Emma BaranIMG_0557

Daughter of Anthony and Małgorzata Baran

Emma is a sophomore at York Community High School. As a first-generation Polish American, she is proud to contribute the Polish American community in Chicago as a 2019 debutante. Emma is a proponent of female participation in male-dominated sports, as one of two girls on Elmhurst Evolution Ultimate Frisbee team and only female on her previous hockey teams. She also advocates to raise awareness towards homelessness and poverty in her own community and the school district as the co-founder and vice president/president to be of YCCA (York Community Concerns Association)- an organization focused on raising awareness and funds to donate to those in need. She is a member of Best Buddies- a club in which students regularly participate in activities and form friendships with diverse learners. Emma has forever had a love for music and singing and has had the privilege of singing with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra at Symphony Centre, The Kennedy Center and Carnegie Hall with Music School, Midwest Young Artists. Emma highly values travel and exploring her own culture as well as others. In order to learn more about her culture, Emma attends the School of Polish Language and Culture of Jagiellonian University in Krakow Poland each summer. To further enrich her knowledge of her wonderful heritage she spends summers with her family in Poland and in the summer of 2020 she will be traveling to Spain and Switzerland to attend the International Leadership Summit. After high school, Emma aspires to study Math at the Nicolaus Copernicus University in Toruń and continue to travel, advocate for gender equity in male-dominated sports, provide relief to those in need, and to continue learning about her own culture and others. 

Katelyn CarlsonIMG_0410

Daughter of Keith and Angela Carlson

Katelyn is currently a senior at Huntley High School in Huntley, and will begin her studies at Purdue University this fall where she will pursue a doctor of Pharmacy degree. She represents the third generation of debutantes in the Poczatek family. Her great-grandparents, Frank and Lorraine, presented her grandmother and great-aunt as well as her seven second- cousins. With a rich family history of participation in the White and Red Ball, she is excited to carry on the tradition and represent the third generation of her family, as well as display her pride in her Polish heritage. 


Barbara MakowskiIMG_0705

Daughter of Paweł and Karolina Makowski 

Barbara is a junior at Whitney M. Young High School. She has swam for most of her life and is the upcoming captain of the Women’s Swimming and Diving Team. She is an officer of her school's Polish Club, and member of Best Buddies - a club where students on the regular high school track participate in activities with the Diverse Learners. She is also on the Misericordia Heart of Mercy Junior Board in which she helps plan and organize events, volunteers her time for activities, and spends time with the residents. Barbara plans on studying and obtaining a degree in behavioral computer science analysis for those with both mental and physical disabilities, which will allow her to continue both humanitarian and technological support to our society and those in need.


Jessica Vignocchi IMG_0743

Daughter of John Keno Vignocchi and Margaret (Peggy) Tancula Vignocchi

Jessica is a Junior at Loyola Academy in Wilmette, where she has been on the honor roll each semester. At school, she is on both the swim and water polo team, and participates in choir.

Jessica's Polish heritage comes from her mother’s family. Throughout her childhood, her family has kept the Polish traditions alive in their household. Her favorite is their Easter celebration. It is a great celebration of family and our religion. And of course, who could not love the chance to eat all that fabulous Polish food! 

Jessica also loves learning about other cultures and languages. Currently, she is taking Mandarin and is in the National Chinese Honor Society. She traveled to China this past summer, and is planning a trip to Poland also. She belongs to both the Chinese Club and the Polish Club at school, enjoys outdoor sports, skiing, and is even a certified scuba diver. 

Julia WalczakIMG_0478

Daughter of Franciszek and Barbara Walczak

Julia is the daughter of Polish immigrants and a first generation Polish American. Growing up in a predominantly Polish neighborhood on Chicago’s Northwest Side, she was immersed deeply in Polish culture from a very young age. She attended the Tadeusz Kosciusko Saturday Polish School, participated in Krasnoludki dance ensemble and had the opportunity to study classical piano under the President of Chicago’s Chopin Society, Jaroslaw Golebiowksi. Her fondest childhood memories are of summers spent hiking in the Beskidy Mountains, swimming in the gorgeous lakes of Mazury, and exploring cities like Lodz in the presence of close family. 

Currently, she volunteers as a Polish Language Medical Interpreter and leads a monthly Polish Women’s Health Cooking Class at CommunityHealth Clinic, a free clinic serving Polish and Spanish speaking individuals in Ukrainian Village. She is a member of the Polish American Medical Society’s Junior Board and Polonia Dance Ensemble, a Polish folk dance group. Julia is in the process of submitting a proposal to enact a year-long public health initiative where she will be hosting Polish-language courses regarding Women’s Health. As a future nurse, Julia wants to empower the Polish community to take charge of their health and wellbeing, and as a young Polish woman she wants to propagate and nurture Polish culture in the United States as well as support the noble mission of the Legion of Young Polish Women.

Kamila WilczekIMG_0528

Daughter of Andrzej Wilczek and Barbara Jagoda

Kamila Wilczek is a first-generation Polish American. She is a junior at Loyola University Chicago majoring in Elementary Education with a minor in Spanish, being her third language aside from Polish and English. Kamila has a passion for sculpting the lives of our future generations, and hopes to become a school teacher at schools-in-need. This will allow her to have a positive impact on students who are desperately in need of support in and outside of the classroom. Kamila strives for excellence through maintaining her 3.8 GPA and has been on the Dean's List every semester of her college career. In addition to this, she is a Golden Apple Scholar, and a member of two honor societies, the National Society of Collegiate Scholars and the Golden Key International Honour Society. In regards to her involvement in the Polish community in Chicago, she is a member of two Polish Highlander performance groups called "Juchasi" and “Ślebodni,” is on the e-board for the Polish Student Alliance at Loyola, and has represented the Alliance of Polish Clubs through her title of  "Miss Publiczności,” just to name a few. In her free time she enjoys volunteering, writing poetry, spending quality time with friends and family, singing, dancing, skiing, traveling, and much more. Aside from all of her hobbies, she enjoys spending the most time deepening her Polish roots while attending various Polish events, practicing Polish customs and traditions, and overall loving her Polish culture.