KOSCIUSZKO FOUNDATION BALL AT WALDORF-ASTORIA
5/23/2003 - The Grand Ballroom at The Waldorf-Astoria was filled with dancing couples and lively music, as the Kosciuszko Foundation celebrated its 68th Annual Dinner and Ball Saturday, April 26. Some 600 members and friends enjoyed this spectacular evening of dancing and dining, debutantes, music and pageantry.
The theme of the evening was "In Appreciation," a "thank you" to the Foundation's members, donors, and volunteers. A huge banner, reproducing a recently donated tapestry, hung center stage as a reminder of this theme. Joseph E. Gore, Esq., President and Executive Director, began the evening at 8 PM by introducing Ball Chairmen, honorees, and other dignitaries. Honorary Chairperson was Mildred H. Tyszka, of Garden City, recognizing her contributions of time and energy to the Foundation's annual Ball for nearly 30 years. Richard and Bernadette Zawisny, of Staten Island, both very active in the Polish community and proud of their Polish heritage and culture, served as Ball Chairpersons.
Jack Radgowski, of Fort Salonga, Long Island, was presented with the Foundation's Medal of Recognition, for his extraordinary life achievement and his outstanding support of the Polish American communities in general and of the Kosciuszko Foundation in particular.
President Gore then introduced the Board of Trustees: Witold S. Sulimirski, Bronxville, NY, Chairman; William J. Nareski, Darien, CT, Vice Chairman; Christine J. McMullian, Lake Hopatcong, NJ, Vice Chairman; Wanda Senko, Muttontown, NY, Corporate Secretary; Maria J. Hagadus, Bedford Hills, NY; Peter P. Makula, New York, NY; Honorable Ann T. Mikoll, Depew, NY; Edward T. Mohylowski, Fairfield, CT; Lt. General John Nowak, USAF (Retired), Spring Lake, MI.; Dr. Ewa Radwanska, Chicago, IL; Cynthia Rosicki, Esq., Carle Place, NY; Dr. Henry Sikorski, Garden City, NY; Helen Mary Tyszka, Garden City, NY; and Henry C. Walentowicz, Esq., Clifton, NJ. Mr. Gore then presented Dawn Polewac, Plainview, NY, Chairman of the Debutante Council; and Mark J. Peszko, Esq., Buffalo, NY, Chairman of the National Advisory Council.
Other dignitaries present were then acknowledged. These included His Excellency Ambassador Dr. Janusz Stanczyk, of the Polish Mission to the United Nations; Honorable Agnieszka Magdziak-Miszewska, Polish Consul General in New York; Honorable Maciej Pisarski, Political Section, Polish Embassy; Minister Counselor Beata Peksa-Krawiec and Counselor Dariusz Manczyk, both of the Polish Mission to the UN; Krzysztof Dabrowski, Polish Commercial Counselor; and Consuls Maciej Grabowski , Marta Grabowski, Anna Pelka, and Marek Skolimowski.
With military crispness, a Color Guard from the US Military Academy at West Point presented the flags of Poland and the United States, and mezzo-soprano Barbara Rzezwicka Gajdek sang the anthems of both nations. Ms. Gajdek was the winner of the Foundation's Spelluto Bonczak Voice Scholarship three years ago and represented the Foundation at the Moniuszko International Voice Competition in Warsaw.
In his remarks, President Gore praised the vision, generosity, and fidelity of donors, supporters, and volunteers over the years. An eloquent invocation was delivered by the Reverend Witold Mroziewski, Pastor of Our Lady of Czestochowa - St. Casimir Church, New York. Dinner was then served, to the accompaniment of the Anthony Tabish Orchestra.
At 10 o'clock a trumpeter in the top tier of the Grand Ballroom sounded the "hejnal" call, the signal for the start of the debutante presentation. Mrs. Dawn Polewac, Chairman of the Debutante Council, introduced 2003 Patroness Wanda M. Senko, who introduced the seven elegant young debutantes of 2003 (Ms. Senko also serves as Kosciuszko Foundation Trustee and Corporate Secretary). The Debutantes were: Elizabeth Claire Connelly, Millville NJ; Stephanie Anne Foley, Staten Island, NY; Kristin Elise Irace, Greenlawn, NY; Natalia Kalembiewicz, Brooklyn, NY; Margaret Maria Kolodziejczyk, Buffalo, NY; Sonia Elisabeth Kwiatkowski, Freehold, NJ; and Samantha Britt Polewac, Plainview, NY. The elaborate debutante presentation was prepared by Caroline A. Fazio, Director of Choreography, and Julianna Fazio, Assistant Director of Choreography. After waltzing with their escorts and fathers, the seven debutantes yielded the stage to the lively dancing of the Hejnal Polish American Folk Dancers of Long Island, led by their Co-Director Andrzej Kempisty. The members of Hejnal then led the guests in the Grand Polonaise.
At midnight, gongs signalled the Grand Raffle, and Co-Chairpersons Trustee Christine J. McMullan and Wladzia Jaworowska came to the Ballroom stage. They selected the winners and distributed the prizes, which included $10,000 in cash, spectacular crystal jewelry contributed by Swarovski, and a cultured pearl necklace donated by the PNA of Brooklyn. The Tabish Orchestras then resumed their music, and the crowd danced the night away.
Plans are already underway for the Kosciuszko Foundation's 69th Annual Dinner and Ball at the Waldorf-Astoria, Saturday, April 25, 2004.
Thomas J. Pniewski
The Kosciuszko Foundation