Joan Poloniak Sullivan named Polonaise Citizen of the Year

| 30 Sep 2011 | 08:26

Miss Pine Island in 1964 and M-W teacher of the year in 1995 Pine Island — Joan Poloniak Sullivan has been named the Hudson Valley Polonaise Society 2010-2011 Citizen of the Year. Sullivan was born and raised in Pine Island, the daughter of the late Louis and Catherine (Wierzbicki) Poloniak. She spent her early years working on the family onion farm with her brothers Vince and Lou, and sisters Connie (Mrs. George Gurda), Barbara (Mrs. Conrad Morgiewicz) and Bernice; and her grandmother, Mary Jarocki Wierzbicki, who brought a special love and dimension to the family. Sullivan graduated from Warwick High School, Orange County Community College, the College of Our Lady of the Elms in Chicopee, Mass. and she received her master’s degree from Long Island University. Her teaching career started with second grade at the Pine Island School and spanned the last 30 plus years as a kindergarten and first grade teacher for the Monroe-Woodbury School District. She also received Certification to teach English as a Second Language from SUNY College at New Paltz and continued to take additional college courses in many educational areas until her retirement in 2003. Among her many career awards, she was named “Teacher of the Year” by the Monroe-Woodbury Teachers Association in 1995. She currently is a part-time E.S.L. teacher for the Monroe-Woodbury School District. Active in Polonaise Society since 1993 Active in many community and professional organizations, Sullivan has been involved in the Orange County Onion Harvest Festivals. In 1964, she was selected as Miss Pine Island. She has been an active member of the Hudson Valley Polonaise Society since joining in 1993. She chaired the scholarship committee until 2002 and currently serves as vice president of the society, as well as chairing the annual Wigilia (Christmas Eve) celebration. She also works diligently on all society projects and actively participates in the Pulaski Day Parade in New York City. She is a member of the Rosary Society and St. Stanislaus Church in Pine Island. While living in Monroe, she was a religion teacher for the Sacred Heart Church. She is also a member of Delta Gamma-Zeta Chapter. ‘Love at first sight’ Sullivan met her husband Ray when they were both in college. Ray was visiting the Elms performing with the Iona College Glee Club. It was “love at first sight.” They celebrated their 43rd wedding anniversary on Aug. 19. The Sullivans lived in Monroe for 32 years with their three sons, Christopher, a police detective in North Carolina; Bradford, a financial vice president: and Hudson, a screenwriter. They have a daughter-in-law, Mona, who is married to Bradford. In 2004, the Sullivans moved into the Poloniak family homestead on Pulaski Highway that was built by her father, Louis, and her grandfather, Joseph Poloniak. Sullivan loves being “back home” once again. She enjoys the Pine Island community, working in her garden, and tending to her flowers. As often as possible, she walks several miles a day or bikes on the Heritage Trail.