Wachtel Literary Awards for 2020 - winner :
I have been involved with the Polish Heritage Society of Rochester for many years. When I was twelve years old, I started assisting my grandfather at the St. Stanislaus Polish Festival demonstrating pisanki. I learned to melt the bees wax in a stylus, then carefully draw the design on a hollow egg. Although it took practice, over time I started to get the hang of it. My eggs will never match my grandfather's, but I have enjoyed participating in the festival every year and continuing this Polish tradition. I have been involved with school activities as well. I am currently a member of the National Honor Society and help with many volunteer projects for my school. Also, I was part of a team that went to Houston Texas to present a project that we created for a NASA science competition -- a tool pouch for the International Space Station.
In June of this year I will be graduating from high school and will be attending Binghamton University in September, majoring in biomedical engineering and minoring in business. I am very excited to meet new people and to continue learning. I hope to become a peer mentor there and help other students as well.
I have always lived with the motto that if you are going to do something, you better be the best. So, I plan on being the best wherever life takes me. I will surely keep in touch and send you life updates along the way! I will also make sure to carry on the Pisanki tradition and teach others the art of egg decorating.
My long-term goals include moving to California for graduate school and getting a masters degree in biomedical Engineering. With this degree I hope to work in a biotech company developing new medicines or medical devices for people in need. I have chosen California for two reasons: first because I am in love with its warm weather. Second, because I have family in San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Merced. Every visit there gave me the dream to eventually move and live there.
Brendan's essay: Krakow, Poland is posted here. (go to essay text)
Polish Heritage Society, Rochester, NY - Literary Competition (see information page)
History: The Literary Awards (formerly Competition) was established in 1995 by Estelle Wachtel-Torres MD (see bio) in memory of her father, Stanley Zenon Wachtel. (read his complete biography) Mr. Wachtel was a pioneer of Chicago's Polish Theatre. In Detroit, he became the long-time producer of the Polish Language Radio Program on WJLB, WEXL and WNBC. Plus, he was a lead writer as well as an announcer on Polish radio. Gertrude Wachtel, his spouse, was also active in the theatre and looked after the finances of the programs.
Purpose: The Literary Awards (Competition) was established to foster the endeavors of Polish American Youth in the fields of journalism and/or literature. In order to be considered for an award, the age criteria is from junior high school until the age of 30 (in case of an individual studying for a doctorate or master's degree). The American Council for Polish Culture will match the first prize awards up to $750.00 per affiliate on an annual basis.
Criteria: For a matching award an affiliate or supporting organization must notify the Literary Awards Chair with the following information.
- A notification of the date of the competition.
- Rules of its competition.
- The size of the award.
- The winner's name and any other requested data must be forwarded after the judging.
- Forward a copy of the winning entry plus a photo of the 1st place recipient to the Literary Awards Chair via an e-mail attachment to:
Carolyn L. Meleski firstname.lastname@example.org