“Like many of you students, I am a first generation Greek American whose parents came here with a dream; By learning Greek I was able to receive gifts of immeasurable value- I would sit for hours with my yiayia and my papou,” said a tear-striken Mrs. Mamie Stathatos-Fulgieri, Esq., as many members of the packed hall of the the Holy Trinity Cathedral in New York City, too, wiped their tears in sentiment of the American dream achieved by their dedicated forefathers.
The mid-day event on January 30, hosted by the Direct Archdiocesan District Education Office of the Greek Orthodox of Archdiocese of America, honored the Three Hierarchs with a presentation of awards of excellence to 35 students for their high achievements on the Greek regents.
Besides family, friends and teachers of the skilled students, the Cathedral welcomed His Eminence Archbishop of America Demetrios, Consul General of Greece in New York Aghi Balta and Consul of the Republic of Cyprus Koula Sophianou. Mrs. Athena Kromidas, Principal of William Spyropoulos Greek American School of St. Nicholas in Flushing, served as Mistress of Ceremonies and Mrs. Maria Makedon, Direct Archdiocesan Education Director, offered welcoming remarks.
“Students from [more than 50] Greek American schools took the exams,” said Mrs. Makedon. “More than 500 students participated, 74 percent of which were from afternoon schools. 92 percent passed the exam and 35 students achieved excellency with a score of 100, most of whom are here today with their parents and siblings. I’m very proud of them and I wish them congratulations and prosperous lives.”
Both Consul Generals of Greece and Cyprus, respectively, also discussed the importance of the Greek language, emphasizing a rich Greek history that continues to benefit us in the modern world.
His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios spoke of not only the Greek language, but the greater impact of Greek civilization on the progress of society and its relevance to life today.
“We are dealing with something very serious when we discuss the Greek language and Greek education,” said His Eminence. “As Mrs. Stathatos pointed out, its value is not only measured by the immediate benefits it provides, but by the life-long success it manifests for the people of the Greek American community.”
Mrs. Stathatos-Fulgieri noted the Greek language helped her to achieve success in her academic and professional careers, which began with a early acceptance to St. John’s University at the age of 16 (the youngest student to be admitted that year) through her position as a senior attorney at the law firm Shaum, Ahmuty, Citrin * Spratt, LLP, and in the most important area of her life: her family.
Students presented with the Three Hierarchs Award of Excellence attend the following schools: A. Fantis Parochial School of Ss. Constantine and Helen in Brooklyn; D. * G. Kaloidis Day School of Holy Cross in Brooklyn; St Demetrios Greek American Day School in Astoria; The Cathedral School in New York City; Transifiguration Day School in Corona; W. Spyropoulos Day School of St. Nicholas in Flushing; Annunciation Afternoon School in Buffalo; Annunciation Afternoon School in Rochester; Ascesio Afternoon School in Fairview; Assumption Afternoon School in Danbury; Holy Triity Afternoon School in Hicksville; St. Demetrios Afternoon School in Astoria; St. Demetrios Afternoon School in Jamaica; St. George Afternoon School in Piscataway; St. John the Theologian Afternoon School in Tenafly; St. Nektarios Afternoon School in Brooklyn; Stephen * Areti Cherpelis Afternoon School of St. Nicholas in Flushing; and the Greek School of Plato in Brooklyn.
Contact Eleni at Elenik@thenationalherald.com.