaspot.com

Atlanta – January 20, 2009 – Three heartfelt tales chronicling personal events and stories of unforgettable experiences of Hungarian American families were chosen as the winners of the recent ‘best story’ contest sponsored by Lauer Learning. The contest challenged Hungarians nationwide to submit creative, historically significant, personal stories to www.Gulyaspot.com, the Hungarian American community website.

Andrea Lauer Rice, founder and chief executive officer of Lauer Learning, the multimedia educational company headquartered outside of Atlanta, called the competition a great success. "The contest enticed the Hungarian community across the country to share their own stories through the Gulyas Pot site and continue our effort to help chronicle Hungarian heritage in the United States”, she said.

The Gulyas Pot community website, is a an important part of Lauer Learning’s ongoing "Pass It On…” program of protecting cultural and ethnic connections and finding ways to help pass on a strong connection to one’s ethnicity from generation to generation. The website was created to make information available to Hungarian Americans everywhere and offer them a place to create their own content, interact with each other and network as a community.

"The GulyasPot.com is attracting many participants to share their own stories and document the rich, varied experiences and history of Hungary and Hungarian Americans,” said Lauer Rice. "I wanted to take advantage of the interest we have received by providing an added incentive for people to tell their stories.”

The three winning Gulyas Pot Contest submissions: told of a strong willed grandmother’s love of her country, recalled conversations with a banished Cardinal, and reflected on the experience of a scholar turned gravedigger.

The first place prize went to Kathy Vogel, a writer and editor from Chicago who currently lives in Atlanta, for a story "Nagymama’s Italian Angel’ about her grandmother (Nagymama), who came to the United States in the 1930s from Kassa, Hungary. Ms. Vogel’s recounted how her grandmother was rescued by a peacekeeping Italian soldier when she defiantly wore a Hungarian Flag pinned to her coat in protest of the Czech and Russian occupation of her town after World War I. Throughout her life Nagymama passed on her love for her country and her heritage to her family and friends.

Second and third place honors went to "Fortune Favor the Brave!” by Dr. Alfonz Lengyel, a retired American University professor and the U.S. Director for the Sino-American Field School of Archaeology; and "A Christmas Memorial of Cardinal Mindszenty” by William S. Shepherd, a retired diplomat who lives in Maryland and is the author of a number of books including Diplomatic Tales.

Lengyel, a Hungarian refugee, told the story of lessons learned while working as a grave digger in a San Jose, California to make enough money to continue the education he began in Hungary. In "A Christmas Memorial of Cardinal Mindszenty”, Shepherd remembers his diplomatic assignment in Budapest, and the insights he gained while escorting the great Cardinal Mindszenty on daily walks inside the U.S. Embassy where he resided under diplomatic protection for 17 years.

"The stories are wonderful. The top three were extraordinary but every single one of the submissions we received has tremendous value and I am sure everyone who reads them will be touched”, said Lauer Rice. "I want to thank the Hungarian American community for their participation in the contest and encourage continued contributions – whether you share a story, read a story, pass a story on to your children and families – it helps build the online community of www.TheGulyaspot.com."

Lauer Learning and the Hungarian American Coalition (HAC) sponsored the creation of www.Gulyaspot.com. All contest submissions can be seen on the community website.

"The Gulyas Pot is bringing Hungarian Americans together and helping us find ways to pass on the wonderful heritage, rich history, and even information on upcoming events planned in our areas to each other, our children and grandchildren. It is helping people keep in touch with what is going on in our community from New York to California,” said Lauer Rice.

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