Hellenic Classical Charter School Honored as TNH’s Educator of the Year

Vasiliki Filiotis, Stella Kokolis, Consul of Greece Lana Zochiou, Effie Lekas, Joy Petrakos, Georgia Kopanis, Consul General of Greece Konstantinos Koutras, Litsa and Antonis Diamataris, Christina Tettonis, Lambrini Gementzopoulou, Katerina Petrakos, Ioannis Efthimiopoulos, Consul General of Cyprus Alexis Phedonos-Vadet, Demetris Tachis, Demosthenes Triantafillou, Timoleon Kokkinos, and George Melikoukis. (Photo: TNH/Kostas Bej)

LONG ISLAND CITY – The teachers of the Hellenic Classical Charter School (HCCS) of Brooklyn were honored as The National Herald’s Educator of the Year on February 11 in celebration of the Greek Letters and the Feast of the Three Hierarchs. The award was presented at TNH’s Long Island City offices with many distinguished guests present, including the Consul General of Greece in New York Konstantinos Koutras, Consul General of Cyprus Alexis Phedonos-Vadet, and Consul of Greece Lana Zochiou.

HCCS principal since 2007 Christina Tettonis accepted the award on behalf of all the teachers. A Brooklyn native, born to Greek immigrant parents, Tettonis spoke about the dedication of the teachers at HCCS and the importance of the school’s mission.

Also present, previous Educators of the Year, including President of the Federation of Hellenic-American Educators and Cultural Associations of America Stella Kokolis, and Demosthenes Triantafillou, President of the Greek Teachers Association “Prometheus,” as well as Timoleon Kokkinos.

The National Herald Publisher-Editor Antonis H. Diamataris presented the award to Hellenic Classical Charter School Principal Christina Tettonis who accepted on behalf of the teachers. Photo: TNH/Kostas Bej

Kokolis congratulated TNH and the honorees and spoke about the importance and value of Greek education, noting that the honorees’ and TNH’s continuing efforts and support of the Greek language and letters are vital. She pointed out that Joy Petrakos, HCCS Director of Operations and Finance, was also a graduate of St. Demetrios School in Astoria and was continuing the legacy she learned from Mr. Kokkinos.

Dr. Ioannis Efthimiopoulos, the Director of the Greek Education Department of the Archdiocese of America, was among the speakers offering congratulations and encouragement to the educators to continue their mission to promote the Greek language and education.

TNH’s Educator of the Year in 2018, Triantafillou also congratulated the honorees and TNH and noted the importance of unity in Greek education, pointing out the upcoming program organizing trips to Greece for students which he hopes will expand to include students from the HCCS.

TNH’s Publisher-Editor Antonis H. Diamataris gave the welcoming remarks at the event and noted the dedication of the teachers to preserving and promoting the Greek language and education for the younger generations and to the wider community of philhellenes everywhere.

Referring to the newspaper’s 100th anniversary celebration which was held at the New York Public Library in 2015, he noted that “the great Paul Sarbanes, former United States Senator from Maryland, said: ‘The National Herald is the school of the Omogeneia.’”

Pointing out that the celebration is a dual one for the Feast Day of the Three Hierarchs and for the Greek Letters, Diamataris also quoted from the hymn for the Feast Day of the Three Hierarchs which describes the Church Fathers in the most beautiful and poetic Greek words. He also noted that Tettonis in her acceptance speech spoke only about the teachers and staff of HCCS and not herself, since a team effort is required to achieve success in the mission of Greek education.

On December 10, the New York State Education Department (NYSED) Board of Regents approved the replication of the HCCS and issued a charter for the Hellenic Classical Charter School – Staten Island (HCCS-SI) which will be located in New York City Community School District (CSD) 31.

HCCS-SI is modeled after the highly successful HCCS-Park Slope (HCCS-PS), a charter school located in New York City CSD 15 that has a long and consistent history of success, and has been designated a High Performing Reward School by the NYSED for four consecutive years. HCCS-PS ranks among the top charter schools in New York.

Tettonis will transition to the role of Superintendent for both HCCS-PS and HCCS-SI.

HCCS-SI will follow the outstanding educational model of HCCS-PS and build upon the education strengths of District 31 schools. HCCS-SI will provide a diverse student body with a rigorous education in a dynamic environment. Using a standards-based curriculum, enriched with the Greek and Latin languages, and the classics woven throughout, the school utilizes the Socratic Method, teaching students to become critical thinkers by engaging in dialogue. Students will become college and career ready and well-prepared to succeed and contribute to the global community as responsible citizens.

A reception with light refreshments followed the award presentation.