Meritorious Service Award

A Scholarship Fundraiser…

  1. Funds the ASOP scholarship program
  2. Keeps our community informed of this benefit for High School Seniors who are insured members of our Society
  3. Awards the Sons of Poland Meritorious Service Award to give honor and acclamation to a deserving individual or organization dedicated to the value of education
  4. Raises awareness among the community at large for the need for higher education, its costs, and what ASOP does to provide aid.

award-trayThe Sons of Poland Meritorious Service Award…

  • honors an individual or organization whose value and concern for higher education has been eloquently demonstrated through leadership, accomplishments and commitment serving as an inspiration to others
  • formally acknowledges respect for action and deeds which confirm the unique value of every individual, the majesty and unending possibilities of the human mind and the enormous potential which exists in every person
  • expresses gratitude for an outstanding leader or organization whose efforts reflect the Association’s commitment to the education of our children for the benefit of society and the future.

Meritorious Service Award Honorees


Frances X. Gates, a graduate of Brooklyn College, CUNY, has dedicated her life to representing the Polish-American community within a variety of organizations, including the Kościuszko Foundation, the Polish Singers Alliance of America, the General Pulaski Parade Committee, and our own Association of the Sons of Poland, among countless others over the years. She is the recipient of fifteen national and international awards, among them the Order of Comradeship presented by Poland’s late President Kaczyński. In her early years, moved by the needs of immigrants and the vision-impaired, she tutored such individuals to assist their education and assimilation into the community. Her considerable contributions to the management and direction of Polonia’s organizations formed her own life mission: to promote Polish-American history and culture to all Americans and to encourage those among our heritage to learn more and share in our pride.

Photos: John A. Kostecki


Gregory Komeshok represents the epitome of citizenship and today’s role of being a Polish-American. By way of example, Komeshok illustrates efforts that reflect ASOP’s commitment to the education of its children for the benefit of society and the future.

In addition to serving the children of Passaic, he plays an active role in his community and in the political life of Passaic County. The list is almost endless, but the most outstanding have been his contributions to community life in Holy Rosary and St. John Kanty churches where he organized English classes for immigrants, and in the Central of Polish Organizations (CENTRALA) for which he served as Contingent Marshal for the Pulaski Day Parade. He established the annual outdoor Jimmy Sturr Concert in Passaic, now in its eleventh year, and has served his part politically as delegate to the Democratic National Convention, as well as being party chairman and Freeholder for Passaic County. In addition, he has managed and coached baseball teams. His married to Susan, and they have two sons: Kevin and Christopher.

Photos: John A. Kostecki


Celeste Ann Oranchak is a believer in access and opportunity for all individuals, especially our youth, and has worked tirelessly to provide access to those unable to afford quality education through her service with many not-for-profits. At the time of receipt of her award, Ms. Oranchak served as Vice President for Institutional Advancement at Felician College, which has campuses in Lodi and Rutherford, New Jersey. In this capacity, she oversaw fundraising and development, public relations, and alumni affairs. She raised significant scholarship support for the college’s well-deserving students to help relieve their financial burden. Ms. Oranchak received her baccalaureate and master’s degrees from New York University and has since served on numerous not-for-profit boards in Hudson County and beyond. She is active in various community organizations and has received service awards from the Outstanding Young Women of America, Jersey Journal Woman of Achievement, the Marie Slodowska-Curie Women’s Association Award, the Fryderyk Chopin Award from the Polish-American Heritage Commission, and the Polish-American Congress Arts and Culture Award.

Ms. Oranchak is a former president of Sons of Poland Lodge #63, and daughter of former longtime board member Helen Oranchak. Ms. Oranchak is also the proud mother of Lila Min Erica.

Photos: John A. Kostecki


The Marie SKŁODOWSKA-Curie Professional Women’s Association Inc. was founded in June, 1996. The goals and objectives of the organization are charitable and educational and strive to promote the cultural, social and economic advancement of its members, foster patriotism among them and maintain high standards of integrity and honor. MSCPWA also promotes activities for the good and welfare of Polish-Americans, utilizing all legitimate means to better their standing, and participates in community affairs.

Any woman engaged in or retired from a business or profession who resides in the United States, who by birth or descent is of Polish Heritage and/or who believes in the objectives and ideals of MSCPWA is eligible for membership..

Photos: John A. Kostecki


The Polish University Club of New Jersey was conceived in 1928 by a group of male Polish-American college graduates, who formed the Polish Collegiate Club and in 1928 the name was changed to the Polish University Club of New Jersey. The organization blossomed through the years promoting cultural activities and awarding scholarships. In 1931, the wives of the members of the Polish University Club organized an Auxiliary with the same goals.

In 1953, the Club expanded the realm of its activities by inaugurating the Institute of Polish Culture at Seton Hall University. Then, in 1982, the Polish University Club of New Jersey opened its doors to woman graduates, and shortly thereafter the Auxiliary members became a part of the Club.

The Polish University Club of New Jersey has always taken great pride in supporting young adults who are striving for higher education. In order to promote this interest, it has awarded many scholarships to deserving students. A total exceeding $500,000 has been awarded to more then 500 students pursuing their educational goals. Money for the Scholarship Fund is raised from contributions of past recipients, members, friends, bequests and the proceeds from social affairs. Edward Starr and Paul Bogatko deserve special mention as the Club’s most generous contributors. Edward Starr left a bequest of $275,000 to the Scholarship Fund. Paul Bogatko endowed Syracuse University with $231,000 to establish a scholarship fund in his memory. He chose the Polish University Club of New Jersey to recommend Polish-American students attending Syracuse University for these awards. Wanda and Walter Nowel have also endowed a scholarship.

Photos: John A. Kostecki


The Teaching English in Poland Program sponsored by the Kościuszko Foundation and in association with UNESCO of Poland and the Polish Ministry of Education is a program whose initiator and Director since 1995 has been Christine Kuskowski. As volunteer Director of this program, Mrs. Kuskowski was given the Medal of the Commission of National Education of the Republic of Poland, the highest award bestowed on an individual for outstanding merit in the field of education. It was awarded by the Minister of Education, Ryszard Legutko at a ceremony held in Warsaw, Poland with a reception held afterwards at the Warsaw office of the Kościuszko Foundation.

A retired educator, Mrs. Kuskowski is a member of the Polish Teacher’s Association: The Kościuszko Foundation’s Holocaust Studies Committee, National Council and Pro-Arte League; and the Marie SKŁODOWSKA-Curie Professional Women’s Association.

Photos: Dayle Vander Sande


In 1923, the Polish-American Scholarship Committee was established by Dr. Stephen Mizwa to provide higher education at American Universities for Polish students. By 1925 it was changed into a Foundation and living memorial to Tadeusz Kościuszko, a Polish general, patriot and hero of the American Revolution. The mission of the Kościuszko Foundation expanded to include Americans whose higher education encompassed the history and culture of Poland as well as the education of Polish-Americans.

Today, over one million dollars is disbursed annually to Polish-Americans and Polish students. Membership and participation at annual fundraisers such as the Debutante Ball held each spring at the Waldorf Astoria, provide the funds for this noble organization to continue to enrich the educational and cultural lives of both America and Poland.

Photos: Dayle Vander Sande

2008 – RICHARD J. HUNTER, J.D., M.A., A.B.

Our first honoree, Richard J. Hunter, J.D., M.A., A.B. is a Professor of Commercial and International Business Law and Economics at the Stillman School of Business at Seton Hall University. He has attended and received degrees and certificates from the University of Notre Dame, The John Hopkins School of International Economics, Soviet and Eastern European Studies at Harvard University, and the Jagiellonian University in Krakow, Poland. He has been instrumental in securing higher education, especially at Seton Hall University and is a Mentor in the finest portrayal of an educator.

Video: Anthony Bellov Video Productions