St. Photios National Shrine Essay Contest Winners Announced

Mayor Nancy Shaver read the City of St. Augustine Greek Landing Day Proclamation at the St. Photios Shrine. Photo: Polly Hillier

ST. AUGUSTINE, FL – Mrs. Katherine Bacalis, chair of the St. Photios Greek Orthodox National Shrine Essay Program, announced on January 15 the results of the 14th Annual Shrine Essay Contest. This competition presents a choice of two topics for teenagers to research and write about.

The topics are:

1) There are many historic and sacred sites throughout the world. What makes St. Photios Greek Orthodox National Shrine a historic and significant site for Greek Orthodox Christians?

2) Most Americans born in the United States can trace their family’s history to an ancestor who came to America from a foreign country. Compare and contrast your family’s immigrant history with the immigrant history of the New Smyrna Colonists of 1768.

Mrs. Bacalis reported that ten teens, ages 13-19, responded to this competition with Noah Hays of Holy Trinity in St. Augustine, FL and Blake Boudouris of Holy Transfiguration in Charlottesville, VA placing first; Anthony Telis Assimenios of St. John the Divine in Jacksonville, FL placing second; and Gabriella Couloubaritsis of Annunciation in Memphis, TN placing third.

A Certificate of Participation is sent to all essayists who compete. These certificates are signed by His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios, Geron of America. Essayists include Alexia Hulme of St. Mary in Painted Post, NY; Katherine Hoover of Annunciation in Memphis, TN; Dimitrios Vasillios Bikas of Holy Trinity in Charlotte, NC; Edward Dehelean of Sts. Constantine and Helen in Huntsville, AL; and Domenica Pusic of Holy Trinity in Raleigh, NC.

Essay Contest Committee member Dr. Tony Tsitos said, “These essays were well written. The committee will improve the competition guidelines in 2019 to assist the students in preparing essays that are not only well-written but with clear and accurate facts. Congratulations to Noah and Blake who wrote so well that the judges could not rank them any differently but in first place.”