Estelle von Wachtel-Torres, the immediate past president of the Polish American Arts Association of Washington, D.C., was presented with the Founders Award at the 56th National Convention of the American Council for Polish Culture (ACPC) held August 17-22 in Anaheim, California.
Estelle’s promotion of Polish language and literature go back to her early days in Chicago, where she was a radio personality known as “Przyjaciolka Stasia.” In Detroit, where she earned her medical degree from Wayne State University, she was active in the Polish National Alliance, the Polish Falcon’s, the Polish American Medical/Dental Arts Association, the Kosciuszko Foundation and the Friends of Polish Arts (FPA) of Detroit.
She was elected to the FPA Board in 1990, and in 1994 she launched the successful FPA Inaugural Short Story Competition for college students. Estelle also did extensive work with Americares as their Polonian coordinator.
When Estelle moved to Virginia in 1994, she joined the Polish American Arts Association (PAAA) of Washington, D.C., and served on its board of directors, as vice president and president for several terms. Since 1999, she has been the editor of the PAAA bimonthly newsletter. She has chaired PAAA’s annual scholarship project for the last six years. Under Estelle’s leadership, PAAA has established the “Connections” group for young adult Polish Americans.
The Polish American Historical Society presented her with an award acknowledging her contributions to an understanding of the Polish experience in America.
Estelle served on the ACPC board of directors from 1991-1995 and again from 2002-2004. She funded and chaired the Stanley Wachtle Literary Competition Award in 1995. She was a board member of the American Center of Polish Culture from 1998 to 2003.
Currently, Estelle is a member of the ACPC Pulaski Scholarship Committee. She is also a member of the Friends of John Paul II Foundation, Friends of the Polish Library, the Polish American Health Association, the Polish American Historical Society and the Polish Institute of Arts Association.