FLUSHING – With smiles and open arms the students of the William Spyropoulos Greek-American School of St. Nicholas were welcomed by the teachers on Wednesday morning, September 6, along with the Principal Athena Kromidas and Assistant Principal Mary Tzallas.
The streets leading to the School and St. Nicholas Church were crowded with parents and grandparents rushing to get the children and grandchildren there on time to start the new school year. Stepping into the courtyard of the church, the parents greeted each other and the children were embraced, demonstrating the sense of belonging to the large family at the William Spyropoulos School.
Among the 443 students who attend the school are the children of a family who recently came from Greece and another from Cyprus.
“The new school year starts dynamically and I think we will have a very good year with dynamic and advanced programs. The number of students is a solid 443 and we are expecting others as well,” Principal Kromidas pointed out.
Asked about the innovations for the new school year, she noted, “We are trying to get into electronic teaching. Especially the English program this year will be taught with smart boards. The teaching staff, which stands at forty, remains stable, and this enables us to make constant improvements.”
“We are building on the foundations of the previous year. In 2016-2017 it was a great school year. The results of the 8th grade were excellent both in terms of their performance in state examinations and in the admission of graduates to the best high schools in New York,” she added.
As far as the classrooms and books are concerned, she noted that “everything is ready and the lesson will start dynamically from the very first day.”
Assistant Principal Mary Tzallas said, “We are very happy to start the new school year. We see the children we had last year and the new ones with smiling faces and bright eyes and our enthusiasm is growing. We aim for a creative and efficient school year.”
Dr. Antigone Vlachoyanni, who teaches Fine Arts, said, “I wish the children, teachers, and parents a good start with health. A good year for all the students of the Greek community and we thank the National Herald that is once again with us at the beginning of the school year.”
John Balis, who accompanied his two children, John (4th grade) and Ermioni (3rd grade), noted that they are all happy to start their lessons again and for the family return to the normal pace.
Arietta Xylas, a 7th grade student and her brother Stelios, 4th grade, said that “they spent a wonderful summer in Kalymnos and Athens.” Arietta pointed out that Kalymnos stole their heart because of its clean beaches and tranquility. At the same time, she noted that she is proud of both Chios and Kalymnos where her parents originate.
Their mother, Irene Xylas, noted that the Greek school is a one-way street not only for Arietta and Stelios, but also for the youngest son, Antonis, who will start Kindergarten at William Spyropoulos School.
Irene Xylas and her husband Nikolaos belong to the second generation and are graduates of Argyrios Fantis Parochial School in Brooklyn and St. Demetrios School in Astoria, respectively, and are both lawyers.
Asked why they invest in Greek education, she said, “It is very important for our children to learn their tradition, the Greek language, and to grow in a Greek-Christian and safe environment. With regard to education, like my parents and my in-laws who made no discounts [for their children’s education], we are also determined to provide our children with the opportunity to participate in Greek education.”
“We love this school very much, because our children love it,” Xylas concluded.