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Stella  Szczęsny

Stella Szczęsny, photography by Tomek Zerek

Stella Szczęsny was born on 22nd July 1948 in Hamtramck. In her family, she is the second generation of Poles born in the US. Her grandparents came to America one hundred years ago from Kielce, Andrychów and Spytkowice.

Stella Szczęsny has been working as a HR specialist at the Michigan Civil Service Commission. Since 2004 she has been the president of 122. Branch of Polish National Alliance in Hamtramck, one of the oldest Polonia organizations in the US, being the first woman in history to have held that position. She has also been engaged in the Polish-American Central Citizens Committee, being its first president. Currently, she is the manager of the organization.

Stella Szczęsny often visits Poland, for private purposes and she has been there twice with a dance group from Hamtramck to participate in the Folk Dance Festival in Rzeszów. Her children, Kasia and Tomek, have been attending dance classes since their early childhood where they have learnt Polish folk dances. Today, they teach those dances to next generations.

Stella Szczęsny, for her efforts to strengthen the Polish community, was awarded the Pulaski Medal and in 2006 she received the “Woman of the Year” title awarded to her by the Piast Institute. In 2011, for her merits to the local Polonia, she received the Polish-American Congress award, branch office Michigan.

Interview by Anna Muller on 29th July 2015 in Hamtramck.

interview excerpts
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Genealogy of the Polish National Alliance
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Three generations of emigrants
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First visit to Poland and an important meeting
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1989 in Poland
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Grandparents and parents
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Speaking Polish, speaking English
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Hallahs and blood soup
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