FPA presents scholarship recipients, literary competition winners

On Friday, May 16, Friend of Polish Art presented its 2015 Scholarship Recipients at the general membership meeting held at the American Polish Cultural Center.  The Scholarship Committee, headed by Elżbieta Mścichowska, awarded two students with the “2015 Mitchell Fine Arts Scholarship” ($1500 each) and eight students with the “2015 Frank Filipek Scholarship” ($1500 each).

The Mitchell Fine Arts Scholarships went to:
Melissa Houghton – currently, a senior at Stoney Creek High School in Rochester Hills.  She will pursue a major in Music Education at Michigan State University.  Melissa, an excellent student with 3.8 GPA, has been a member of various choirs for the past 7 years.  She has performed with Detroit Chamber Winds, Rochester Symphony Orchestra and sung at Polish Masses and Ceremonies.  In addition to several theater productions at her high school, Melissa has also participated in Avon Players and Summer Music Theatre.

Katrina Wioncek – she will be a senior next fall at Saginaw Valley State University, majoring in History with minors in Art and Public History.  Her scholastic honors are very impressive:  2012 Photography and Still Life drawing awards at FPA’s Kubinski Competition, Dean’s list for Fall 2014, with cumulative GPA of 3.4, Recipient of Saginaw Valley scholarship to study aboard this summer.  Katrina’s list of participation in Polish activities and organizations include Friends of Polish Art, Polish Museum of America, West Side Detroit Polish Historical Society, where she archived cemetery headstone images in Summer of 2014.

The 2015 Frank Filipek Scholarships went to:
David Cooper – currently enrolled in Schoolcraft College, majoring in Culinary Arts and Engineering is also a great student with 3.7 GPA and a Dean’s List honoree.  David’s involvement in extra-curricular activities take him from feeding homeless in Detroit, to dancing with Centennial Dancers for 6 years, to remodeling pastor’s house with Boy Scouts of America.  He already earned his LIFE badge and is now working on Eagle Scout.  David has been a delegate to PNA Council 54 since 2012 and is a Vice President of that organization for the past two years.

Hannah Gove – she will be a freshman at Grand Valley State University after graduating from Ladywood High School in Livonia.  She has been awarded a Certificate of Excellence in Mathematics, Foreign Language and Art.  She has been consistently on the Honor Roll since her junior year in High School.  Hannah’s after school activities include, among others: Centennial Dancers since she was 4 years old, membership in Polanie Song and Dance Ensemble and PNA Lodge 53, participation in March of Life in Washington, D.C last year.  Hannah had an opportunity to travel last summer to Rzeszów, Poland, where she performed at the Folk Festival.  Hannah’s will pursue a major in Occupational Therapy at Grand Valley.

Nicholas Houghton – currently, a senior at Stoney Creek High School in Rochester Hills, he will pursue a degree in Mechanical Engineering at Michigan State University.  Nicholas, just like his twin sister, is also an excellent student with the GPA of 3.9 and an athlete.  He has been a Captain of Junior Varsity and Varsity Lacrosse teams, received All County and State Academic Award, served on the Student Advisory Committee, and as Peer Mentor for physically and mentally challenged students.  Nicholas cites in his essay, that his grandparents Zygmunt and Lucyna Czajkowski have been great inspiration for him and have always encouraged him to succeed through “hard work and generous spirit of service”.

Kristen Karwan – she is a Ladywood High School graduate who will continue her studies at Grand Valley State University.  Kristen’s goal is to study Nursing.  As Kristen wrote in her very good essay, “her mom, who is an Oncology Nurse Practitioner, unknowingly, influenced her decision”.  She has been on the Honor Roll for all 4 years, as well as Scholar Athlete.  She joined National Art Honor Society in 2015.  Kristen’s extra-curricular activities, achievements and list of Polish-American activities is very impressive (it includes:  Team Captain – Competitive Cheer for 2 years, Catholic League Champion – Lacrosse in 2014, March for Life in Washington, D.C. in 2015, PNA Dance Group – 12 years, since 2001, Travel to Rzeszów for the Festival of Polish Folk Dancing, attendance at Hamtramck’s Memorial Day Parade for 8 years).

Alexandra Konopka – she will soon graduate from Dakota High School in the top 10% of her class, with 3.9 GPA and head to Michigan State University to study engineering.  She has been on the Honor Roll for all 4 years, a member of the National Honor Society, Key Club and Math Honor Society.  Alexandra started participating in Dunajec Polish Song and Dance Ensemble since she was a little girl and continued until senior year in high school.  She also attended Polish School through elementary and middle school to learn to read and write in Polish and become more familiar with Polish culture and her heritage.

Bridget Stonchus – next fall, she will be a senior at Wayne State University pursuing a double major: Slavic studies with Russian concentration and Finance. Her academic record thus far is flawless – 4.0 GPA!  Bridget is Wayne State Presidential Scholar since 2012.  She has been on the Dean’s list since her freshman year and received Slavic Studies Excellence Award in 2013 and 2014.  Bridget assisted and participated in Pisanki Polish Egg Decorating Workshop, Pączki sale and Wigilia, all sponsored by the Wayne State University Slavic Club.  Bridget’s long-term profession goal is to have a career in international business.

Sharon Denniston Tylenda – she is a Ph.D. Doctoral Candidate in Public Policy and Administration at Walden University since 2011, with admirable 4.0 GPA.  She is currently working on her dissertation.  Sharon holds Bachelor of Science in Nuclear Medicine Technology with Honors from Ferris State University and Master of Computer Information Science from Cleveland State University.  Sharon’s has been involved in Polish-American activities as a member of PNA, Council 122 Lodge, PNA’s Youth Course Volunteer at Polish Cultural Summer camp, a Picnic Volunteer “many times over the past 25 years” and Orchard Lake St. Mary’s Seminary as a Coordinator of Evening Activities. In her essay, Sharon stated that she is not the “traditional doctoral student”, but one, who felt she could do more than just volunteer as juvenile advocate. After raising and educating her sons, it was time for her to “take on the challenge and rigor required for her Ph. D.”

Nichole Winters – when 2015 fall semester commences, she will be a Junior at Wayne State University.  Nichole’s essay began with a quote from Maria Sklodowska-Currie, Polish-born scientist and twice Nobel Prize winner: “Life is not easy for any of us, but so what?  We must have perseverance and above all, confidence in ourselves. W e must believe that we are gifted for something and that this thing must be obtained”.  And it appears that this very citation had been a guiding principle, which allowed Nichole to overcome many difficult obstacles in the past.  She did not know how or why, but always knew that reaching for higher education was the right choice.  After completing an Associate Degree in Liberal Arts at Oakland Community College, Nichole is pursuing Bachelors of Science in Psychology, holding currently 4.0 GPA.  In addition to being a diligent student, she volunteers at food bank at St. Mary’s Parish, or participates in fundraisers for charitable causes, such as Salvation Army, or cancer research.  Nichole also cherishes her Polish background by observing the old country’s traditions during holidays with her family, or attending activities at the American Polish Cultural Center, such as pisanki workshop.

The Friends of Polish Art’s general membership meeting included not only the presentation of this year’s FPA Scholarship Recipients, but also the winners of the annual Dr. Estelle-Wachtel Torres, M.D. Literary Competition.
The competition is named after Dr. Estelle-Wachtel Torres, who many years ago established FPA Short Story Competition.  The family of Dr. Wachtel-Torres, who passed away two years ago, donated $5,000 to FPA in order to establish Estelle-Wachtel Torres, M.D. Literary Competition Fund.  Thus, the competition changed its official name, as well as extended accepted literary forms (other than short stories, poems, essays are now accepted as well.)
Janet Ann Hedin, the chair of the competition, had an honor of announcing this year’s winner.

The First Prize ($250) went to a short story “Wladislaw Bronski” written by Walerian Domański.  Second Prize ($150) was awarded to Anthony Stachurski for his poem “Beloved Poem”.  Third Prize ($100) went to Arlene Shubert for her essay “Act of Renawal”.  The competition committee also awarded one “Honorable Mention” ($50).  It went to Anne Ryszka for a poem “The Life of the Button of the Belly”.

This year two additional prizes were handed out for “The Best Polish Theme” as well as an “Honorable Mention” in this category.  Brian Kudron, a student at University of Michigan-Dearborn, was awarded “Best Polish Theme” for his essay “The Curios Case of Colonel Ryszard Kuklinski” and 2015 FPA Scholarship Recipient Katrina Wioncek received “Honorable Mention” for her essay “Children of the Holocaust”.

The calendar of events and competitions sponsored by Friends of Polish Art will feature yet another one.  Details of a new literary competition will be soon officially revealed.  So far what we know is that the competition will be named after the late Suzanne Sloat and will be targeted to Polish-American youth.  Stay tune for details.
For more information about activities of Friends of Polish Art visit www.friendsofpolishart.org.