On Saturday, December 28th at the Rio Hondo Event Center in Downey, the Polish University Club of Los Angeles held its annual Opŀatek Luncheon and Scholarship Presentation. Scholarships were presented to fifteen undergraduate and graduate students of Polish descent.
The exchange of Oplatek set a festive tone for the afternoon. George Kalinski first spoke about the tradition’s significance. He emphasized that when we share the Oplatek, we bring our personal faith out into the world. Laughter and happy conversation then filled the room as approximately sixty attendees exchanged holiday wishes with friends old and new. A buffet-style lunch followed.
Grazyna Wiacek, a volunteer in the Polish community of Los Angeles, made a special presentation. The PUCLA recently had the honor of receiving a bequest from the estate of Joseph Bieniasz, a longtime member of the local Polish community. Ms. Wiacek, who is trustee of the Joseph Bieniasz trust, presented the PUCLA with a check. The bequest establishes the Joseph Bieniasz Memorial Scholarship Fund, a long-term endowment which will help the PUCLA provide scholarships for future generations of Polish-American college students.
The luncheon concluded with a raffle and, of course, the presentation of scholarship awards by President Theresa Dudzick and Treasurer Paul Kaymark. Awards are given in two installments—one in Spring and the other in Winter. This year’s recipients are: Michael Barylak, Warsaw University of Technology; Alexandra Bilski, UC San Diego; Anna Bilski, Northwestern University; Joanna Hrabia, UCLA (Dr. Thomas Potasz Memorial Founder’s Scholarship); Aneta Jelowicki, Cal State Fullerton; Michelle Kosiński, University of Southern California; Natalie Kozłowski, Cal State Fullerton; Adam O’Neal, UC Irvine (Thomas Bruzdowicz Memorial Scholarship); Pamela Pyrzyński, Wrocław Medical University; Katherine Ratajczak, UCLA; Maciej Rosa (POLAM Federal Credit Union Scholarship), Cal Poly Pomona (Natalia Romuzga, Claremont Graduate University (Bronia Walacha Memorial Scholarship); Stephanie Schlobohm, Purdue University; Jakub Truty, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo (Past Presidents’ Scholarship); and Stasia Wideryński, Tulane University.
As in the past, this year’s recipients have diverse interests spanning the arts, sciences, social sciences and humanities. It is energizing to see young Polish-Americans bring their talents and passion to such a variety of fields.
Approximately 150 students have received PUCLA scholarships since 1947. Information about scholarship applications and membership can be found at www.pucla.org.
– Written by Regina Sikora and Published in the News of Polonia, January 2014 Edition