Professional & Business Women of Polonia (PBW) held its annual scholarship dinner at Kloc's Restaurant in West Seneca on May 17, 2018.
This year's scholarship winner was Kaitlyn Tytka. She was joined at the dinner by her parents, Christopher and Lynn. She is a junior at Daemen College where she is studying to be a physician assistant.
Among her many school activities, she is an orientation leader and secretary of the organization "Students Without Borders" as well as a tutor and a peer mentor. Her career goal is to work at Roswell Park Cancer Institute in pediatric oncology.
Christine Kibler, president of the PBW, thanked members of the PBW board and committee chairs for their hard work: Rose Schaefer, membership chair; Dawn Myszka, historian; and board members, JoAnn Lewandowski, Terry Tucholski, Pat Greiner, Mary Domanski, Renee Harzewski and Barbara Wetzel. Barbara is also the chair of the PBW Scholarship Committee with Anne Kiss, Christine Palczewski, Dolores Palczewski and Anne Szczesny.
Christine also recognized Mary Jane Wajmer, former vice president of the PBW and member of the Zonta Club and many other community organizations. Mary Jane passed away in March. She will be greatly missed by everyone.
Sister Mary Johnice Rzadkiewicz remembered Mary Jane during the dinner prayer. Sr. Johnice also pointed out that PBW member, Theresa Lukaszewicz, who had been unable to attend past meetings, was in attendance at tonight's dinner. We were all very happy to see Theresa there!
After dinner, PBW members were entertained by singer/actress Mary Kate O'Connell. She was joined by Bobby Jones on keyboards.
Mary Kate, a lifelong resident of WNY, is an award winning actress, community leader and executive/artistic director of O'Connell & Company.
O'Connell & Company, now in residence at The Park School of Buffalo, marked its 22nd anniversary for original and creative theatrical programming. O'Connell & Company produces a full season of musicals, revues, cabarets, concerts, plays and special presentations as well as benefit performances for charitable organizations throughout the season.
She has also performed with the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra in The Holiday Pops, Harold Arlen Centennial Concert and An Evening with David Shire at the BPO and has appeared in A Christmas in Vermont, A Prince for Christmas and A Mother's Revenge, films that were locally shot in Buffalo and the WNY area.
Bobby Jones was born in Niagara Falls. He and his brother, Fred, Jr., were a tap dancing team called The Jones Boys. Throughout the late 1950s, they appeared at countless venues including Harry Altman's Town & Glen Casinos in Buffalo. Around 1960, Bobby's parents bought him a Hammond organ.
That began a very active show business career for Bobby that has been going strong for over 55 years. Bobby was discovered by the late Sammy Davis, Jr. at the Town Casino in Buffalo where they were both performing in 1962.
He has traveled the world performing as a Top flight jazz performer playing everything from an Opera Premiere which opened in Paris, to major jazz festivals in The Netherlands, Germany, and New York to name a few venues. He is featured on gold records with such artists as Stephanie Mills (The Wiz) and played with jazz artists Lenny White, Johnny Griffin, Eddie Harris and Louie Belson.
Mary Kate sang several Harold Arlen songs including "One for My Baby and One More for the Road", "Let's Fall in Love", "It's only a Paper Moon", and "Stormy Weather".
She ended the night with the timeless song "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" made popular by the late Judy Garland from the movie "The Wizard of Oz".
In August, the PBW is planning on a boat ride on a Saturday for our annual PBW outing.
At our September dinner meeting, author Katrina Shawver , from Phoenix, AZ, who wrote a book titled "Henry: A Polish Swimmer's True Story of Friendship from Auschwitz to America" will be the guest speaker. Katrina is doing a book tour and will be in WNY in September and October.
The book is about the true story of Henry Zguda, a champion Polish swimmer who was imprisoned in Auschwitz and Buchenwald as a Polish political prisoner. The date and place for our September meeting is to be determined.
Come join us for what will be a very interesting meeting.