NEW YORK – Three months ago the Chian Federation awarded its 34th Homeric Award to Athena Kromidas, the principal of the William Spiropoulos School of the community of St. Nicholas in Flushing, but did not stop there.
In light of the annual celebration of Greek Letters, the Federation’s Board of Directors donated $20,000 to the School.
On February 6, Federation President Stavros Haviaras, along with Homeric Award Chairman and prior Federation president Nicholas Michalios visited the St. Nicholas in order to present the check.
Haviaras and Michalios received a very warm reception. Kromidas welcomed them and gave them a tour.
They were next greeted by George Kanellopoulos, the principal of the Stephen and Areti Cherpelis Greek Afternoon School, and the students and teachers, who invited them to visit their classrooms.
The faces of the children and teachers glowed when they were informed of the reasons why the leaders of the Chian Federation visited the School.
Kromidas showed them the classrooms, the science laboratory, and the computer room.
With respect to the computer room, Kromidas acknowledged the School faced a challenge because what was considered modern six months to a year ago is now obsolete.
The hallways and classrooms impressed the visitors. Shining with cleanliness, they framed in the best way the achievements of the 462 students from Kindergarten to 8th grade.
The tour concluded with a visit to the Library, which is a multipurpose room which can also be used for lectures and presentations.
Kromidas noted that many of the books are donated by community members and invited representatives of the Chian Federation to encourage its members to donate books or money for the library fund.
There immediately followed a simple ceremony in the office of the pastor, Fr. Paul Palesty, where Haviaras and Michalios handed the check to Kromidas and Palesty.
Fr. Palesty thanked them both for the donation and for honoring Kromidas with the Homeric Award. He pointed out that all of the community’s organizations are dedicated to the advancement of its schools and emphasized that in is not a coincidence that it finances are unified.
“Our schools are an integral institutions of the greater community,” said Father Palesty, and he expressed his satisfaction with the fact that they provide the opportunity for its children to participate in Greek culture.
Haviaras had served for more than ten years president of Kimisis Tis Theotokou in Brooklyn, in the period before its day school was converted into a charter school, and the discussion that ensued with recipients of the donation delved deeply into the issues of Greek education and culture in the United States.
Father Palesty referred to the current educational challenges, noting that few families speak the Greek language at home because of the absence of the grandfathers and grandmothers who did not speak English. He said that complicates the work of teachers.
He added, however, that children’s participation in the Divine Liturgy and Sunday School plays a key role, because it makes children feel their ties to the community more strongly. They know that they belong somewhere.
Haviaras and Michalios then expressed their admiration for the work being done at St. Nicholas of Flushing.
The hosts invited the Federation leaders to meet with more officers and board members so they, too, could express their gratitude. Father Palesty pointed out that it was it the first donation of the year.
“For us it is very important because it shows that we are not alone, and that we have many others, and especially the Chian Federation, who actively support our work,” he said.