Detroit/Windsor Graduates present Ukrainian of the Year Award
by Stephen M. Wichar Sr.
DETROIT - An overflow audience came to see Victoria Hruszkewycz receive metropolitan Detroit's coveted and prestigious Ukrainian of the Year Award. The sponsoring organization, the Ukrainian Graduates of Detroit and Windsor, for the 58th consecutive year presented its scholarships. Nine Ukrainian students received the 1997 stipends.
The ceremonies began with a cocktail hour. As guests munched on hors d'oeuvres, Lexie Nordstrom and Nataline Kujan, who recently established the Bandura School of Detroit, played favorite Ukrainian selections on their banduras. The popular Zoloti Dzvony (Golden Bells) Song Ensemble, under the direction of Olga Dubrivny-Solovey, also entertained the audience with its informal style of singing.
The banquet program was opened by Dr. Jaroslaw Sawka, president of the graduate's organization. "We must maximize our efforts in cultivating young minds so that they can become our leaders of tomorrow," he said.
He also introduced Stephen Wichar as the master of ceremonies who welcomed guests and the banquet steering committee and then called on the audience to rise for toasts to the people of the United States and their president, to the people of Canada and their queen, and to newly free and independent Ukraine. Bishop Alexander Bykovetz of the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church offered the invocation.
Serafina and Tito Marzotto, chairpersons of the Scholarship Committee, assembled all the scholarship recipients at the dais. Each student spoke briefly about his or her educational objectives. The following students were recognized: Rachel Calcaterra, Michigan State University (psychology); Natalia Celuch, Oakland University (exercise science); John Fedynsky, Georgetown University (business); Joanna Horbal, University of Western Ontario (foods and nutrition); Katherine Anna Korol, Wayne State University (public relations); Yuliya Koval, Oakland Community College (business information systems); Melania Kraska, University of Michigan (child psychology); Andrew Jurij Sawka, Central Michigan University (automotive design); and Larissa Snihurowicz, University of Windsor (nursing).
As the chairman of the Ukrainian of the Year Award Committee, Mr. Wichar introduced the 1997 Ukrainian of the Year. Ms. Hruszkewycz, a registered nurse, is an infection control practitioner and works in the Department of Epidemiology at William Beaumont Hospital, in Royal Oak, Mich.
"Her educational and professional experiences are voluminous and extensive," Mr. Wichar noted, listing her work in emergency practice, oncology units, research in microbiology and other research programs. Ms. Hruszkewycz is a member of many professional organizations, from which she has received numerous honors. She has successfully presented abstracts and other papers at scientific meetings, has several professional publications to her credit, and has served as a guest lecturer.
"One of the high points in Ms. Hruszkewycz's career was the epidemiological investigation of the effect of radiation on the eyes of children affected by the Chornobyl accident," noted Mr. Wichar. "In this ongoing research, Ms. Hruszkewycz was a member of the international collaborative study team working with the Ukrainian Ministry of Health. Working in the 'hot zone' of Chornobyl, Ms. Hruszkewycz worked with a volunteer team sponsored by the Tri-State Committee Children of Chornobyl Relief Fund, University of Pittsburgh.
"As the immediate president of the Ukrainian Nurses Association of Michigan, Ms. Hruszkewycz along with her colleagues, spearheads the Veselka Project. This committee has studied and implemented a Ukrainian extended-care facility for elderly Ukrainians who need medical help. This community-wide endeavor promises to have a major impact in metropolitan Detroit."
After calling Ms. Hruszkewycz to the podium, Mr. Wichar also asked her son, Timko, and mother to join the honoree for the plaque presentation. A thunderous standing ovation greeted Ms. Hruszkewycz, who thanked the Ukrainian Graduates and the audience for the high honor bestowed on her.
"I want everyone to know," that I have a profound and very deep commitment to my God and country, and to my people." she said. "I will continue to use my talents, whatever they may be, to serve both children and elderly alike. Thank you for your trust and confidence."
The 58th anniversary dinner concluded with a benediction by Bishop Bykovetz.
Copyright © The Ukrainian Weekly, December 21, 1997, No. 51, Vol. LXV
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